Ireland Day 5: Cork, Killarney and Dingle

Our day begins with a chilly morning at 51 degrees but sunny. After breakfast at the hotel, we meet Doris in the lobby at 9:00am for a walk over to Cork’s English Market. It is a thee-aisle indoor farmers market filled with stalls selling meat, fruits and vegetables, and. All types of pastries and baked goods. After exploring the building, four of us venture out to the St. Finn Barre Cathedral. Although a service was happening, we still had the opportunity to gawk and admire the intricate exterior of the building, complete with gargoyles and gothic elements. The best party was the front portal in which beautiful reliefs of scenes from the bible and statues welcome you inside.

A few blocks down the road and we are at the University of Cork. We stroll through the corridors of the visitor center and admire the ancient architecture as the new freshmen scuttle about the campus.

Back to the English Market, we stop for a few minutes for coffee and people watch as we wait for our next group meetup time.

Once all collected, we all walk down the river to the famous Franciacan Well Brewery for an hour-long tour of how to brew beer at their on-site microbrewery. Here we learn that their microbrewery can produce 23 kegs per berew and have partnered with other famous companies such as Jameson to create spirits such as Jameson Irish Whiskey Caskmates.

Followed by the tour, we enjoy a beer tasting of their two most popular brews – Rebel Red and Cheifton. The Rebel Red being their more flat, sweet brew, and Cheifton being their IPA with hints of grapefruit. Both were absolutely delicious!

Concluding the tour, we are down to the main eating area for a crazy amount of delicious pizzas, ranging from beet pizza, prosciutto, olives and anchovies, margarita, pepperoni and more! We enjoyed two drinks with our meal before happily walking back to the bus.

The bus ride takes us 45-minutes over to the small town of Macroom for a quick 10-minute bathroom break and to take a picture of the famous castle gate.

We are then onwards for another hour to the city of Killarney. Our bus driver, Martin, enlightens us on the drive about irish sports and teams , and got us updated on all the stats with current games.

We stop in the small town of Killarney for an hour to explore. Half of the group goes with our bus driver to check out the local soccer jerseys while four of us follow Doris over to St. Mary’s Cathedral. This was a stunning church that was an exemplary gothic structure with some modern elements woven in, such as audio-visual instillations. There is even recent pictures of when Pope Francis came to visit. There is a young couple surrounded by family practicing for their wedding with the priest, so we quietly make our way around inside before walking back to the bus.

The city of Killarney is the town you picture in your mind when you think of Ireland. Bustling streets with brightly-colored storefronts and pubs all around. The big thing is a soccer game happening in Dublin will be broadcasted on the TV this evening, so green and gold Kerry flags are displayed from every surface, and all are walking around are wearing their jerseys. A wonderfully surprising stop!

Martin makes a surprise stop for us at Inch Strand Beach where we hop off and go to a darling little strip of beach to take some photos. There is a slow sunset over the water as we dance around on the beach, nearly escaping the incoming tide. A small campground is on the beach and there are a few brave kids out in the water surfing the waves.

We make our way to Dingle by passing lush, green, shaggy pastures with little white sheep with black faces being hearded back in for the night. The hills roll up and down as far as the eye can see, with each little pasture divided by a low, rocky wall that is overgrown with greenery. My closest comparison I have is Iceland, but the grass here is far more plentiful and such a stunning shade of green.

Once in Dingle, we check in to Benner’s Hotel where we drop off our bags and four of us go around the corner to The Fish Box for some local fish chips. I try their recommended sampler ‘Fish Box’ and it was a incredible!

We then go back to the main street and order a Guinness and listen to live music at Paul Geaney’s Bar. The music was wicked awesome, with three young guys playing – one on guitar, the other on accordion, and the last a 12-year-old on a banjo. They had the whole bar cheering at the end.

Afterward, we simply cross the street and we are back at our hotel. Tomorrow morning is kayaking in the Dingle Bay.

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