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Post Info TOPIC: Irish Spring: Mar/April 2011


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Irish Spring: Mar/April 2011


Stewart and Monte,

I'm glad you are enjoying my rambling on about my favorite topic....Ireland!

As for the Smithwick Brewery tours, I am not sure about the history of the tours as such, but 2 years ago they started offering them  to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the brewery.  The family that started it in 1710 still owns it, but are not directly involved on a day to day basis.  It is my understanding that they are once again offering the tours in 2011 due to the popularity and success of the tours in 2010.

Since "Murphy's" Brewery is now owned by Heiniken, we couldn't get in there for a tour.  The email I got from them was that it was under renovation, and their insurance company wouldn't allow tours.  The other day on another post, their excuse was:  they can't give tours because it is a "working brewery"!   duh....would you really want to tour a non-working brewery.... wouldn't that  be classified as a museum?  There are rumors that they might start offering tours in the old facility which now has the "Beamish" sign on it.  This facility is right north of the Grand Parade Street in downtown Cork City.

So that is why we chose to delay our departure from Kilkenny to do this tour...you never know when the opportunity to do so might end....and Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage will be there for a long time (I hope!)

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 5th of May 2011 05:46:54 PM

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Health and Safety regulations and interference from the EU has effectively put an end to the Working Brewery tours of the past.  The need for Public Liability Insurance is another reason why basic industry steers away from allowing the general public into any commercially producing operation.  A working museum or interactive exhibition is covered by different legislation.  I know from experience working on the restoration of mechanical exhibits for the Maritime Museum in Liverpool that there are strict rules for exhibits which don't conform to modern day safety standards.



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Tony,

You make a good point.  I suppose the "Liability" issue is the most significant in the whole scheme of any business operation these days.  Our food/beverage family business is in a 3 storey high lighthouse replica, and there "would be" a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean from the top.  However....liability, and the cost of liability insurance is the stopper for us.  Just not worth taking a chance on losing everything because of our "law-suit happy" society.

As for Smithwicks;  possibly they are either grandfathered-in or they choose to go ahead and pay for and write off the high cost of the insurance premiums to  the promotions budget.  We were actually in a few  sections of the "working brewery" but had to wear brightly colored safety vests and safety glasses.  At the time I thought it was a little over the top, but now understand why.  That probably explains why there are only a few round towers that can be entered in Ireland also.

They keep talking about "tort reform" here, but it never happens...I think the Lawyer lobby will see to that!

Dan 



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Enjoying the report, Dan.  Sounds like a good time, so far.  Glad you like "MY" house! biggrin

The Liability Issue doesn't just apply to Breweries... cry cry cry

LOTS of landowners have restricted access to some pretty nice places, just because of the insurance risks ... hmm  hmm  hmm

The Irish Government TALKED about creating Legislation to provide SOME protection, but apparently, they never actually got around to it.  furious furious

A personal example that comes to mind is Coomeenatrush Falls, in Millstreet ...

We visited there in 2005 and haven't been able to gain access SINCE ... ashamed  hmm  ashamed

Bob



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Bob, yes we did like YOUR housebiggrin  Especially the neighborly cows!  We had to wait a few times while they brought the milk cows down the road.  The grandmother/grandaughter were taking them to the milking barn.  They came over to tell us they were sorry that they were blocking the road.  We told them it was ok...just make sure you bring over a pint of milk for the breakfast cereal!  Of course, they didn't.

 



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Friday April 1

6:30 AM wake up call, and off to Cork City.  Took the south route thru Macroom.  The tour bus from "Easy Bus Tour Co."(formerly O'Briens) was to load in front of the tourist office on Grand Parade, and we had directions from the bus driver, and no problems finding the parking garage across the street from the tourist office.

DW and I headed into the Cork Library, which was right on that same block.  Went up to the 3rd floor to the geneology department.  2 gentlemen there were very helpful.  Looked thru the information they had, and the most helpful was the location of the Dromtarriffe old cemetary, as depicted on a satellite picture of the area.  They also printed a copy of the Griffith Evaluation, and after looking thru the data base, we discovered  that a Denis Murphy had leased 2 parcels of land, #26 & #29 in Dromtarriffe Parish in 1851.  They were able to super impose one map over the other to find the location of these 2 parcels on the satellite map.  The outline of the fields were still the same after 160 years, mostly due, I guess, to the amount of stone used for fences in Irish fields.  We purchased photocopies of all these maps and departed after about 2 hours spent there 

We decided to wander over to the English Mkt. which was about a block or 2 down the street.  What a neat place to visit!  We especially liked the sausage booth, and sampled!  We were so impressed with the taste, that we decided to split a sausage/hogie sandwich for an early lunch.  From there we went to the tourist office to check on the HOHO bus.  Had thought about going out to the Cork Goal, but the time was getting too short to justify the cost of the all day pass, and the day was half gone.  Decided to go on foot instead to the Butter Museum....quite interesting, but not a must see in Cork. 

From there we stopped at a Cork Pub for an afternoon pint of Murphy's Stout and Irish Coffee.  We asked about buying a couple of "Murphy's Pint glasses" and they comped us 2 of them, since we had the right last name!  We asked about the location of the Murphy's Brewery, and it was just around the corner and up the street....about a 10 minute walk.  They gave us directions, and we headed over there.  Murphy's Brewery was bought out by Heineken some years back, and there was a big green Heineken sign on the building...and no reference to Murphy's.  We walked inside the reception area to inquire about a tour, and no luck.  Took pictures. 

Then we wandered back over to St. Finbar's Cathedral.  Anglican, and in need of much repair, which they were doing, so couldn't go inside.  Walked around the outside and took pictures. 

Headed back to where our friends were to arrive after their tour of SW Ireland, but we were about a half hour early for their 5:00 pm arrival.   While DW waited for them, I went over to the English Mkt to pick up some fresh veggies, including potatos, carrots, cabbage (Irish cabbage sure looks weird....really wrinkled!  They had a fresh gourmet coffee booth there, so bought a pound of coffee and had them grind it for the drip coffee maker. (we had survived on instant coffee earlier in the day!)

By this time the tour was back, so headed to the parking garage.  It was the most expensive parking of the entire trip...probably due to location....15 Euros/day.  Had no trouble getting out of Cork City during the 5PM rush hour, and arrived back at the Millstreet house by 7:30PM.  While at the English Mkt.  I had also purchased 6 sausages, all different flavors, so we split them lengthwise, browned them and cut each one in 4 pieces so we could all sample, all the flavors.  My German friend was in 7th heaven!  Boiled the cabbage and carrots and had German style fried potatos. 

As for weather, it had probably been the most miserable day of our 14 in Ireland....had rained overnight and a cool front came in, and there was a blustery, gusty wind.  It didn't bother us in Cork City, but the tour group had some of their sight seeing curtailed....it just wasn't nice enough to get out of the bus during a couple of rain showers.  Overall, despite the weather, they were happy with "Easy Tours"

We studied the owner's manuals for the washer and dryer, and got clothes ready for Sat. which was to be laundry day....and a day to slow way down after 5 pretty steady days of touring.   More to follow....

Dan

 



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Dan,

Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the next segment of you're report.

Frank

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Sat April 2

Woke up to a sunny morning, but there were small periods of partly cloudy skies on this day, with a few very brief widely scattered showers, with temps in the 50's.  Weather was my biggest concern with the time frame of this trip, and we were pleasantly surprised!biggrin  Our friends said some birds woke them up with their singing....a bird not found in the US, but one they recognized from their time in Germany.

Wow...was this self cater well equipped!  Discovered this morning that we have no less than 3 ways to make coffee...coming from the Pacific NW, the self proclaimed coffee capital of the US (based on consumption) we we extremely pleased!  The main coffee maker was a combination espresso/drip coffee maker, and there was also a French Press.  We used the French Press for the first quick cup, as the hot water in the electric tea maker took mere minutes, while the drip coffee maker went to work.  The fresh-ground medium blend coffee from the English Mkt was great!  We didn't get into the espresso realm...1 lb of regular grind would take most of the week to use up.  We had our usual self-cater breakfast consisting of cereal, fruit, toast, and coffee....a far cry from an Irish Fry-up....but a welcome change as we actually were now able to have a regular "lunch" in Ireland!smile

The gals started the laundry process.  This was much better than our normal routine of doing sink laundry with light-weight polyester type clothing.  Due to the self cater, we were able to bring heavier pants and shirts...DW even brought a couple pairs of  jeans.  The washer and esp. the dryer were quite different than what we were use to.  The dryer was slow on low setting, and very hot on the high setting...didn't seem to be able to find the medium setting....maybe didn't have one.  It also had a  water drain pain that had to be emptied during and after loads of laundry.  Worked fine once we got use to it all.

While the laundry process was taking place, L. and I went down to the local supermarket in Millstreet for groc. for the rest of the week.  It was a fairly nice groc. for a small town, and we enjoyed walking around looking at all the various products that were different, and not available here.  Since alcohol sales don't start untill 10 AM, we had to kill about 10 minutes waiting for the magic hour.  In the process, we found a couple of more things that we needed that weren't on the list.

We found the "3 for 10Euros" sale in the meat department, so started out with that in our meal planning process.  Since there were 2 of us "men" making these important decisions, we hoped the ladies would be happy with our choices!  For meat we ended up with Bacon (for bacon and cabbage) pre-formed beef meat balls  (for spagetti and meatballs) and boneless, skinless chicken breasts (for Irish Enchaladas......Grace is an excellent chef in the Mex. food department!).  To compliment all of this, we got an assortment of veggies;  carrots, cabbage, potatos, mushrooms, onions, and a few cans of my new favorite: mushy peas!  By the end of the week, the other 3 were hooked too!  Besides beer and wine, we needed some chips and paper towels to round out a fairly full cart of groc. for 75 Euros.  Not bad, considering it would feed 4 people for the next 5 days!  We estimated that meals such as this in a self cater would be about 1/4 of the cost of eating out.  Of course, you are using valuable vacation time cooking and cleaning etc. but it worked out well, as usually we teamed up and 2 would do the cooking and 2 the clean up afterwards.  May not have been tempted to do quite this much cooking if it would have been just the 2 of us.

Arrived back at the cottage just about in time for lunch....cold meat, cheese, mayo on brown bread.  Our friends were rapidly becoming hooked on the bread in Ireland!  Got the last load of laundry into the washer, but decided not to dry it till evening....we hated to leave with the dryer running.  Decided we all needed an afternoon outings, which started downtown, where we located  the Drug store "Chemist" which had a Kodak camera center in it.  L & G were both having battery issues with their camera, and wanted to get that taken care of.  While there, DW and I decided to leave our partially filled camera sandisks there to be backed up on a disk.  The price was 2.99Euro for each of us.  We alway worry about losing a camera with ALL of the pictures on it, and some travelers back theirs up on disk every day.  Probably good advice.  They had some impressive looking photo processing equipment in there for a small town business. 

We asked one of the employees to suggest a good pub, one that was friendly and where we could become one of the "locals" for a week.  She suggested Pomeroy's on the corner of Main, and the road that heads to Macroom.

We then headed up to see the Toy Soldier Factory located SW of Macroom near the tiny village of Kilnamartyra.  Missed the turn off north of Macroom, so went in on tiny narrow roads from the south.  Was an interesting place to visit.  They had miniature toy soldiers already casted, painted and in gift sets, and it appeared the most popular was "Chess" sets.  We really liked the "Nativity" displays but wow....were they expensive.  Of course there are many hours of labor involved in the casting and hand painting of this type of product.  They had a casting demonstration for every group that walked in, right at the front reception desk.  It took about 10 minutes for the explanation and casting, as they kept a small pan of hot liquid metal substance ready and waiting on a hot plate/burner.  Next to the desk was a table that was available for anyone who wanted to make and paint their own toy soldier/figure for 5Euros.  There were 2 kids there painting and we watched them for a while.  This would be a great rainy day activity for families with kids!  It was good stop on a lazy Saturday afternoon, one that we had to do since it had been on our radar back in 2006, and we didn't have time for it then.  Took the short route back to Millstreet.  We were proud of ourselves....only lost (in a vehicle) 2 times in 5 days!confuse  Stopped at Pomeroys for a pint on the way back into town...since it was already 5:00.  It was a friendly place, and got acquainted with Mrs. P who had lost her husband, and was running the place with the help of a couple of daughters.  We inquired about buying some more "Murphy's" Pint glasses, and she assured us that she would come up with some before we left.

We decided it was the night to try our hand at a truly Irish meal; bacon and cabbage.  We were prepared to slow cook the bacon in a dutch oven in the the big oven, but Noel stopped by briefly to see how we were doing, and suggested that the best way to do it was boil the bacon till it was tender, then add the par-boiled carrots (we blanched them in the microwave) and finally the cabbage near the end.  The cabbage doesn't take too long.  Of course, we had to do mashed potatos and mushy peas.  It turned out great, if I have to say so myself!

For our evening entertainment, we only had 3 TV stations to choose from....a little disconcerting for our friends, but I can, and do get by without TV most of the time except for news and weather.  Katherine and Noel mentioned this at the outset, but mentioned that they were hopeful  cable or sat.  service would reach this property within the next year.

I took a long, late evening, sun-down walk up the road to the dead-end, then back past the property and down towards the dairy farmer neighbor's place.  The cow dog came out to greet me, and he had a plastic muzzle tied around his nose and jaws.  Don't know if that was to keep him from biting cows or humans, but didn't wait around long to find out.

It had been a restful day, about like I had figured a day at a self catering cottage might be.  A sharp contrast to the way our days usually go, when we aren't self catering.  If you haven't done so, I urge everyone to try it at least once...even if you can only fit in a 3 or 4 day stay.  Some property owners will do this in the shoulder or off season...it doesn't cost anything to ask!   more later.....

Dan

 

 



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Sunday April 3

L & G had a 2nd day trip booked out of Cork City, but found out during their first day trip that the tour bus would pass thru Macroom, and the driver agreed to pick them up there in front of the Castle instead of in Cork City.  We appreciated the much shorter drive to Macroom rather that all the way in to Cork City.  The tour bus was headed to Ring of Kerry, and after checking with the driver for a return drop off time, we headed back north.  We arrived at Dromtarrife just in time for the 11:00AM Sunday Mass.  It was a big crowd.  We stayed afterwards to take some pictures, and visited briefly with one of the ladies carrying an important looking brief case....she must have been on the Parish Council.  Inquired about the "Murphy's" in the area, but she was unable to help.

We then left about noon to find the old Parish Cemetary.  It was a few miles east, then south in a hilly area.  A young gentleman was leaving the cemetary, so we stopped to ask some questions about the cemetary.  He said that the new cemetary near the church was developed in 1995, but some people were still being laid to rest in the old one because that is where their family members remains were located.

I hadn't recalled that my Aunt had visited this old cemetary when she was there 15 years ago, so pulled out my cell phone and rang her in Colorado.  I didn't do the math right on the time change, and it was quite early in the morning when I reached her!  She was in a pretty good mood after finding out there was no family emergency, and then was very excited to know that we had located the old cemetary which she wasn't even aware existed.  She had only been in the new cemetary.  Armed with this information, we told her we were prepared to look at every marker.

We spent about 2 hours looking at every gravestone.  Did locate the graves of 4 Murphy's, but none for "Patrick" who we believe is Denis's father.  About 20% of the grave stones had writing on them that we couldn't read.  Another 10-12 grave stones had fallen over, face down. 

The most striking thing about the cemetary was the plain grey stone marker right inside the main gate, that told about the battle during Cromwell's time in the 1600's, and the 400 some people who lost their lives in the Dromtarriffe church his army burned down.  Directly behind the stone marker was three circular areas about 10 foot in diameter, outlined with 6" rocks.  This was obviously the 3 mass graves where the 400 burn victims were laid to rest.

Our next stop was Banteer village to locate a couple of plots of ground that a "Denis Murphy" leased back in 1851 according to the Griffith's Valuation, published between 1847-64.  This was info that we had gathered at the Cork City Library, complete with Griffith's Valuation Map and a satelite map showing plot 26 and plot 29.  One plot was shown to have had a dwelling and an office located on it at that time (1851).

The sat. map was not detailed enough to use for a road map, so after stopping at the Banteer Catholic Church to see if there was a cemetary to look for family headstones, and told by a young couple that were putting up soccer posters on the town notice board on main square kittycorner from the church, that 1851 was way before anything could have been done in Banteer along those lines.  We then asked this young couple if they knew of anywhere to get a local map to find some property out in the country.  They indicated that they had lived there all their lives, and might know what we were looking for, and volunteered to help.  Went back to the car, gathered up the maps and came back to get great directions to exactly where we wanted to go.

It was about a 10 minute drive west and south of Banteer, on  ever narrowing roads.  They kind of followed the contour of the Black Water river, the property looked to be bordering the river.  They indicated that a Con Murphy lived about a mile past the property we were looking for, and was a gentleman in his early 60's, semi retired but still doing some dairy farming (Is that possible??? being semi retired and milking cows twice a day???)  They advised us to make contact with him...since he had the right last name!  At any rate we drove by the suspect property, having easily recocnized it by a severe bend in the road, and on to Con's house.  No one home except a barking dog.  Thought about leaving a note, but decided maybe we would return later in the week.

Drove back to Plot 29 which bordered the road.  Got out and walked in....hoped we weren't trespassing....nothing posted!  We walked about half way down to the river, up to where plot 26 nearly bordered #29.  Would have gone all the way down to the river, but was muddy and heavy underbrush in that area, and looked like some turf had been harvested nearby, blocking the way.  It was pasture ground (beef cattle,  or dairy) gently sloped from the road all the way to the river.  There was not a sign of remnants of a dwelling or any kind of buildings.  It was a beautiful sun shiny day, slightly breezy, and couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to be standing on this spot 160 years ago.  On the ridge of the hill behind us on the opposite side of the road was a line of  gigantic wind chargers.  A lot of technology has happened here in the last century and a half.

By this time of the day, nearly 4 PM, we realized that we had a bout a 45 minute drive back to Macroom to get L & G. from their tour bus.  We arrived 5 minutes after they did, and they had a great tour, and we shared stories about our day.  On the way back towards Millstreet, we passed one of the many "famine graves" sign posted along the route, so we stopped in to check it out.  It was north of Macroom, and it was a trail down to a small creek, and a little chapel was build next to the mass grave, also marked with various size rocks and signposted.  There were log benches for the Chapel, and once a year, the local Catholic Church has a special Mass and service there to honor over 1,000 famine victims laid to rest there.  We were to see many many more such sign posted famine graves over the area of SW Ireland in the next few days.

We then spotted a sign for a stone circle and Dolmen, so took the narrow unimproved road to see if we could find them.  I believe this was the Knocknakilla megalithic compex, over 3500 years old.  The Dolmen was in a pasture that was easily (except for muddy area) reachable by foot.  However the stone circle with a rather tall portal stone about 3.7 meters (taller than I remember ever seeing before, and a fairly small in diameter 3.5 metre-diameter 10 stone ring) was fenced off into a adjoing pasture, and we could not find a way to get into this pasture (containing animals) without  crossing a fence with an electric wire fastened on.  We didn't want to do battle with an electric charged fence, so we had to be content just to take pictures from over the fence.

Got back on to the main road to Millstreet, and headed to the cottage to get ready for dinner.  It was a fairly quick meal to prepare; browned the meat balls and added sauce (a nice lady had given me advice in the supermkt on Sat. about the brand of  spag. sauce her family likes), boiled the spag. made garlic bread and ended up with a great meal.  The Irish ground beef was really lean and tasty....almost no grease when being browned. 

We decided to head down to our new favorite pub, Pomeroy's.  We had a pint, visited with the owner's daughter filling in for Mom, and she had her 3 daughters there with her....ages 8-14.  Visited with some of the locals,  including a family with 3 children.  The gentleman sat next to me at the bar, the rest of the family sat at a table directly behind us, and he and I visited quite a while, then his wife walked up to where I was sitting and asked how we liked the spag sauce.  I looked at her kind of shocked and said fine.....how did you know....at which point she reminded me that she had advised me about spag. sauce in the grocery store the day before!  So much for blending in with the locals!  Indeed, a friendly small town!  

We then headed back to the cottage and called it a day.

Dan 



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Monday April 4

Our appointment with Evelyn, the Dromtariffe Parish Secretary, was scheduled for 10 AM.  After breakfast, we headed that direction.  L & G didn't have any specific plans, so decided to tag along with us for the day.  Got there about 30 minutes early, so went to the new parish cemetary to look around.  It was a lot newer than I thought...the oldest head stone that we found was 1995. 

Went back to the Parish office for our meeting.  We suggested that L & G could tour the new church (1700's...new by European standards!) as well as the foundation and remnants of the old church that had been burned down.

Our meeting with Evelyn went well despite not gaining as much information as we had hoped.  We got to look inside the actual book that GG Grandfather Denis's baptismal records were entered, as well as 3 of his siblings.  They were unable to find any marriage or burial records for his parents.

The subject of the townland, Carrigague (and various spellings!) came up, and Evelyn had asked a 94 year old parish member about that.  He believed that that townland and another one had been combined to form a present day townland.  He also indicated that at one time there was a castle and King in that exact area, and they employed quite a number of area farmers...so our ancestors could have possible been involved in that.

Evelyn gave us a copy of the list of all the head stones of the old Dromtariffe cemetary, and while more complete than what we could read the day before, there were some graves there that couldn't be read by who ever compiled the list. 

Evelyn also mentioned that there were "Murphy" relatives in her family, and she someday wanted to start what no other family member has yet done....geneology.  I still have hope that someone on that end will some day email, call, or come knocking on my door, and turn up as a long lost relative from Ireland!

We visited with her about the "Denis Murphy" contact we had uncovered thru 4th cousins here in the states that thought the family had originated from Aghabullogue, north of Coachford.  She thought we should do some research  to either prove or discount that possibility.  Of course, it could be another Denis Murphy...but how likely would it be that they have 4 children with the same 4 names.  We will try to do most of this research on line, probably using the Mallow Heritage Center, but if another trip to Ireland is necessary....I guess we could go?!biggrin

After about 2 hours of her time, we asked Evelyn what we owed her, and she said nothing.  We gave her 20 Euros and asked her to submit it as a donation at Dromtariffe.

We decided to find the local famine burial pit.  Evelyn indicated it was about 3 miles down the highway toward Kanturk.  We found a small white cross in the hedge-row on the south side of the road, but no other marker.  We headed on to Kanturk.  My cell phone needed to be topped up, and while there were no Tescos close by, we found a small convenience store (The American Store!) to buy a 10 Euro top-up.  We left our car parked there, and walked about 6 blocks downtown for coffee and a bite to eat for lunch.  Ended up seeing the pot pies at the Centra, and we had never tried one.  We got chicken and mushroom and steak and mushroom and p-chips.  They were ok....for a quick hot lunch.  Not much else to see in Kanturk, so asked directions to  the Kanturk Castle.  It was out on the edge of town, not too far away, on the road toward Mallow if I remember right.

Kanturk Castle was worth the stop.  The shell is quite well intact, but of course the interior has not been restored.  It is unattended, has good informational signs around it, and free admission.  Worth a stop if you are in the area.

Our next stop was Mallow, with the intent to visit the Geneology Heritage Center.  A primary search for the Denis Murphy connection at Aghabullogue would cost 40 Euros, and an extended family search would be 65 Euros, and it took minimum 2 weeks....not a time line that would help us on this trip.  They indicated that all of this could be done online using paypal, so we took the application blanks and info, and left.  Stopped at the local Mallow groc for a few items we were running low on, plus an Irish turnip....I was so impressed with their sweet light flavor, and then headed back towards Millstreet.

There is a rural pub on the Millstreet turn off, at the intersection of N72 and R583, called "The Sandpit"  It had been our landmark to find the Millstreet turnoff after dark the evening we arrived in town.  Since it was "5:00 somewhere"  we decided we owed it to science to check it out so  stopped in for a pint.  It was a lively crowd of 8-9...mostly farmers and we enjoyed visiting with them.

In the course of our conversation, a local chap asked us where we were staying.  We told him Millstreet, and he asked if we had been to the Holy Well.  We had not.  He went out to his vehicle to get us an empty plastic pop bottle...he says he saves them for tourists who want to take some water home from the Holy Well!  Needless to say, after we left there, we decided to go check it out....just a short way west of Millstreet town.  We were quite impressed.  He said it was one of the nicer Holy Wells in all of Ireland, and after seeing it....that is quite possible.  We spent about a half hour there...very peaceful and quite....almost like being in church.  Several miracles of healing were documented there.  The water was bubbling up out of the ground, and was cold and pure.  I think it supplied the water to Millstreet.  There was a little "cup tree" beside the bubbling water, and they were intended for those who wanted  to fill a container.  Several people showed up with 1 gal jugs and larger, to fill and take away, while we were there.  Also well worth a stop (no pun intended!) if you are in the area.

Arrived at the self cater cottage about 5:30, and proceeded to prepare the boiled/buttered turnip, along with chicken fajitas wraps, mashed potatos, and mushy peas.

Since we had already earlier made our nightly pub-call, we decided to forgo a trip down to Pomeroys, and elected to spend the evening in.... playing rummy...since the TV had nothing very interesting to offer on a Monday night.

Dan

 

 



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Dan --

I'm enjoying your further adventures.  Sorry that the research isn't going as well as hoped, but I'm glad to hear you made SOME progress.  It does tend to be Slow-Going, much of the time ... hmm

FYI -- That's Turbrid Holy Well that you mentioned.  It's reputed to be the Second larges natural spring head in all of the British Isles ...

And, YES -- Millstreet DOES have Holy Water running from its taps!  biggrin biggrin

Bob



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Dan,

What a wonderful adventure doing your family genealogy. It is certainly a different kind of a trip than most tourists to Ireland make.

I'll never forget when my neighbor visited Ireland. She and her sister were very into genealogy but didn't have a lot of facts. They knew their family was from Sligo and the names. I suggested they stay at a small B&B outside town. They were chatting with the owner and he said "Wait a minute. The man I work with has a similar name as what you are looking for." Turns out that man was a 4th cousin and had an genealogy database for the family. He entered their line into the database, took them around to see the old family farm, etc. They were absolutely over the moon to have found their long lost family line and a cousin to boot. Serendipity does happen in Ireland all the time.

Michele



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Tuesday April 5

This was another day trip planned to give L & G a chance to see some "must-see" places for them, and it would be a repeat for DW and myself.  They wanted to see Blarney Castle, and Jamison Distillery at Midleton.  We headed from Millstreet to Mallow, then south to Blarney.  We liked this route better than south of Millstreet to Macroom and over.  Seemed like wider roads, and less traffic.

  DW and I decided not to tour the castle a 2nd time, so split up at the castle gate, and went to check out Blarney Village.  Doesn't amount to too much.  Ended up at the Blarney Wollen Mills.  It is no longer a working mill, but is a huge gift store.  We decided this was our day to buy most of our gifts and souv. to take back for friends and family.  We have started collecting Irish decks of playing cards, so bought about 10 decks.  Also some Irish men's hats etc.  There was a coffee shop on the end of the building, so had to try a scone with my latte.  

L&G joined up with us after about 90 minutes of shopping, and they bought a few items also.  It was close to noon when we pulled out of Blarney and headed south, skirted around the the southeast edge of Cork City, (I was dreading this part of the drive, but it wasn't too bad) and then on east to Midleton.

Drove right up to the Jamison Distillery, it seemed easy to find, having been there in 06, but arrived from the west this time instead of the east.  Upon entry, we found that a tour had just started, and would be about 40 minutes till the next tour.  We enjoyed the tour so much in 06, we decided to join L&G on the tour. (I had been selected as one of the 3 official "tasters" in 06!)  Purchased tickets, then decided we might just have enough time for a bite to eat, so headed to the dining room for lunch.  It was very full, and they said we had a 10- 15 minute wait for a table.  We indicated that it probably wasn't going to work due to having tickets for the next tour.  At that point, they decided they could move a 4-top from behind the divider, to the front side, and we were in.  Ordered seafood chowder and brown bread for 3 of us, and DW ordered broccoli-cheddar soup and bread for 11 Euros/2 servings.  It was all very yummy.

Soon it was time to go on the tour.  It was very similar to the one we took 5 years ago...except this time they offered the taste test to 8 people instead of 3.  Since there were only 10 of us, and 2 ladies weren't interested,  we were in.  The other difference was that they offered us a taste of 3 kinds of whiskey instead of 5 kinds.  In 06 we had 3 Irish, 1 Scotch, and 1 American Whiskey.  This time we got 1 Irish, 1 Scotch, and 1 American.  It was a worthwhile experience, and L&G said it was well worth the drive!

We headed back towards Millstreet about 3PM.  Got into town, and suddenly, the car made an unexpected veer to the left and happened to parallel park in front of Pomeroy's Pub!biggrin   We just had to make about a 90 minute  stop  for a couple of Pints, and some lively Craic with the locals.  Went back to the Self Cater for an evening meal of Beef Stroganoff over rice, and cooked turnips and carrots.  It was another evening to sit back, relax and to play rummy, and take it easy.  Life is good in Ireland!smile

Dan 



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Dan,
Very interesting read.
" the car made an unexpected veer to the left" You must be on your toes things like this happen without warning. LOL

Frank

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Dan,

Sounds like you enjoyed cooking at your self-catering cottage. More impressive than my usual efforts. I try to keep it real simple and quick. I guess I'm too preoccupied with writing and photos.

Michele

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Wed April 6

This was the day to spend in Killarney.  L & G were not able to get a tour to Dingle through O'Briens out of Cork City....thank God!  So we had made phone reservations with Duros tours for one out of Killarney.  This was our chance to do some research on the ground for our proposed Murphy family reunion/gathering  planned for summer of 2012.  As luck would have it, we found parking in front of "Murphy's" Pub, and walked a couple of blocks down to check on the status of their tour.  Everything was a go.  We decided to put the car in a nearby parking lot, about 2 blocks north of "Murphy's" for an all day ticket costing 3 Euros.  From the car park, G&L headed for Duros, and we headed over to check out Murphy's Pub and B&B.  Looked over the whole facility, including 3 rooms that were ready to rent but not occupied.  They looked satisfactory to us.  There is a nice pub on the ground floor, and a fairly upscale restaurant upstairs.  There is another breakfast room opposite side of the bar/pub area that could be used for family functions a couple evenings if we needed it. 

Next we went to the opposite side of the street to see the Royal Hotel.  It was 4* (Murphys was 3*)  It was very posh.  Super friendly and eager young lady showed us around.  The guests at this hotel would have access to a pool in a sister hotel near by.  They treated us to a latte and scone...very good!  Then went to the guesthouse just west of Royal....can't remember the name now, starts with an "L" .  It also was 4 * but not quite the quality of the Royal.  We could plainly see that there was plenty to choose from in Killarney, and a great central location for numerous day trips during our week long family event, yet compact enough that we can do some pub/restaurant/shopping excusions within easy walking distance.

Went up and down the 2 main shopping streets, looking everything over, then went over to Dunnes Dept store and picked up a medium size carry-on bag for gift items.  We planned to check our luggage with all the dirty clothes, but carry on our gift items so they don't get broke/stolen.  Went to the 2Euro store for a cell phone cover, some camera batteries, and a pocket size magnifying glass...all for 2 Euros each!

It was lunch time, so went to a small snack bar/sit down place next to Tesco for Fish and Chips....was just ok enuf to fill a hollow spot, but wouldn't go back.  Went to the bank and got $500.00 changed into 340.23 Euros for an exchange rate of 1.469 to use on B&B's the next 3 nights.  Also got a SW Ireland Ord survey map for our swing through SW Cork County over to Kenmare which was planned for the next day.  By this time, the arrival hour for L&G had come, and we met them in front of Murphy's pub as planned.  Of course we had to go in for a pint of "muthers milk" after a strenuous day of research!  DW found a black t-shirt with "Murphy's" on it displayed behind the bar, and bought it. 

It was time to head back to Millstreet for our final night at the Buckley House.  It was left-over-clean-up night, so emptied the fridge and made good use of the microwave. Wanted to go in and bid our new friends at Pomeroy's goodbye, but decided to do a last couple loads of laundry instead, to tide us over for the next 3 days-nights remaining in Ireland, and we were kind of wore out from the day's activities, so stayed in and rested up for the final push through SW Ireland enroute to Kenmare, and final stop; Shannon.

Dan



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Dan,

We enjoyed reading your trip report. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!

Michele

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Michele, I apologize for this lengthy drawn-out trip report. It has been a hectic spring, but with the school year drawing to a close, gearing up for the summer tourist season for our business, and a 80th b-day celebration for my mother in Nebraska this weekend, would it be alright if I wrap this up next week? I only have a few days to go if you all can bear with me! Dan

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Dan,

No problem. Take your time. We have had longer and more drawn-out reports in the past. There is no time limit!

Michele

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Thursday April 7

OK, here we go again....I'll TRY to get this wrapped up soon!smile

This was our get-away day from Buckley's Self Catering Cottage.  We packed up and spiffed up the place-- as best we could, and was checked out and on the road by 9:00 AM.  Headed south toward Macroom, then SW for a ways, and we soon had to stop for a latte and petrol.  We bought 13.34 L for 52.23 Euros, and had traveled 487 K.  Don't know how that figures by US standards of measure for mpg.  The metric system and math are not my forte! 

Headed SW thru Dunmanway, thur Drimoleague till we reached our next stop which was Baltimore.  Drove out to the pier, and then beyond on the small roads for a spectacular view of Baltimore harbor.  Back northward to our next stop which was Skibberean at the Famine Heritage Center.  It was well worthwhile; we learned a lot about the famine from this stop, and found out how hard-hit this region of Ireland was....the most severe of all.

Headed on west bound, and found a layby for a quick picnic lunch of sandwiches, crackers, cheese and fruit.  Turned northward at Ballydehob, on up to Bantry.  Bantry looked to be a nice size town that may be worth checking out on another trip!  Went on up to Glengarriff.  Stopped in the center of town at the fountain plaza area and got out for a stretch and to walk around a bit.  Both Schools were just letting out, and there were students in their bright colored uniforms going every which way!

On Northbound and almost into Kenmare we came across a Chocolate Factory, so had to stop and check it out.  It was "Lorge Chocolateer" and we bought some and it was excellent.    Got into Kenmare about 6 PM.  Found our B&B right away...after seeing all of the lodgings on Google streetview, you would almost swear that you had been there before!  We lucked out with on street parking, which can be a premium in Kenmare at times.  Neal and Noreen were great hosts at this B&B.  The rooms were upstairs and streetside, but I didn't notice any noise from down below...a pretty quiet town at this time of year.

Went for pub-grup, at a place I believe was called "Worley's"  DW had fish & Chips, and I tried the Guinness Stew.  Good food and service.

Went to Foley's for the only music in town on a Thursday night.  One guy, playing a guitar and singing.  Had a full house, and he did quite well.  Had a pint, and called it a night, getting in about 10:30 PM.

This was a long day's drive, but wanted to get an overview of SW Ireland, and I  came to the conclusion that you could spend the better part of a week in this area from Clonakilty to Kenmare,(maybe 2 weeks if you also took in Beara, ROK and Killarney) and explore all the tiny roads and small and large peninsulas, esp Mizen Head, and even Sheep's Head.  Also would like to explore Sherking Island, Clear Island, and Whiddy Island....just go peninsula and island hopping so to speak!  I think SW Ireland deserves a minimum of a week, maybe 2....just like we did in NW Ireland 2 years ago.

Dan

 



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Just a foot note inserted here:  There is a really good (lengthy) bit of information on Beara and nearby communities and islands on....do I dare mention this?...Trip Advisor.  It was written on June 26,  by "daughther-mother" from Texas, and there is a wealth of information for anyone who is going to SW Ireland specifically "Beara" which will be my next day on this trip report.  We did spend all day on Beara.  Dan



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Friday April 8

This was the day I was most looking forward to on the entire 2 week trip.  Up and ready for the earliest seating for breakfast.  Noreen's breakfasts rank right up there with the best!  I was intrigued by one of the menu offerings, pears with a melted blue cheese topping on toast, and cooked under a broiler .  Wow was it good.  Good enough to have it both mornings! 

Headed out for the Beara Peninsula.  Neal advised going clockwise, over Healy pass then west along the south shoreline.  Healy pass lived up to expectations and then some.  Stunning views of the the Irish countryside, and green valleys and lakes etc.  Spent several minutes at 2 or 3 pull-outs to just soak in the spectacular views.  Stopped at Castletownebere at "Murphy's Cafe" for lattes.  Then on to the western most tip of Beara, ultimate goal:  Dursey Cable Car.  There were some pretty tiny narrow roads at times....just the kind I have grown to like!  We reached Dursey just shortly after the last morning cable car run,(11:30 I believe) and the next one would be around 1:30...those Irish know how to take a lunch break!biggrin  At anyrate, we killed about 2 hours there, including a mid day lite lunch.  Were disappointed that we couldn't ride the cable car, but it was just going to run us too late.   Back eastbound along the north shore for some of the most stunning scenery....mile after mile, I have ever seen.  I say it rates better than the ROK or Dingle Peninsula.  We really maxed out the "fun-meter" on this part of the Beara.  

It worked out that we were close to "Josie's Restaurant" so stopped in for some tea and scones.  This was one place that I think Michele highly recommended, and it was awesome.  Headed on to Kenmare, arriving about 5PM.  DW and G went shopping, and L and I went to a pub for a pint.

Walked over to the Supervalue (they have moved to a new store-new location 3-4 blocks north of the Tourist information office.  From our B&B about a 15 minute walk.  Needed just a few supplies for our picnic lunch on Sat, our last day in Ireland.

L & G were tired....I think we finally wore the older folks out (they're only about 7 years older than us!)smile  DW and I went to the Landsdown Arms Hotel Pub for a late evening meal.  We split a "minute steak" dinner complete with fries, onion rings, and green salad.  It was the first time I ordered a steak as a main entree in Ireland, and comparing it to Nebraska corn-fed beef....it was quite good!  Also split a piece of banafi pie....all washed down with a pint of Guinness.  Since there was no music to be found in Kenmare on a Friday night in April, we turned in early, about 9:30.

Dan 



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Sat April 9

Left Kenmare at 9AM after another great breakfast at Virginia's.  Headed northbound stopping at Mol's Gap.  We took in the breath-taking scenery, a great photo op.  Next stop; Lady' View.  Again great scenery and more pictures taken,  and then headed on toward Kilarney.  We went around the west side ring road onto the N22 northeast to Farranfore, N23 NE to Castleisland, then N21 North to Abbeyfeale.  Made a brief stop here to get some $'s changed to Euros....tried 2 banks...both closed... then it dawned on me that it was Satsmile  Opted for an ATM to get enough cash for our last night at a B&B.

On north to Glin on the R524.  This little village was on the banks of the Shannon River, and we located a small cafe for coffee.  Noticed a sign for Glin Castle.  Asked the owner of the cafe if it was open for tours.  He assured us it was.  So drove the short distance, and soon come to realize that it was not open to the public...I think it is privately owned.  The castle grounds were beautiful, and we could see a huge park-like garden in the back.  Nothing posted about "NOT"walking around the grounds, so we wandered to the back.  A small energetic dog came out of nowhere, and we spent about 15 minutes entertaining each other, the overly friendly dog making its rounds almost continually among all 4 of us.  Finally an Oriental lady came out one of the rear doors.  She spoke broken English, but did not seem upset we were there, just glad to get her dog back!

We then headed East towards the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.   Since L and I are both pilots, we couldn't miss this!  It was a bit of a let down...it was a mock-up of a flying boat instead of the real thing.  We are use to the quality of aircraft on display in the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle, and were hoping for an actual aircraft rather than a mock-up.  We did enjoy the stop...some of the interactive flight simulators were fun to try.  Took pictures of everyone in the "pilot's" seat, had a cup of Irish coffee (It was invented right there) and then headed toward Limerick/Shannon Tunnel.  Started looking for a picnic spot, and finally found a wide parking area next to a cemetary about 5 miles west of Limerick.  No picnic table, so we had a tailgate party!  We managed to get rid of most of the misc. lunch supplies on our last full day in Ireland.

Went on towards the tunnel....stopped at a Petro Station to get exact change for the toll....in case it was unattended.  It did have manned booths, and was a breeze to cross the Shannon in this fashion, rather than go thru Limerick, which I have heard can be a challenge.

Arrived at Bunratty Lodge at 5:00PM and Mary immediately served us tea and crumpets.  She is such a friendly, gracious hostess, and we took an immediate liking to her....and she to us....since in the course of the conversation, we mentioned Michele from Irelandyes!  It was the first time that I had a real good wifi connection for my iphone, so attempted to make a post on this forum....don't remember now if it was successful, or not. 

Rested, relaxed, repacked our luggage and carryon bags with gift items...had 7 "Murphy" pint glasses to wrap and secure!  Finally got what we really wanted, but took 3 trips to Ireland to do so!

Decided to head down to Durty Nellies.  Had  bowls of soup/chowder and our last pint of Guinness.   By the time I got done eating, I had developed a sore throat, cough, and by the time we got back to the B&B, I had continual sneezing and runny nose, and a full blown head cold developing.  I didn't sleep very well that night due to congestion and discomfort.  Ironically, the same thing happened to me at the end of our 1st trip to Ireland, although it all started about the time we boarded the plane in London for our flight to Chicago.

Sunday April 10----one of the most nerve wracking travel days...ever for DW and I! and esp for L&G!

Wake up call was 6:30 AM and  we packed the luggage into the car, and returned for Mary's yummy breakfast.  DW had french toast....really good, and I had a scramble on toast along with bacon, sausage, potatos, OJ, and porriage; which was a first for me....because she offered it with bananas and  "Baily's"  yummy!

Managed to eat breakfast,  a quick 10 minute ride to SNN...and still arrive about 8:30 AM.  Turned in our rental car....no hassle....no extra charges on the final contract that I signed.

Had been through the SNN process a couple of years ago with pre-clearance an all...pretty painless....or so we thought it was going to be.

We went to Irish security, we went in 1 line, and L&G went to the other.  We had  all checked our 22" roller bags at the Delta counter, because we now had too many for all to go as carry-on.  DW and I got through just fine, but L got pulled out of line, and they were going thru his carry on duffle bag.  G was standing there....looking worried...shrugging her shoulders when we mouthed:  what's going on?  There was a very intense search going on involving L's bag....and we waited quite a while.  Finally G came over, and said they had found a square shank spike (used on wooden wagon wheels) and a real shocker....three 22 caliber bullets in L's bag, all the way down in the bottom, all 4 items hidden by a frayed seam in the bottom corner....it showed up on Irish scanning machine, and the agents had all of  these items in their plastic gloved hand when we walked over....they waved us away, and then took L & G into a separate area to inspect their other carry on, as well as the checked luggage which they were in the process of intercepting.  When we got to the US clearance area, we got to view a picture of our checked luggage on the computer screen, and was asked to verify that it was indeed our luggage..it was.  We were worried now that we would be subjected to further searches, since the agents knew by this time that we were all traveling together.  We were told to go to the end of the wall, and around the corner and wait there for L&G who would be coming out a rear door (we hoped!)

Now I have known L for over 12 years, and we had become close friends.  He is a sportsman, hunter, and gun enthusiast....owning a huge collection of them.  I kept wondering how this could have happened.  I surmised that he must have used this duffle bag to carry his guns and ammo in previously. 

We waited quite a while, and we could see our boarding gate...a ways away.  It wasn't long they announced our flight....we didn't know what to do.  We talked it over, and decided that it didn't make sense for all 4 of us to miss our flight...there wasn't a heck of a lot we could do for them in light of what was found in the duffle bag.  We made the decision to head toward boarding, took a few steps, and someone hollered at us.  We turned around, and there was L&G coming out the door we had waited by...for a time that seemed like eternity.

We made our way quickly to the boarding gate, as the lines were formed and started moving.  We were in an early boarding group, and L&G a later one.  As we were all standing in line, a security agent came over and apologized to L&G for the distress that this had caused us, and to escort them and us to the head of the line and onto the jet way. 

It was then that we learned that L had previously used this duffle bag as his hunting bag....about 3 years ago, he started using it solely as a carry-on bag for airline travel, having gotten a new duffle bag for his gun gear.  The amazing part of the whole story...is that he has used this carry-on duffle on numerous flights out of Portland OR, Seattle WA, Phoenix AZ, Orlando and Miami Florida!  He said those items HAD to be in the carryon all this time during at least a half dozen or more flights and trips through security.  It doesn't speak well of our TSA, does it?  It took Irish Security to find these items hidden deep in the corner of his bag, and covered by frayed material and not visible by looking into the bag with human eyes! 

There was no bad outcome for him....they just confiscated the 4 items.  He was not upset about losing the 22 shells, but he mumbled that the square shank wagon wheel spike cost him $4.00 at a garage sale, and was worth much more than that and were rare and hard to find!

We have laughed about the whole incident several times since returning home, but it was pretty intense at the time.

Our 11:20 AM flight departed on time (with all of us on it!) for the 6hr. 15 minute flight to JFK.  Had a 4 hour layover, and arrived back at PDX about 8:30PM.  Our friend Don, the chauffeur, was waiting for us, and we arrived home near midnight safely in the hands of a wide awake, non-jet-lagged-driver!

Up and at-em 5:30AM the next morning to get ready for a reality check...back in the classroom!

Dan

This will wrap up my trip report.  Now...can't wait to go back!  

 



-- Edited by murphy on Wednesday 29th of June 2011 12:06:38 AM

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Dan,

Thanks for completing your trip report. Sounds like a great time. Mmmmm....Lorge Chocolate! It is hard for me to pass it by. Glad you found good parking for Virginia's and breakfast sounds delish. And you found Josies! Great views, huh?

Glin Castle is currently closed and has been closed as a hotel since 2009. From 2012 it will be open for lunch, dinner and exclusive rental. The Knight of Glin has not been well, hence his wife has cut back to be able to care for him.

The Foynes Flying Boat Museum is a very small enterprise. A few years ago all they had was the museum, not even the flying boat mock-up. They are continually adding on but it takes such a small museum time. And with the recession money is not easy to come by. When comparing anything in Ireland to US standards they might not measure up. For instance aquariums. Once you have seen some of the gigantic ones in the US and elsewhere, Ireland aquariums seem rinky-dink. It is the difference between a large, rich, powerful country with Disney expectations and a small country with no Disney. But I think Ireland makes up for it in different ways.

Glad you enjoyed Mary and Bunratty Lodge. It does make a perfect stay for your last night in Ireland. So convenient to the airport. I never fail to have a good night's sleep there.

What a scare with security! Fortunately it was only bullets and everyone got on the flight okay. Strange that US TSA never caught it.

Now it's time to start planning for your next trip!!

Michele

P.S. This is the TA post mentioned about Beara. Keep in mind that the info is "gleaned" from many different sites/sources and might not be totally accurate. I don't believe the poster has actually driven the peninsula yet.



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