Bilbo brought us some much needed sunshine from Carolina!I took Sinead,Aiofe, Kevin and Bilbo on an educational tour of east Cork.Cork City is the second city of the republic and a natural harbour, which is shown on our coat of arms for the city. We celebrated our 800 years of a city charter back in 1988.It is the gateway to the west of Ireland and Kerry with an international airport and ferries to the UK and France.Cork is the largest county in Ireland and full of surprises if you leave the motorways and main roads and take the smaller roads to discover the beauty of our rugged coastline and hidden treasures.
Our first stop was Blarney castle,even though tourist numbers are down due to the recession the carpark was full and a queue had already formed to go in.The Blarney Stone is famous and has been kissed by people ranging from Sir Walter Scott to Mick Jagger!
I have put links to the places we visited if any of our readers would like further information on any of them.
Blarney is an unspoiled village and still boasts a walled in village square.On to the town of Midleton, home of the Jameson Distillery which is still producing Irish Whiskey. Bilbo is at the largest Pot Still in the world which holds 32,000 gallons.He is impressed!
In the Land of the Little People we were hard put to find any but I remembered this little cottage with gnomes and Kevin posed with Bilbo.
This is the coastal
fishing village of Guilane, you have to know where it is or else just stumble across it as there are few if any signposts!A number of thatched fishermans cottages are clustered on the hillside and some are used as holiday homes now.This one is getting a new thatch on.
Another thatched cottage,the two pheasants on the roof are made of straw.
Crocosimia grows wild along the paths and roadsides, this is up the cliff walk.
Another old cottage still in use
We went on to Cloyne, home of the famous hurler Christy Ring.Hurling is one of our national games and is played by the different counties ,culminating in a big final in Dublin in September every year.Sinead and Bilbo are dwarfed by the monument erected to his memory in front of his local hurling club.
Christy Ring's grave, no big tomb here, his final resting place is as unassuming as the great man was in real life.
The round tower is part of the village of Cloyne.These are dotted all over the country and there are various opinions as to what purpose they served many hundreds of years ago. Next stop Ballymaloe HouseThis is the home of Myrtle Allen,mother in law of Darina Allen (Tv Chef)who in turn is mother in law of Rachel Allen (TV chef), all involved with their families in producing and cooking organic food.The house is an hotel set in over 400 acres of farmland.No, Aoife is not sticking out her tongue, she is trying to master the art of blowing bubbles with a mouthful of gum!
A quick journey took us to the Ballymaloe cookery school which is world famous.There are beautiful kitchen gardens and walks and we spent the remainder of the afternoon there.The herbaceous border leading up to the shell house
The hens have free range around the gardens, all types and colours and a few cockerels too judging from the raucous crowing which could be heard.
The interior of the shell cottage, this is a chandelier made entirely from shells!
The sundial in the maze garden, Bilbo was plotting his course!
Where on the chessboard is Bilbo?
There are arches throughout the orchard with apples and pears growing up around them, all laden with fruit.
Just a sample of our day,the links provide lots of further information on the various places we visited.
Leave a comment by 1.00pm on friday if you are interested in hosting Bilbo,he will be posted off in the afternoon post.