Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kinsale and Jameson Distillery

We finally made it to Kinsale last weekend! I visited here 6.5 years ago for work for 2.4 days and luckily my boss was able to show me around the area a little bit while we were there. It is a beautiful area with good seafood. It took us so long to visit, because we wanted to meet up with an old coworker who live there, and we have all had pretty busy summers! The three hour drive turned in to four due to traffic leaving Dublin, UGH!

We got in barely in time for dinner, and we walked down to The White House for dinner. They did a pretty good job, as do most places in this town. The food culture is very strong here, and bad restaurants just don't make it long. The White House had a random 9/11 Memorial wall inside, quite nice.

The next day we were going to walk around town in the morning. It really is a nice little town to walk around, with a lot of little shops. This place gets crazy busy in the summer. The museum was unfortunately closed for the winter, which I didn't know. After some lunch at the Lemon Leaf Cafe, we drove out to Charles Fort.

Charles Fort is pretty in tact for its age. There are a couple exhibits and nice views of Kinsale Harbour. After walking around for almost an hour, we decided to drive toward James Fort next. I knew it was small and in ruins, but I didn't know you had to hike to it and since it had started raining, we just drove down to Old Head. I remember visiting the area years back, and it all came back to me while visiting. The cliffs are pretty impressive, with absolutely no barriers at all, so we left the kids in the car.

Next we drove to Garrylucas Beach and since the rain had stopped, we let the kids play in the sand for a while. After some play, we drove to the 9/11 Garden of Remembrance we learned about at the White House. I knew the general, and if driving slow enough, you will spot the red gates along side the road. I went in and a man was collecting the American flags from the trees, all 343 of them. Yes, 343 trees are planted there, each with a tag of a firefighter who lost his life that day. Very, very nice site. An Irish nurse who lived in NYC for 30 years had always regretted not helping out that day, and she made this garden outside a family farm. This woman died in 2011 to cancer, and the gentleman I met is this woman's nephew, who helps take care of it. Several unofficial websites talk about this site, here is one, here is one, and here is another. This is a really incredible site and any American in the area should check it out!

Pictures from Kinsale can be found here.
The next day on our way home, we decided to stop in Cobh. There is a Titanic Experience there, but we had already done the one in Belfast, so we skipped it. Cobh does have a grand cathedral! Built on top of the hill overlooking the town, and it is huge. We happened to show up at noon right as mass started, so we didn't go in. But, we did drive to the other hill across town for great views of the cathedral.

Pictures from Cobh can be found here.

Next, we decided to stop by the Jameson Distillery in Midleton for a tour. We had read that this was the better option, as opposed to their Dublin tour. When we got there, we learned that on Sundays now if you buy lunch, you get a free tour! We actually saved money as our lunches cost less than the cost of entry, so a great deal! The tour covers their old, original distillery, which hasn't been used since the 1970s. But, they keep a lot of stuff in working order, like the grist mill, and steam generator, and the stills. The tours are interesting and you get a sample at the end. If you are a really big whiskey fan, stand toward the front of the group at the end of tour for when they ask about the special tasting at the end. Eight people get a special tasting, but you have to get chosen! It was definitely a neat stop, even with kids. And, their lunch was pretty good!

Pictures from Jameson can be found here.

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