After a harried (it’s silage season and this is a farm after all) and enormous breakfast, we drove back over the bridge that gives the place its namesake towards the village of Kilbrittain. We pulled the car off in a small gravel lot and crossed a tiny wooden bridge to a small thicket that began a small hiking trail through the wood. We had been looking for something physical to do after being in the car all day yesterday, so this little hike seemed to foot the bill: there would be a castle (the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland), a playground, and the preserved bones of a whale.
We zigged when we should have zagged and ended up in the other side of the valley from the castle..it was just as well though because it started to rain and the wood gave us some shelter. We made it back down to the car, decided to skip Kilbrittain village, and headed into Kinsale by way of Old Head, a little spur of land that sticks out into the Celtic Sea. This would have been the closest land to the sinking Lusitania in 1915, but today it is mostly a golf course but the drive is nice.
We drove up a road and looped around again coming through a farmers tractor parking lot (maybe a little faster than we should have) and parked the car just beyond a beach to get out and take some pictures.
On the way back to the car a women flagged me down to help her; it seems her car was stuck in the uneven ground and she couldn’t get free. I started rocking the car from the front to get it free while she pushed on the door frame inside the drivers side door. So, I don’t know if the car was in gear (R), or we popped the clutch, or gravity decided to start working overtime, but as soon as we got the front tire over a hump the vehicle lurched away from me and threatened to drag the women under the tires. She had to scramble to keep up, and just as it looked like she would recover, the unevenness of the ground struck again and she tripped, her legs appearing under the door where only her feet had just been. While she held on to the drivers seat and door handle, legs flopping along the ground, I had managed to get around to the back side of the car. I dug in and managed to slow the car, somehow, enough for her to get on her feet, get in the cab and pull the parking brake. Eager to GTFO, she said she was okay and I returned to the car to find a bewildered wife (who had seen it all). The little guy was asleep.
Kinsale is a small harbour town of some importance, popular as a tourist destination for Irish as well as people like us. We toured its tiny, brightly colored streets and had coffee and a light lunch in The Milk Market Cafe. We walked along the tie ups to the playground and let the little guy stretch his legs for about an hour and half before ducking into Kitty O’Se’s pub for some beers.
The little guy eventually fell asleep in the pub, so we stuffed him into the stroller, ordered another round, and coupled it with some dinner. There are a few standard pub food items and we had yet to try the Beef & Guiness stew (pot roast) so we had that and an order of chicken wings ‘merica. Around 9 the band started playing and around 9:02 the little guy woke up. His parents were having a great time though so we ordered him some food, put him in a high chair, and told him to deal with it for a bit.
The band gave him a a shout out, but at about 1030 he was losing steam so we packed up and headed out of the pub to a mixture of supportive and questioning looks, and drove back to the farm (through a town called Ballinspittle, which is the best name for a town…we saw a fox trotting down the road in Ballinspittle…he didn’t say anything though) and racked out for the night.
The next morning after another enormous breakfast we hit the road for Dingle in County Kerry. The drive was easy, but no less scenic, and we stopped only a handful of times. Once stop in particular was on Inch Strand, which is a beach that you can drive your car on.
As we entered County Kerry, the terrain became more mountainous but the biggest change we saw that the further west we went in the Dingle Peninsula, the less and less English we saw (though apparently they are about to switch everything to dual Gaelic and English again).
Arriving in Dingle, we checked into Browne’s which is the last name of the proprietors of our B&B. We learned actually that in order to have a B&B in Ireland (which is a huge deal here) you have to have 5 rooms or less, and you must live there as well…so calling our place Browne’s is as much about saying which place it is as it is saying who lives there…anyhow, they were awesome and extremely generous with their time and things. She brought us out tea when we arrived but also brought out some toys and a few books for the little guy as well. They even let us go out back and play on their son’s playground & trampoline for a bit to give the little guy some respite from the car seat.
They also gave us some recommendations on easts in town; a place called An Canteen (Gaelic for The Canteen) which is off the beaten path and run by “two local boys”. The meal was superb and sourced from entirely local food (as most places around here seem to be) and the little guy was happy enough to sit while we enjoyed a glass of wine and a nice meal. Everywhere we have gone thus far has been very accommodating for our 3rd companion, but these guys rolled out the red carpet for him and brought out some veg for him straight away. When I was young, my parents said they had to order French fries for me first thing at a restaurant; our little guy won’t touch them, but he will crush a side of carrots and half of your €16 piece of fish thank you very much.
After dinner we headed back to Browne’s, had a cupan tae, and crashed.