The Cork experience

Trip Start Jul 13, 2008
Trip End Jul 28, 2008

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Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Friday, July 18, 2008

Today we picked up the car and started the clockwise journey around Ireland. For the first little while the driving was pretty boring. We were on divided motorways that were no different than driving in America. The only difference was that the slow lane is the left one, and to pass you move to the right. Passing would be a good idea, only that the Nissan Micra that I rented has such a tiny engine; it is near impossible to overtake anything but a farm tractor! At least it is narrow and good on gas.

The first stop was the city of Kilkenny at around noontime. After a quick lunch we set out to visit the kilkenny Castle. The castle dates back about 500 years and was eventually sold to the Butler Family who were the local heros of the area for many years. After many years of neglect the family left it to the town in the 1930's and has since restored it. I wasn't annoyed that we had to pay 6 Euros each to view the castle, but I was very annoyed that after paying the entrance fee that I could not take photos inside the castle. Instead they would direct us to the over priced gift shop at the end to purchase items. The tour itself was quite informative and they did do a very nice job reconstructing the castle.

After the castle, and walk around the town, we headed out to the destination for the evening. We are staying at the South East end of Ireland in the city of Cork. We arrived around 5pm and found the B&B where I made reservations. After freshening up, we headed to for a quick meal in the restaurant recommended by the B&B host. The meal was horrific and I don't really want to go into to much detail, as I would have to relive it in my mind. Lets just say, everything in the place went through a deep fat fryer at some point.
It was a quiet night and there wasn't much happening in Cork. The city centre consisted of a river, a high street with some shops and some historic churches. We headed out to a couple of bars, but there wasn't much going on. One place was open but there was nobody there... After a couple of drinks we went back to the B&B.

Now, B&B's are usually a really good place to stay and they are far more cost effective than traditional hotels. However, the odd one is a total disaster. With this particular place in Cork, I lay down in bed and realize the bed is shorter than a standard bed and rock hard. Actually my feet hung off the bed by over a foot! The bedding had a musty smell and only one window opened.. and it opened very slightly. I was so annoyed that I lay there for a couple of hours not able to sleep.

At some point in the middle of the night, half asleep I look over to the window and see a face outside looking in. I screamed and jumped out of bed and the face disappears. I ran to the window and realized it was a cat looking in... embarrassed I hoped that nobody heard the noise. Luckily nobody came running. For the rest of the night I must have had two hours sleep.

In the morning, I was all prepared to rant to the B&B host, but they were so nice and full of information for our travels. Damn... a couple of years ago, I would have told them exactly what I though. I must be getting old!

Later that day I learned that the Irish government must accredit B&B's and there are standards for bedding room size etc. We should have known better... this one did not have a sign on the side of the road like the others. This B&B was considered a black market B&B according to one woman and you are really putting yourself at risk going to them. Well, lesson learned!
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