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Monday, January 1, 2018

Miserable Weather, but “Hey, it’s Ireland!” Part 2

We both decided the wind won after a few hours into the Rock of Cashel visit, so we retreated to the car and headed to our last destination for the day - Bunratty (about an hour west). At Bunratty there was another castle and an interactive folk park. However, we arrived after everything was closed for the day. As we were driving around looking for a place to stay, we found something we were not planning on - one of the few wineries in Ireland, the Bunratty Winery (now Bunratty Mead & Liqueur Co. Ltd.). This just solidified our motto of “don’t plan everything,” because we lucked into being the only people there.

Scott and I like wine, and we like talking to people, so this side-trip meant talking to the guy at the front doing the tastings for over an hour. (Scott: Wine people can be hit-or-miss when it comes to “personality” and this is one reason why I tend to prefer beer people... but this guy was definitely fun.) Apparently there is a small market in Ireland for wine, so the winery was only producing two things during the off season:
  1. honey mead (yum!) and 
  2. Irish moonshine, called potcheen

 It's a shame we could only bring back 2 liters of alcohol on the plane...
My hubby and I also antique, (Scott: she antiques) and do you know what you get when you talk to a local wine connoisseur for an hour? A really cool discontinued mead jug for only 5 Euros that was not even for sale...ha! We also made sure to buy a liter of mead for ourselves that we were not planning on bringing home. Darn.

Bunratty revolves around the tourism of the castle and folk park, and we were able to stay at a cute B&B, the Courtyard, which was within walking distance of food and drinks (1 km max). We decided the closer we stayed to restaurants and pubs, the less driving we had to do within town, which was a positive thing for both driver and passenger. (Scott: Since Sam “doesn’t drive in Ireland” that left me with the choices of drinking, driving, or drinking/driving/getting arrested in Ireland. Not a big fan of getting arrested in foreign countries.) I do have to say though at this point of the Honeymoon the side-seat driving on my part was definitely improving and Scott’s ability to not scare the crap out of me while driving was also getting better.

Travel Tip #1: 
Communication with humor and a calm voice = good vibes in the car.

Our evening consisted of the following and we would recommend this itinerary to anyone:
  • Walked 8 minutes from the B&B to dinner at The Creamery Bar where we had another amazing hake dish! 
  • Walked dessert and drinks were down the road at J.P. Clarke's Country Pub. It was the perfect pub atmosphere - dark, real fire going, and the drinks were extremely reasonably priced! 
 Our walking map of Bunratty.

Travel Tip #2: 

Scott and I made a good move with lunches and dinners, we decided to only order a single dish and then split it. That way we (1) did not have to deal with leftovers or gorging ourselves and (2) always had room for drinks and dessert! If we could not decide on one dish together, he picked one meal and then I picked the next. (Out of the whole trip I think we had two sub-par meals and they were both bar food - the Irish really cannot fry food. Two bad meals over two-weeks was not too bad though.)

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