A Travellerspoint blog

May 8 - evening

An evening with Pat Ryan, a SAIT legend

Fellow colleague and instructor from SAIT, now retired, paddy Ryan and his wife Anne crosbie live in Kinsale south of Cork. CJ and I met them for dinner at market lane just around the corner from our swish city centre hotel - the Imperial. I am just so pleased to have a hairdryer, ah the little pleasures in life 😍 7EDE4DCCEAEB8FDA16EF8BA852EAF8C6.jpg7EDEA1ECE84A5C27CA55C68BFC687E9D.jpg the Imperial has had a face lift to the guest rooms and some of the public spaces, it's a grand old hotel and a fine upgrade from the travellodge. 7EE14419B329D746B7931D3B20AB47DF.jpg7EE1FB9AC79076CB9A6C51597E81A22E.jpg7EE2B20A9A340E89810021C86004AC0B.jpg

Cork is in interesting town that seems to have an unlimited supply of intoxicated people my vintage on a Saturday night. I'm not sure if this was an anomaly or just reality for the Celtic tiger. Lots of shops and restaurants in this area all offering reasonably priced food at amazingly large portion sizes. The value for money was reiterated by the students the following day. Here some yummy pictures from our meal 7EDF11A5BD9838D8E2CE569EEDC8128D.jpg7EDFB6E1E48CA823CFDA02B92D80454C.jpg7EE0ABE0FA9D38F28F731200231D853B.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 15:02 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

May 8

Galway to cork with a visit to the Cliffs of Moher and Blarney Castle enroute

Up early for wheels to roll at 0800. The weather is overcast and we really are praying to the great Goddess for clearer sky's. The trip from Galway to the cliffs is not long in a kilometre sense however the road is twisty and turny and only 2 lanes. Once again providing great opportunities to showcase Aiden's great driving skills!! The other positive aspect of longer coach rides is the option to catch up on lost sleep for some of the group 😉

Mother Nature smiles upon us because as we get closer to the cliffs the blue skies open up. The Cliffs are in the bay of larnach (sic) We stop at 845 to enjoy the unbelievably scenic view. 180_62A611329956FE73765F1298FFC11BA7.jpg
Mother Nature and her sunshine prince continue to bless us as we travel thru county Shannon and into county Clare to cliffs official spot. We have an hour and a bit to walk about this site in the glorious sunshine. The pathways in the main area are accessible by all and there about 10 tour coaches on site. I Continue the walk up the hill past the OBrien tower To get a better vantage point. The cliffs remind me of the Napali coast (lanai) and the color today of the green against the blue of the sky is breathtaking. 62A67230ACA55CDF2672C4E25261F3EC.jpg62A6CA7BE7161E1560559E3D15BD6C7D.jpg62A74EACBECB46F78A477A1E4D586DAA.jpg62A7B2B0DAD21AE8483D2873C2E06640.jpg
After an enjoyable visit we get back on the magic bus for our visit to Blarney. Keeping the vibe pretty low key we watch the Princess Bride. Now the line "cliffs of insanity" make sense after seeing the real cliffs. 😆

For those of you familiar with Richard Scarry children's illustrations - going to the Castle will remind you of the story of Patrick the pig. The young pig couldn't speak a word (only say oink) and his parent were worried for him. So they heard that if he kissed the Blarney Stone he would be given the gift of gab. So they took Patrick to kiss the stone and "lo and begorreh" he immediately begins to wax poetically. However Patrick now has no "off" switch and his regaling of stories and songs have his parents wondering if they did the right thing. Anyways, that is what's running thru my mind when I think of Blarney Castle. Here is what our tour manager shared with us:

The castle was built in 1446 by the McCarthy clan - an original wood structure was built in situ circa 1200. The First stories of the power of Blarney Stone (gift of eloquence) date back to legend in the 1400. McCarthy was running into legal trouble building his castle. The fairy Gilenda told him to kiss a stone and he would be able to win his judgement in front of the judge. McCarthy won his case and took the rock back and incorporated it into the walls of the castle. Fact or fiction? The castle was used by William of Orange in the 1600 as a fortress and is Currently part of the Clohart family for many generations. I just can't get over the narrow stairs, they are even smaller than the ones in the staff corridor at the Palliser Hotel. 7E697518BF6AB5B754DAEA6F9B746DFC.jpg7E6A15B90A3086C48DD354CD188E9DE2.jpg7E6A918D902F5C0D8B2D008AE812DD76.jpg7E6B0F08E8507C3054C543DA16D52EF7.jpg7E6BAD589D8B1FFA6D748EEECF14C1C4.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 14:41 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

May 7

Ashford castle, dinner and the dogs

Today was more low key in terms of visits, but it was another dress up day. In our business outfits we travelled out to Ashford castle, a 40 minute coach ride on a 2 lane ziggy road through the greenery of Ireland. Today was rainy and it actually intensified the beauty of the area. We chose Ashford because it is a red carnation hotel and a partner of Contiki's parent company - Travel Corp. We lunch in one of their outlets "cullings cottage" and then proceeded for a tour of this magnificent place. The current owners have put in 17 million € of renos including new windows to all 82 differently designed rooms. It really has a homey ( well for the very wealthy) feel to it - it made me feel reminiscent of working at the Palliser. This place is a grand old dame indeed. They have added a cinema (where they held an HR presentation to our students) and a billiards room with a 6 x 12 table complete with a terrace for cigar smoking. The pool should be finished this summer. All rooms have padded walls and marble finishes. The silver in the dining room was AMAZING - well at least for me it was me 😉. Another place I would love to go for a stage and rumour has it that certain royalty might be staying there this summer! 17902F34C8317897A6CBC591654979AB.jpg179170EFE41599E4731A446983B5025A.jpg1793075809C6F3564A4A4D0FF3DAC1D0.jpg1794C72BE4DE99B189FC5996E67D2927.jpg1797B756C212EA94FB424F830003793A.jpg179A44ACC7D994B696E9743741969AB1.jpg179D0E6BE52D4967122B04659CA6E2D8.jpg

Back to Galway for an evening dinner walk about. Galway is a college town and even though school is finished for the year there are a lot of young people here. Would definitely recommend the under 30 crowd to come to this destination!! We ate I city centre at a lovely place recommended by our taxi driver - Martines restaurant and wine bar - 21 Quay Street Galway. Internet says "snug bistro" and they are not kidding. We were cute and cozy around the bar but dinner was terrific and the bartender was grand!!!

To end the evening we went to the dog track for some dog racing. Last time I saw the Greyhounds was in Florida in the drug smuggling 80's 😝. This was a very interesting night, I couldn't figure out the program or pick a winner to save my life. But we did get a free pint of Bulmers cider in the warmth of the club house. The dogs are fast and the races are seconds quick. Maybe not as exciting as the drags but surely a good evening out. 181E329C9965AB68990D0A5BFAF2D8B2.jpg181D13DCC9D8F14E35DFF23854CADD0A.jpg

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May 6 dinner

Anair the restaurant

So CJ and the friends at DIT reiterated that we try the food at Anair restaurant. They are preparing a tasting menu and using all local ingredients from the Galway area. The layout of the menu was confusing to me and that was even before the drink, lol with its very limited descriptors and poor grammar - take a look:15E06A7FA74B8453BBFE7DBF63453A45.jpg
At any rate this is a 28 seat restaurant that is walking distance (30 min) from our hotel and well worth the walk. We decided to take the 5 course menu with wine pairings and it was wonderful. We had a 7 pm reservation and we were finished by 9:40. All the seats were taken and the server told us that it has been pretty busy since March, which is very unusual. Maybe the Celtic tiger is ready to return? If you happen to visit the Galway area - this place is a keeper!
Bread starter - made in house, in fact the pastry Chef had been in since7:00 161F2E4AB43A1D34706FF7888B1531DA.jpg
course 1 - baby radish and turnips with a Chenin Blanc from South Africa 1627538FDCCA370876813CC1308704A1.jpg
Course 2 - peas and broad beans and shoots with goat cheese with Grechetto from Umbria (i'ld say my favourite dish! Loved the Color) 1628DDF9DE1B977C2077F3491D4806BA.jpg
Course 3 - pork belly (very little fat so I really enjoyed this dish) with Viognier/Marsanne from Australia 16297E78D4FC060DD113A579B5E2F9A4.jpg
Course 4 - herbal tea & lemon balm sorbet 162A6B0AF0CE29D7EF0C4B8ECBD695C9.jpg
Course 5 - pigeon with Syrah from St. Joseph Rhone (dark meat like a very mild duck) 162EC1CFFC2D10842681B4F6924291EC.jpg
Finally course 6 arrives and the restaurant is fully seated and the light levels are inappropriate for a 40++ person - rhubarb cheese cake with Muscat d'Alexandria from Malaga 162C884FE7FBB28325F678ECF6AAAC17.jpg
Now I'm getting full of the rich flavours and ready for an espresso before the walk home. Guess what they serve? mignardes - Chef Aron would be impressed. 1630512BBA7173C282C9966981263149.jpg
Tomorrow we get to see Ashford Castle!

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May 6

Go west - Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Tullamore DEW and Gallway

FYI I finally have access to wifi on a coach and was writing up yesterday's journey, thought I had it on auto save , we took an Irish corner and )(:$7 report vanished 😢

Ralf Burbach and Mike O'Conner are proud to show us their downtown campus and tell us of the future plans for DIT. The Aungiers Road campus was originally created to teach home economics (wives how to cook) to the locals. Over time this building has been modified to include a restaurant, tasting room, production kitchen and chocolate room. The building was built in the '30's and is considered a "registered" building according to the Irish govt. I took that to mean it is a historical site which of course limits any and the type of alterations that can be done on the building. Bringing the building up to current technology is challenging and expensive so DIT is planning a start new quarters in 2017, with plans for classes by 2020. We are excited for them! The students are in final exam mode, so the building was very quiet for our tour. The amount of copper pans and silver had caught my eye, that I had to take some pictures.

Tullamore D.E.W.
Before i begin I want to thank Bernie Pearson, regional Manager PMA, who was very instrumental in making this afternoon possible. Not only were we provided with a lovely lunch and tour at the Tullamore visitors centre, we also got the VIP tour over at the brand new distillery. Thank you Jane Maher for your time and information.
Although Tullamore has been in business since 1893, it was Wm Grant & Sons that has brought renewed life back to the town and the Distillery after their purchase in 2011. The state of the art distillery is gorgeous and the finishes top class plus the whiskey is grand too. We learned bout how 3 seems to be the magic number for Tullamore: 3 years required by law before release, 3 types of blends, 3 grains used (malted and unmalted barley & corn) and 3 different temperatures required for distillation to produce this Amber nectar. 0107EA1E037EECC3DCA5B6134E2A1995.jpg01087A2FA6DB27745A3473B4E331BA92.jpg0109249BA617D4B3005312AA5E9B376F.jpg0109FDE1DCCA5E919A7F6DE95059E345.jpg010B10D1B2FE40DF6356178ED92EBACA.jpg010C0923DAEE61DD318D24F724F6808B.jpg010CA0D2BD5E0400510A1E85137056BA.jpg010D8576AC6C2C61925A57A4BBFD08E6.jpg010F600393065057BB84F568C0FBF960.jpg010E7574C981F507392D3A0E28EE5801.jpg

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