The morning in Kinsale started with our very first Irish Breakfast. And let me tell you, I am a huge supporter of Irish breakfasts. They are done right, nutritious, filling, satisfying. Just how I like my breakfast (no matter what the time of the day). At the Sunrise B&B we had toast, tea, orange juice, sausage, eggs, and bacon (but a thicker, less crispy kind of bacon then ours). It was on lovely china, and in front of the large windows that showed the open greenery surrounding us.
Went into Kinsale early (forgetting Sunday means a later then usual start) but found an open chocolate shop. We went in with the hopes of a good cup of strong coffee. The owner was an extremely interesting and friendly fellow. He had owned this shop for almost 30 years prior and it was a ceramic shop. However, with the recession here, the market vanished. He adapted and began the chocolate place. His advice, when something is no longer profitable and draining your finances to keep going, don’t linger on for 2 years longer then you should …get out.
He was a friendly guy, with round glasses, a twinkle in his eye, a sincere smile, and an understanding ear. While he made us some hot chocolate (they don’t use the fake powder here)…we all chatted. His thoughts on me teaching piano was really exciting, he shared how I could move anywhere in the world and set up a studio and have students no matter where I was, or what country I was in. I hadn’t thought of it like that…piano to me is a grounding and rooting thing. I could never leave my students, but when he puts it like that, teaching in zelie is less of a “stuck there” sort of a feel. I could be an adventurer AND a music teacher J perhaps..I already am a very little bit.
His hot chocolate he made us with 60% dark chocolate (and very hot milk to thoroughly melt it) and then drizzled melted milk chocolate on top. It is how I nearly imagine the hot chocolate on the polar express should taste.
Lyd and I did the short walk around the harbor to Fort James, thanks to a sidewalk that went alongside the busy road. At the end of the sidewalk,our parents met us and we walked up a grassy trail that took us up to where the old fort was. It was not in good condition, and was all blocked off so we could not wander around inside, but it overlooked the whole town and bay area to one side, with all the colorful buildings and boats bobbing where they were tied, with their sails tightly bound. On the other side, it overlooked where the ocean came into the inlet, as well as Fort Charles on the opposing side (which was built later, and eventually became the only fort used). From our vantage point on this hilltop we could see the low green hills rolling away from the water, interrupted only by the ever present stone walls and houses. Fort James was interesting because apparently, William Pen’s father (the father of the guy who Pennsylvania is named after) was an admiral, and the king (James as well?) gave him the fort as a thank you for his support for the King. Something along those lines. Very interesting though. The world’s history is closely linked among many lands.
Fort Charles, on the other side was a charge to get into, and while in extremely good condition and interesting, we selected to continue on.
Killarney National Park
A brief stop along the way to the park. We did not take advantage of the extensive network of trails. The tourist center/map gathering station is at the Muckross House, an old and impressive stone building that we bypassed in favor of being outside! There is also the Gate Lodge of Killarney House that we did not see, but heard is rather impressive or at least is where impressive people used to stay.
It rained most of the time we walked next to the lake here. Nevertheless, it was great to stretch our legs and be outside. The trees here feel different, and the area we were in made me think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents with their old and tangled feeling.
Found a little B&B that we stumbled across just off the main way, the Russles B&B. Dinner was basic fish and chips with the family, and then Lydia and I headed determinedly out to find somewhere interesting to have a pint and relax.
Although it was a Sunday, we found a pub, The Mighty Session, that held a collection of all kinds of people who were relaxing and also having a good time while a couple musicians played lively in the corner. The music was perfect, loud enough to have fun , but not so loud that you had to scream into the other’s ear. By the time we teetered “home” together back to the B&B, we had learned what it was to have a bit of “craic” (pronounced crack) with friends… it means to have some fun, to have a good time, to have a laugh and enjoy being around each other. This is something a fully intend to incorporate culturally once back home. I think it lends a lot into how people interact and relax over here. At least in the pub setting.