There are a lot of preconceived notions I had about Ireland, from the weather to the people and I have to say that most of them were incredibly accurate. After a few days on the island, I’ve noticed many interesting things about the Irish.
One, they are some of the friendliest people on earth. I could sit and listen to an Irish accent forever. There’s a kind of flow to it…relaxed instead of using harsh pronunciations.
Two, the weather really is foggy and rainy…every single day…at some point during the day.
Three, I imagined narrow winding roads with rock walls lining the sides and fields littered with sheep. Yes the back roads resemble this concept, but the highways are incredibly wide and built well.
Four – everyone seems to be on a slower schedule, enjoying life and the company of others. I sense little stress in these people, and if the Hobbits in The Shire were modeled after anyone, I think it might be the Irish.
Our two-week rental home courtesy of Home For Exchange was just outside of Tramore, on the South shore of Ireland, which rests just above a long sandy bay on the ocean. At the eastern end of the bay the water flows inland and then back behind the beach, leaving a tremendous nature park for walking, hiking, jogging, dog enjoyment, and of course birds. We went for a jog around the loop and even though the misty fog was thick, it was still 60 degrees. Post exercise and in desperate need of calories, we consulted TripAdvisor and found one of the highest rated establishments to be Dooly’s right on the boardwalk. It’s a walk-up kind of place, fresh to order, and even though it’s a takeaway kind of place, they still offer all the necessary condiments.
Driving West from Tramore to Cork is about a 90 minute drive; half of which is spent on just 12 miles of winding country roads and the other half on the nice straight highway with little traffic. On our way to Cork, we stumbled upon the town of Midleton and elected to visit the Jameson distillery for some lunch and a tour. It was great to learn about Ireland’s largest whiskey distillery, how it was started in the late 1700’s, and at the end was a tasting comparing Jameson to a Scottish and American whiskey (Johnnie Walker Red and Jack Daniels). I’m not sure if they put something in the Jameson to make it taste better but my guess is it’s just really that good.
Heading into Cork after the tour we visited the main Cathedral for a minute before noticing loads of people walking towards the center of town. We opted to follow the crowd guessing there was a soccer game going on and everyone was headed either to the playing field or a bar to watch. Instead, we found everyone on the main pub crawl street all dolled up and bar hopping. After quizzing a few police officers we learned today was Arthur Guinness Day and as Guinness was founded in the year 1759, everyone was rushing to a bar for a pint of Guinness to chug at exactly 17:59 (5:59pm) in celebration. We also noticed that most of the people doing the chugging weren’t over 25, but it was still a great show.