Friday, June 26, 2015

Ireland: Day Two

First thing on our itinerary on our second day in Ireland was Ightermurragh Castle.  This is not one of the well-publicized castles of Ireland.  In fact, the only way I found it was through plotting all the registered castles of Ireland (there's A LOT) on a Google Map and noticing that it was on our way from Waterford to Cork, which was our final destination that day.

On the way to Ightermurragh, we got our first glimpse of the Irish Coast and it was breathtaking.  Although, later views along the Ring of Kerry would blow these views out of the water (no pun intended...), but that's a blog post for another day.


After a brief stop along the coast for some coffee and picture taking, we continued on our way.  Now, Ightermurragh is near Ladysbridge in Co. Cork and is in the middle of a field.  No signs or anything point the way.  We had some general directions based on a blog post I found, but it was still very difficult to find.  We could see it from the road and eventually turned off to park next to a fence that had a well-worn sign mentioning something about a gun club next to it.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about jumping that fence, so I made Chris drive back into Ladysbridge and ask a gas station attendant if he knew whether or not we would be trespassing.  Chris could barely make out words through the nice gentleman's thick Irish accent, but he determined that the man's nodding and excitement at the mention of Ightermurragh meant we could go there.

So go we did, and it was spectacular.  The path there was overgrown and covered with nettles (which we would become much more familiar with in the days to come), but beautiful and so incredibly green.

The path to Ightermurragh Castle

When we got our first view of the castle, we both just stood there in awe.  It's pretty small as castles go and certainly not the oldest we visited (it was built in 1642), but something about the fact that it was just there in the middle of nowhere and that we had it all to ourselves was magical.

Last view of Ightermurragh Castle

Chris and I spent about two and half hours at Ightermurragh taking a ridiculous amount of photographs.  The interior is overgrown and rich with beauty (except for the copious amounts of graffiti, which made me endlessly irritated).  It was difficult to only pick one picture of the interior to show you!

Abandoned but beautiful...

We finally dragged ourselves away from the castle and trekked back to our car (which we were fervently praying would still be was).

The path back from Ightermurragh Castle

Next on our itinerary was lunch in Cork and then to Blarney Castle.  However, on our way to Cork we passed by signs for the Old Jameson Distillery in Midleton.  We made a last minute decision to abandon the itinerary for the day to go tour the Distillery.

Water Wheel at the Old Jameson Distillery

Our guide on the Distillery tour was an amazing, bubbly, and fun man.  I had no knowledge of the distillation process prior to the tour, and I couldn't recommend it more highly if you're ever passing by Midleton.

That's a lovely site...

We got our "free" whiskey at the bar there in the distillery, had some lunch (fish and chips!), and then headed off to Cork and our hotel in Blarney.


We performed what would become our daily ritual of having a beer in our room while freshening up and calling our parents to let them know we were still alive.  Then, off we went for a night out in the city of Cork, where we did a bit of pub-hopping and met some very lively gentleman who we talked with until the pub we were at closed down at around 1 in the morning.  Day Two: Success!


Like the pictures?  Want to see more?  There are loads posted to my Flickr photostream, but to see what I consider the best of them go straight to my Best of Ireland 2015 album.  I'm adding more every week!

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