which involved some road rage between our laconic driver and a lady car driver / irritated van driver etc.
The Fiat Tipo 1.3 diesel rental car was brand new - we seem to keep getting this treat recently, if you can call a Tipo a treat that is. Why anyone would buy one rather than a Ford Focus is beyond us. A car to give away rather than sell if you are a dealer!
In fact we only saw 3 other Fiats during all of our travels here. Two of those were also Europcar offerings. Poor Fiat dealers....
Andrew and Linda's son-in-law is a wonderful man. Never met him but he is a wonderful man. This us simply because he works for a hotel chain and arranged for the General Manager of a local hotel and spa to meet us, welcome us to the place, fix lunch, spa treatments for the ladies and then afternoon tea to round things off. A great location:
and good food too. Very chilled and lazy afternoon all in all.
What else - well, we headed for one of the main tourist traps, Blarney Castle. The grounds are wonderful:
the castle interesting:
and there are a few strange things like the poisonous plant garden:
Pretty concise information really. They also had cannabis, opium poppies, deadly nightshade etc etc and a very big sign saying that children should be closely supervised.....
The biggest drawback of the place were the American coach tour visitors. They spent most of the time complaining about having to walk. They also seemed to need to kiss the Blarney Stone. Not heard of it? well, look at wikipedia for details of the legend. They claim that Winston Churchill might have obtained his extraordinary oratory powers here too:
Kissing the stone involves a less than dignified laying backwards and arching your back and neck down to reach the stone:
During this activity, an elderly gentleman supports and encourages you. According to a couple we chatted to, his grip on the ladies is a little different to his grip on the men. We think he pays to do this job, not the other way around. If you look up from the ground, you get to see the fun from a funny angle:
The most irritating of the American tourists kept telling every lucky soul that made eye contact with him "I have the gift of the gab, I just need eloquence now" after reading an information sign about the stone. Not sure he knows what eloquence is but he was right about the gab bit.
Despite the Blarney stone supposedly giving people a great grasp of the language and ability to use it, the signs in the castle were not in terribly good English:
They were much more focused on looking after the local Leprechauns. Quite a tourist attraction it seems:
A run to the most southerly part of the Irish mainland at Baltimore was interesting. They have a "marina" there as you can see from the sign (one of many) on the hut:
However, when you zoom out a little, it looks less impressive being comprised of an old barge and one run of wobbly cheap plastic floating pontoon that looks fit for RIBs only:
Unkind weather (cold!) didn't improve our overall impression of the place. Unfair probably as the island offshore looked lovely. They did a nice job painting up a gable end of the cafe we had lunch in though:
A day in Cork included a wander around the old Gaol. Well worth a visit and a bit grand for a jail too:
The interior looks nicer for the inmates than it really was of course:
See Cork Jail website for more information if you have the time / energy / interest.
The most entertaining part of the stay was seeing Andrew launch his Honda Dax and prepare it for a trip out with Linda:
Sadly the trip could only be 2.5 litres long as Linda refused to strap a petrol can to her back. However, some thick fog on the coast meant that the tank capacity was not tested. The captain thinks that one of these would look good on the boat deck and be an excellent addition to the inventory of the Nordhavn. The crew has a very opposite view. The boat deck seems safe.
We really like Kinsale. Seem to fit in well and the local bertholders are most friendly and helpful. Even the posh local restaurant "Fishy Fishy" seems to share our views on childminding and people who let theirs run riot:
The only problem is that the crew would love to have a dog. The captain is trying to stop her borrowing a child.