Back in Cork after our wonderful trip to Scotland, we had more fun things planned. First up, a trip to the shore southeast of Cork city and to Ballymaloe House for a very special dinner.
After Bret got home from work, we drove to Ballycotton to catch the ocean view. We had a nice walk through the small town and got to see the Irish lifeboat volunteers (Irish all volunteer staffed coast guard) heading out for a drill.
From there we went to Ballymaloe, an Irish manor house that has been converted into a restaurant, hotel, cooking school, and sculpture garden. We arrived ahead of our reservation so that we could explore some of the 400 acres of beautiful countryside.
We especially liked the sculpture garden and hay field. Bret was inspired to take an artsy self portrait.
Emily was more inclined to take a selfie posing like the art.
We didn’t get a picture of Bret’s favorite sculpture, but Emily liked the jacks in the haystack.
Dinner was incredible! We had a five course meal that included mostly locally sourced produce, fish, and meats (they still raise their own pigs!). We are so thankful to Bret’s Mom and Stepdad for finding this place. As a wedding gift, they scoped it out for us and gave us money to eat there. It was an extra bonus to be able to share such a special experience with Emily’s folks as well. We liked the food so much that we went to the oldest bookstore in Cork to buy their cookbook which was another gift from Bret’s Mom and Stepdad. Thanks!!!
We sent Bret off to work again the next morning, and Emily and her folks headed down to Kinsale for the day. We had a nice morning exploring Charles Fort and the old town area… there may have been some shopping involved as well. Kinsale is the sister city of Emily’s hometown, Newport, RI.
Bret took the afternoon off though and joined us for the main event of the day, golfing at the Old Head of Kinsale.
The Old Head of Kinsale is a relatively new golf course and it did not make the top 100, but it sure is beautiful.
We were the last group of the day and it felt like we had the whole course to ourselves. We finished up just as the sun was setting. It was a whole lot of fun, although we all had some ups and downs in our game. Emily had to get in another pose with a dog statue.
We had another fantastic meal in the clubhouse before heading back to Cork. Thanks again to Emily’s Mom and Dad for another great day golfing.
The next day we were joined in our adventures by Emily’s cousin, Cinda and her family. We spent the first evening at a hurling match, which we all enjoyed. Cinda’s sons, Moe and Q, even got some hurleys afterwards so they can practice back in Geneva. The following day, we said goodbye to Emily’s parents after brunch. While Bret rested up, Emily and the O’Hanlons explored Cork a bit. We went to the Gaol (Jail) and a children’s science museum. Then we had a feast prepared by Cinda’s husband, Danny, back at home and celebrated Cinda and Danny’s wedding anniversary.
Emily and the O’Hanlons went to Kinsale the next day. The fort was especially fun with the energy of young boys!
We also went for a harbor boat tour. It was fun to see the town and the fort from the sea for the first time!
That evening, we celebrated Cinda’s birthday at one of our favorite spots in Cork, Electric.
Monday morning, we left Bret to tend to work (and a significantly quieter house) and Emily joined the O’Hanlons for a few days of their family vacation to Kenmare, Ireland. We stayed at the home of a family friend of Cinda’s and it was spectacular. The view from the back porch:
Rainbows abounded. While in Kenmare, we had many adventures including some hiking, some archery, kayaking, and swimming in the bay. It was a ton of fun!
It was such a great way to wrap up three solid weeks of non-stop adventure! Now we are home, recovering and resting up for the last visitors of the summer season. Our good friends Tracy and Ramona arrive in just a few days and more adventures are on the horizon! We’ll be heading to the northwest corner of Ireland and exploring Donegal.