Dingle, Ireland, to Cork, Ireland.
Today was the biggest, most important day of the whole trip - my birhtday! And it was a day where Liz absolutely outdid herself!
It was an early start to the day as the air was electric with anticipation. Liz woke me with a big birthday hug and the first surprise of the day - she had somehow in the middle of the night smuggled a present for me!! and what a present - I am now the proud owner of a Nintendo Wii (if only we had a travel TV to play it on!!).
After a relaxed breakfast we took down the ten, packed the car, and said goodbye to Dingle. We hit the road and made our way to Cork. Making good time we made it to Cork just after midday, where surprise number two awaited. As we had spent just about every second together for the entire trip, I found this one quite amazing. Liz had managed to get enough time to herself to book us into a B&B right in the heart of Cork! and what a choice it turned out to be.
The Garnish B&B is probably the best accommodation I have ever stayed in. The facilities were not spectacular, but the service and the genuine friendly staff made it for me. Upon arrival, we were guided into the dining room for complimentary afternoon tea while our room was being prepared. What a spread! There was literally more food than our table could accommodate - home made scones, chocolate cake, fruit cake, danish, apple tart, just to mention a few. When you have been living predominantly on simple foods (peanut butter sandwiches), a treat like this is just what the doctor ordered!
After feeding time, and finding our room, we headed off to check out Blarney Castle. Not only was the castle an amazing place where you were free from the constraints of Health and Safety and allowed to wander almost anywhere you desired, the surrounding gardens were also amazing. After exploring the castle and the mandatory kissing of the Blarney Stone, we spent a few hours wandering around the grounds.
From here we went back to the B&B and decided to relax for a bit before heading out to check out the nightlife. Dinner time came around, and we both agreed that we had eaten enough at afternoon tea to kill a large animal, and therefore did not need anything for dinner. Instead, we decided to see if we could find a pub for a quiet drink.
First stop was the Franciscan Well Brewery, a little out of the way bar attached to a small micro-brewery, with several fine beers to sample. next we headed into the heart of town, and on a recommendation from the B&B staff, found a little back alley pub called the Mutton Lane Inn. Oozing atmosphere, we thought it rude not to stay for a guiness or 6. Happy times.