November 9- Rock of Cashel & Jameson Distillery Midleton
This whole trip we honestly slept in more than we ever do at home, so it was a “late” start for us getting to breakfast. Thursday morning, we ate down in the Kilford Arms Hotel restaurant. I had the continental breakfast- cheese, fruit tray, yogurt with granola, and soda bread with butter. Josh had the full Irish breakfast with coffee. A full Irish breakfast typically has bacon, white and black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bread with butter and jam. At least that’s what most every full Irish breakfast we had included. I thought we ate a lot of food back home when going out for breakfast, but let me tell you, even this was a lot of food for me! And you all know how much I love to eat!
As we were leaving Kilkenny, it was sprinkling some rain, but thankfully it cleared up pretty quickly and we had beautiful, sunny weather the rest of the day. It took us about an hour to reach our first stop of the day- the Rock of Cashel. We paid to do the guided one hour tour and I’m glad we did. There was so much history to learn about, both about religion and about all the structures on the property and daily life within! We saw Cormac’s Cathedral, the Gothic Cathedral, “the palace” where the archbishop lived, and the Round Tower. All these structures dated back to at least the 12th-13th century with some back into the 10th!
And my new kitty friend, Fergus!
We reached our next stop of the day- Jameson Distillery Midleton– after about an hour and a half drive through the country. It should be noted that we avoided tolls so we wouldn’t have to pay any more than we already were which meant the driving took us a little bit longer with the smaller country roads. We bought our tickets for the distillery tour and since we had some time, we stopped in at The Malt House (the restaurant on site at the distillery) for a bite to eat. I had a delicious Ballycotton seafood chowder (a selection of seafood from the nearby Ballycotton Bay cooked in a creamy veloute sauce with small diced vegetables, served with housemade brown soda bread). Josh opted for the soup and sandwich special (toasted white bread filled with roast chicken, red onions, butter, Wicklow brie cheese, and thousand island dressing and a mug of cream of carrot, honey, and coriander soup).
I was super pumped to remember to celebrate World Adoption Day while in Midleton! Every year, I post a picture of a smiley face drawn on my hand and this one was extra special because, well, Ireland!
The distillery tour was led by a younger man who was very funny, knowledgeable, and welcoming. No matter where we took a tour during our entire trip, I was always very impressed with how much the guides knew and how easily they could recite all the facts about wherever we were visiting.
At the end of the tour, we stopped off at the bar for a complimentary drink (Jameson whiskey, soda, or water). Before we got our drinks, we did a small whiskey tasting of an Irish, Scotch, and American whiskey. I don’t really care for whiskey, so I let Josh have mine. Josh choose to do the four whiskey tasting (for an added cost), so we took our drinks to a private room for the tasting. The four whiskeys included the Jameson Black Barrel, the Powers John’s Lane Release, the Redbreast 12 year old, and the Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy (Barry Crockett was the previous head distiller at Jameson). These four whiskeys were featured in the tasting, as they’re all distilled on site at the Midleton distillery which we learned about during the tour.
From the distillery, we drove about an hour down to Kinsale for dinner. I didn’t realize at the time that it was quite out of the way from our final stop of Killarney. Live and learn. Our dinner at Fishy Fishy was really tasty, so I’m glad we stopped even though I was pretty tired by the time we reached our hotel. We each had the deep fried haddock (tempura battered haddock with chips and tartare sauce) and brown soda bread with butter. The batter was really good on the fish and I especially liked the tartare sauce (they even served it in a seashell which I thought was fun).
Like I said before, I was pretty tired by the time we reached Killaran House Hotel because it was an hour and a half drive from Fishy Fishy. And it was dark (I don’t think I mentioned previously that it gets dark here around 4:30 pm in November). And most all country roads. I was really happy when we finally made it. We hauled all our stuff in and settled into our room- the hotel was so nice and clean. We had a wardrobe, bedside tables, an en suite bathroom, and even a little vanity. After a wonderful shower, we soon fell asleep after our long day.
Tip of the day: Avoiding toll roads adds time to your trip…plan accordingly so you don’t have to drive at night!