This was my first bed and breakfast experience on my trip. Basically it is like staying in a hostel except you get your own room. Plus a nice breakfast.
Only 2 options for breakfast here, full Irish fry up or porridge. One of our hosts took orders, lamenting that he’d have to eat porridge again as no one was ordering it!
He was super nice and named Pat stereotypically. A discussion arose between my mom and he as to his egg poaching technique, 2 master chefs discuss strategy!
Haha the trick was he had small plastic bowls that floated in the boiling water, holding the egg’s shape. This made for perfectly shaped poached eggs.
I really cannot express how friendly and genuine the couple that ran this bnb were to us. What was very cool is how he’d volunteer information like ‘stay in today for a few more hours, it will rain.’ or ‘now’s the time to head out if you are going out, should be a dry day.’
As far as I knew we didn’t have much scheduled today. I knew my mom wanted to go shopping for a certain material, wool of some sort.
We had made it about halfway into town when suddenly it poured rain, just sheets coming down. We had to make a break for the awnings, following them for a few blocks until I spied a coffee shop.
You could tell the residents as they always carried a nice umbrella ‘ella ‘ella. If you are able to find a small umbrella, I recommend keeping one in your travel bag. You never know when it will rain but you will love having an umbrella if it does.
Can’t do much in this rain so dry out, have a coffee, enjoy the day, which is what we did.
This was for sure a ladies haunt, only saw women coming in for a cup or pastries to go.
Soon the rain ended as did our coffee’s. Time to go shopping.
There was a large corner store that we popped into. My mom was looking for crystal and wool garment as souvenir’s.
It was Wexford crystal, named after a small town in the southeast part of the island. I cannot recall the type of wool or garment my mom was also hunting for, I was just along for the ride.
Shops typically carried a scroll or other type of historical looking document that detailed the history of Irish family names, suitable for framing.
My mom lingered in the store for a while, piling up items in order to meet the frequently posted sign for ‘free shipping if you bought over 50€.’ She eventually realized the folly of doing this and put things back.
Traveling makes trinket purchases more enticing as you can tell people were you got a shamrock bell or beer glass. I also nearly bought bottle opener, even though I had several.
A bit more rain but certainly walkable, we headed towards my pick for the day, Killarney Brewery. We would just make it in time for the daily tour.
We stepped into a new, shiny brewery. I had a good feeling about this place.
A cheery guy greeted us soon and arranged us in a group of 6 I think it was, less than 10 for sure.
“How’s about a taste, yeah? Best way to start the day!” he exclaimed. He poured us all a light lager to begin with, darker beers to follow.
We introduced ourselves around, a couple from the US and Canada, eh!
Our guide lead us upstairs to a small conference room with a screen on 1 wall, chairs set in front of a projector. An image was already on the screen. No muck ups today.
The brewery had made a hilarious video about the brewery and its top-secret reciepes handed down by their ancestors. I cracked up several times.
It was a pro level quality film with special effects and many location and dress changes.
Once we had learned about their history it was time to taste it!
We sampled several beers from light lager to a dark stout like Guinness. Suddenly our host grew quiet and whispered to us, ‘do yew want ta taste something special?’ of course we do!
They had made a winter ale that wasn’t available yet but the brewers drank it. It was nice, a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Why I was even able to make a contribution to the beer discussion explaining how hops are introduced to beer at 3 stages during the brewing process.
I volunteered at a brewery and picked up a lot of basics about brewing tho I doubted I could successfully brew anything tasty. Brewing beer is hard and involves a lot, lot of cleaning. Sanitize sanitize sanitize.
It was time for the next tour so we had to leave, no more beer.
We circled back into town for more shopping. My mom was looking for something golf related for my dad, a club top if I recall correctly.
The town still has a horse and carriage waiting area just like taxis. There were probably 5 of them in this area willing to take you to a castle or through the forest close by.
We were very close to the Killarney National Park and would have walked it had the weather held up. As things were, it was on and off rain all day.
Not sure what to do, I suggested we pop in for a pint at a tiny pub. Can’t walk in the rain, not yet supper time.
There was a grandma behind the bar and a guy seated nursing a pint. Another guy was talking all sorts of nonsense but luckily his pint was nearly finished.
“Off with ye, Ned! Shoo shoo” she exclaimed while hand motions like she was fanning flames. This guy was already in the bag, not yet 5pm.
We chatted with the two there for a while, she was 3rd generation pub owner and soon held up a photo of her grandson, “Here’s 5th generation! My son will takeover, if ever I tire of pouring pints. Ha an easy task, he may never takeover!’
The man at the pub had quite a story we put together. He was from Missouri but had lived in Killarney for over 20 years. Came here for a college class and never left.
We didn’t get the whole story as he didn’t seem to have a job, though he told us each year he had to go before a local government official who would determine if he could stay or leave. Usually this was accomplished via some sort of requirement.
Up until recently, he said they just asked him for money, a reasonable sum he assured us. Now he was not only required to pay a bit, but he also had to buy into Ireland’s health insurance scheme.
The word scheme has negative connotations to me as I associate it with how can 1 person put something over on a group of people. Does seem fitting that over here it is used to describe government initiatives.
They do have island wide heath care though it seems in rural cities, they have a general doctor and work out payments in cash trade, no need for paperwork.
If only those in power in the US would realize it is better to spend tax money on people vs a new ship or plane.
We were soon joined by some people from Florida, a couple and their friend. They immediately bought everyone another round.
My mom was drinking a special Irish coffee the grandma made with heavy cream. All the best receipts use rich ingredients because they were making treats, things you’d have 1 or 2x per month. Now we have them weekly or daily.
Having never been to Florida, I learned the west coast was best, stay out of the north and Miami is a must visit city.
We were watching some sort of horse chariot race on the telly. The camera panned to the crowd. Suddenly, ‘Oh who is that he’s with now? Oh my I’ve got to ring Sharon! Oh dear hahaha,’ exclaimed the grandma. Straight out of a show you’d see on the BBC.
Sure enough the phone was engaged and calls were made. It was a hoot watching the gossip mill in action.
Perfect people to run into on a dreary day.
Having only eaten breakfast, we determined we were hungry. Plus the rain and all, what else to do?
Due to the early hour, we were seated in a very classy joint. I got a steak, Irish beef indeed! Fancy spot with napkin rings, ice in the urinals that sort of affair.
We got out of there just as the dinner rush began.
Just down the street was a corner pub and I heard music coming. Let’s investigate!
Packed pub, all seats taken, a guy with a guitar to the left just as you walked in. He was aided by an Ipad for lyrics. You could yell out a song and if he knew it, he would play it.
Pretty much everyone sang along. John Denver, traditional Irish tunes. Bob Dylan. It was wonderful singing along, connecting with strangers through music.
Truly a special memory singing with my mom in this Irish pub. How far we’d both come in our lives to be there!
The night became funny as the drunk that we’d seen earlier stumbled in with a pint. He had the most amazing loud laugh, you could hear him over the music even.
He was a riot! Apparently charming too as he entertained a couple of college age girls, mid-20s, he was well into his 70s, grey hair and mustache, permanently disheveled, black suit.
Finally persuading one of the girls to dance, he made his move shortly after a spin, in for the kiss. Success haha! The town drunk was having one for the books tonight!
The ringing in our ears carried us back to the bnb. Cool times in Killarney!
Beer: Killarney Golden Spear
Song: John Denver Take Me Home, Country Roads