When we got to Dingle we did the walking tour in our Rick Steves book. We had lunch at Paul Geaney's Bar and Restaurant (lamb stew and ham/cheese/pineapple panini). We bought art from the artist's daughter in a cute little gallery. We saw the tribute to Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin. The weather was really the worst of the trip but we attempted the Ring of Dingle anyway. After about 9 kilometers we turned back. This was enough, however, for The Husband to get to drive over the "upside down bridge." Twice. This part of the road has never had a bridge but was designed as a ford. Fun.
We drove on to Killarney but just stopped by the Tourist Information. Nothing too exciting. We basically were just trying to cover some ground. We ended up staying at An Cuasan, a B&B near Macroom. We had dinner at the recommended Abbey Hotel in Ballyvourney/Ballymakeery. We walked around the little village a bit before heading back to the B&B.
The next morning we headed off to the nearby toy soldier factory. They were quite neat but pricey. Then we headed on to Blarney. We'd read that the castle is very touristy and overpriced so we had hoped to get to see only the gardens. Well, turns out you have to pay for that, too. So we skipped that and wandered about town. It is a pretty area.
As we headed away from there and on to Cork and Midleton, we stumbled upon Barryscourt Castle. It had been redone and even included some furnishings that would have been present in it's prime. There was a great tour guide and the whole thing was free. The tour guide even said that this tour was better than Blarney, where she also sometimes gives tours. I'd definitely recommend it. The had nice gardens as well.
So off to Midleton for the first whiskey distillery tour, Jameson Midleton Distillery. This was the most touristy tour but very interesting. I had read that at the end they ask for volunteers for a whiskey tasting. The Husband, of course, raised his hand and was chosen. He got to taste an American, Irish, and Scottish sample. Lots of pictures from there.
Then we drove on to Dungarvan, one of my favorite places. It was beautiful and would have been completely overdeveloped if it were in the US. As it was, there was a quaint little town on one side of the bay and our B&B was on the other. The man who owned the B&B had grown up next door. It seemed like a lot of folks didn't move far from where they grew up. We ended up getting Italian that night (very good food) after taking in our options and being followed around by a very friendly dog.
Tuesday morning, The Husband finally got to try white pudding. Eh. And we drove on to Waterford even though we new the factory was closed. We went through the visitor's center and I bought a Celtic cross Christmas ornament (since I try to pick up a Christmas ornament whenever I travel). Then we headed on to Kilkenny. There, we visited the Kilkenny Castle. This one was very different as it was set up more to show how fancypants the residents were rather than to be used primarily for defense. Very well restored. We also browsed some of the town including their rather large art center and St. Canice's Cathedral. We then headed on to Portalaoise and stayed in a B&B there. Dinner that night was at Egan's. Quite good, highly recommended, and the decor was nice as well.
Up next? Dublin (and our last installment).