So Kinsale was our last stop on the trip around the Emerald Isle.
As far as pretty towns go that have shops, art galleries, good restaurants, sights to see, and things to do...this one is pretty much a 10. It is a gorgeous little port town in County Cork. We spent 2 nights here and had some great food, did a little shopping, and enjoyed the sights. I will break down this post into those categories.
First off, where we stayed:
We actually stayed about 10 minutes out of town at a little B&B that overlooked the River Brandon. It was a very nice, clean, modern B&B with a gorgeous river view. The owners were very nice, also. It was called The Rivermount House. Although I would recommend this place, if I ever go to Kinsale again, I would prefer to stay in the town itself. It is just nice to not have to get in a car and drive.
The gorgeous sunset over the River Brandon
Where to eat:
Being in Kinsale 2 nights, did not allow me to try all the options and we left wanting to try several places. The places that we had heard about that were good, but did not try were: Jim Edwards Bar, The Spinnaker Restuarant and Bar,and The Spaniard. However, we did eat at 2 places that were both good. One was better.
The White House was the one that we ate at the first night and it was just OK. We had the mussels to start (which we did almost everywhere we went), and they were good, but not the best. Charlie and I got an Italian dish and a Bailey's cheesecake for dessert, and again good, but not memorable. I only remember what I had because I wrote down everything!
The next night we ate at an OUTSTANDING place! It was called The Fishy Fishy Cafe! Now, I don't know if I enjoyed this meal more because it was sans kids (they stayed back at the B&B with Linda), or because I had lobster, or both! I am guessing both! Don't let the word cafe in the name fool you. This is not a casual walk in type place (at least not for dinner). It is very much fine dining, and I suggest you make reservations a day or two at least before you plan to eat there. We made ours for a group of 14 the day before and we lucked out. We had to sit split up at 2 tables and we had a late time, but worth it!
So what did we eat at Fishy Fishy...I mentioned I got the lobster. Here, as with most all other places in Ireland we ate at, they go to the tank and get the lobster fresh. So our waiter came back with a live lobster to get my approval. When he did, his shirt was soaked! It was so funny. We asked him what happened and he explained to us that he had sat the lobster down on the scale and he jumped into the oyster tank. Poor lobster....I wouldn't want to be eaten either, but you sure were good. Lobster alone is reason enough for me never to go vegetarian for good. We started with the mussels (again) and they were sooo good. Some of the best we had on the trip. We had to order several extra orders of bread to soak up all the wonderful sauce they were cooked in. Charlie got the crab claws and they were outstanding, too! For dessert, the special was a Strawberry Pavlova. I highly recommend that. The strawberries were in season and so good. It was so nice to see desserts on the menu that were not your typical brownie with ice cream, cheesecake, creme brulee, wall of chocolate cake, etc... Places in Ireland had pavlovas, trifles, tarts, etc....Very refreshing for a change!
As for shopping, the main thing we shopped for was a painting. Charlie and I started a "tradition" or "hobby", not sure what to call it, on our honeymoon. We bought a gorgeous painting in Positano and decided that we would try to buy a painting from each trip we take as a memento. We are not much into buying T-shirts and gift shops knick knacks, but we love looking at the beauty of painting, painted by a local artist, to remember a place by. So far we have not been able to collect one from every country or trip, but we have the one from Positano, one from Venice, one from Paris, a Van Gogh reproduction from Amsterdam, 2 small paintings from Brussels, and some small drawings from Sitges, Spain and Rome. We add to our collection, this painting:
It is called Kerry Cottages. It was painted by an artist from Cork, very near Kinsale. In fact, we were informed when we bought the painting that we had just missed meeting the artist by about a half hour. She had been in the gallery. Coincidentally, many of her paintings were hanging at the Fishy Fishy Cafe when we went there that night for dinner. Her name is Dee Peiters. I love her paintings so much, that I would love to have another.
Lauren running around the art gallery.
As a tourist, Kinsale is a great town because it has all the great places to stay, eat, and shop, but it also has some history. There are 2 forts that sit at the mouth of the river, Charles Fort and James Fort. Charles Fort dates back to the 1670's. It is a star fort, meant that it is in the shape of a star. It was designed this way to be able to resist attack by cannon. There used to be a large chain that connected to both James and Charles fort that was raised across the harbour to prevent enemies from invading. Since 1971, Charles Fort has become a National Monument. We decided that we would go out and have a picnic at the fort and then get a tour. We had such a lovely day sitting on the hillside with our ham and baguettes and wine. It was so interesting to tour the fort and walk the expansive grounds. It was such a pretty place and overlooked the town Kinsale.
Picnic at Charles Fort
The last morning in Kinsale we headed out to Rosslare to take the overnight ferry across the English Channel to Cherbourg, France.
SO there ends the blog posts about Ireland. I might have a few more from time to time as we had some fun adventures and laughs along the way. I took so many pictures and each one of them tells its own story.