Cork

We finally made it safely to Hayfield Manor, and it was beautiful. This was our favorite hotel of the trip.

The hotel, as the name would imply, is a manor house dating back to the 1800s. It opened as a hotel in 1996. The grounds have real turf, gigantic trees (That may be older than America!), an aviary, and kennels.

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It was beautiful, and the people were the most welcoming, friendly and polite. The town was quaint. I could go back and spend a week just there.

We arrived and were shown to our room. When they asked the reason for our visit, we told them it was our honeymoon and were congratulated. Later, the general manager brought us up champagne!

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We were exhausted so we laid down for a quick nap before heading out into town for some food.

(The staff was incredibly helpful giving both suggestions and directions!)

We were directed to Oliver Plunketts, a little pub with trad music and a lively pub scene. This was one of the more crowded places in which we ate. (Cork is home to University College Cork, so I’m sure that helps.)

The food was good. I got what would be my drink of choice for the entire trip – Orchard Thieves cider. I wish this was available in the States!

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There was this tiny, adorable, older gentleman who was grabbing tourist girls to dance a reel with him. A few said no, but I was all in! It was SO much fun, and I was reminded of how much fun I used to have at 4-H dance weekends.

We were starting to wear down at this point and headed back fairly early to get some sleep. Hands down this was the most comfortable bed of the trip!

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The next morning we had breakfast in the hotel dining room, had a quick nap (We did this every day.), made a to-go cup of tea in the room, and went to wander about Cork for a bit in daylight.

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Look at that breakfast spread!

 

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I was so impressed by the tea/coffee set up in most of the rooms. Those aren’t coffee creamers. They are 2% stabilized milk – no refrigeration necessary.

One neat place we stopped at was the English Market. We picked up some tea, soap for my father for Christmas, and a loaf of brown bread and soda bread for snacks.

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English Market

 

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I loved this pretty bicycle we found in our wanderings.

Next post – The Blarney Stone!

 

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Dublin III

Since we got in so late, we ended up sleeping in just a bit before heading down to breakfast.

All of our hotels included breakfasts, and they were all amazing! Most were a buffet with additional menu items.

The interesting thing was that nearly every place had honeycomb, still on the bee tray.  You would break off a piece and suck on it like it was candy. You could even eat the wax if you chewed it well enough. You could also spread it on your toast, but the regular honey like we’re accustomed to was recommended for that purpose.

So yummy.

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I really wanted to go to the Viking Museum while we were in Dublin, so after checking if the hotel would allow us a late check out (all of them did which was nice) we called over to the rental car company and asked if we could delay our pick-up, and they said it would be fine.

Next we hurried through Dublin to the museum. I was so excited!. Thankfully, the entrance fee was only 9.50 EU. The museum has sections, but we were really only concerned with the Viking section.

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For the general tourist, I’m sure it was a great experience. I was disappointed though.  The information was dated and some incorrect facts were being presented. I honestly wish we would’ve made time for the Book of Kells instead.

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We made our way back to the hotel, checked out, got a taxi, and headed to our rental car.

Remember I had asked about a late pick-up before we went to the museum? When we got there 2 hours later, they said they didn’t have any cars, and we had to wait until their shuttle service brought one back from the airport.

I’m not too sure how that happens when you have a reservation, but we waited the hour. While we waited, I used the rental company’s wifi to download Google maps to our next hotel, since they didn’t have a GPS available.

We knew we needed to drive on the opposite side of the road, and Mrs. B at work had warned us to be sure to go around roundabouts the opposite way, but we asked the fellow at the desk if there was anything we needed to know about driving in Ireland just in case. He said, “no.”

The car was a Škoda which we’d never heard of and it was insane. When you came to a complete stop (like at a stop sign), it turned off only to immediately turn back on when you pushed the gas.

The Fellow asked for directions out of the city instead of listening to my Google maps, and we headed off.

Now, here’s the thing about roads in Ireland – the yellow line is the outside line. All other lines are white lines, and that’s assuming there are, in fact, any lines at all. You know those scenes you see in movies of tiny roads with high hedges or stone walls on both sides? Yupp. That’s what it was. The Fellow insisted we take this picture of him below to show how narrow the city roads are.

 

Trying to get out of the city was rough. We didn’t know it then, but we essentially had picked up a rental car in Times Square and were trying to drive ourselves out of NYC.

After getting lost attempting to follow the rental car guy’s directions, we backtracked as best we could to get into our downloaded map area of Google Maps. We went around a roundabout the wrong way. Thankfully, it was empty and finally made it out of the city and onto the motorway (similar to our highways), and we were on our way to our next hotel- the Hayfield Manor in Cork.

Dublin II

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year! The holidays were a bit crazy for us as they always are. A lot of travel. Three family Christmas celebrations, a Christmas party, a New Year’s party, and we got a new kitten!

But now back to Ireland . . . on my last honeymoon post, the Fellow, our new Canadian friends, and I were just heading down to a little side pub in Dublin.

When we got to the pub, we were the only ones there except for the bartender and two of his buddies.

The first ten minutes of the night were kind of rough. As I’m sure most of you know, the rest of the world often doesn’t think very kindly of Americans, and we ran into a bit of that there. The bartender took his time to get our drink order, and he was thoroughly unhappy with my request for a cup of tea.

“Could I have a cup of tea, please, if it’s not too much trouble?”

“I suppose you want milk with that?”

“If that’s ok?”

“”You have to drink it, not me.”

I never got the milk.

We chatted with the Canadians, and the bartender talked over us to them a  bit, but the only thing we got were sidelong comments about Americans until I asked the Fellow if he wanted to leave.

I guess he wasn’t feeling too appreciative of the atmosphere either because he turned to the group at the end of the bar and told the fellows something along the lines of “I don’t come here and assume all Irishmen are drunk, angry @$$holes, so why do you think it’s ok to be rude to us about Americans?”

Sometimes you’ve just got to call out people and address things head on. It worked like a charm.

From that point on, the evening was enjoyable.The conversations wandered all over the place from current political climates, Irish and American politics, (We got kudos for winning the Revolutionary War!), and football and soccer teams.

It’s fascinating how much they all know about other countries’ histories and how in touch they are with their own history. They talked about battles their ancestors had fought like it was in the last decade, not hundreds of years ago.

At one point during the evening, one of the guys turned to me and said, “I want to ask you a question.” I was not prepared for his question at all. He asked, “What do you think of the Dixie Chicks?” Of all the things!! I said I liked them well enough, and he came back with another question: “What do you think of Bush?” I figured it was best to sidestep, so I told him I was too young to have an opinion. “Fair enough. What do you think about Trump?” As I’m sure you can imagine, that kicked the conversation off on a long side road!

We stayed until closing, chatting, drinking and laughing. We even got them to agree to snapping a quick picture with us before we all went our separate ways. 24116484_1741749342800924_1332545266_o