brittadotcom (brittadotcom) wrote,

Blarney Castle, Whiskey & 3 Choirs in Bandon

Bright & early again on the bus all packed for Blarney Castle! It was a gray day so I didn't worry about too many castle photos, since I'd seen Blarney Castle & kissed the stone in sunshine 4 years ago. However they did have a new Poison Garden, so I took a lot of photos for Halloween potions inspiration. We got there after a cruise group, so there was already a 45-minute line even to get up the staircase, let alone kiss the Blarney Stone, so most people gave up on that idea and toured the gardens & outside the castle. Only an hour later we were back on the bus, driving to the Old Middleton Distillery.

Old Middleton Distillery is the production location for Jameson whiskey before sending to Dublin for bottling, where it was made until 1975, but now they have a modern distillery next door. Very cool to see the old equipment they used to produce the whiskey, and hear the differences between Irish whiskey & Scotch whisky. Since I've been drinking Jameson the past few nights, I volunteered to be one of the whiskey tasters at the end of the tour. They gave us Johnny Walker Black as the twice-distilled scotch, Jack Daniels as the single-distilled American whiskey, and of course Jameson as the triple-distilled. The scotch was definitely smoky but much harsher on my throat than the Jameson. I didn't really mind the JD but I still liked the Jameson better. On the tour we had found out they age Jameson in used barrels, like from port, rum, sherry & of course Cyd & I were trying to find out which whiskeys were aged in port casks! In the gift shop we found the 12-year special reserve aged in sherry casks, so we bought a mini-set that included that plus the Crested Ten I had at the bar the night before...can't wait to taste that!

We only had a little time to drop off our luggage at our hotel in Cork before an attempt at 4:30pm dinner before getting back on the bus to Bandon through traffic for the joint concert. There were two choirs also performing first, The Carrigaline Singers and the Cork Garda Male Voice Choir of active & retired policemen. They were both good & fun to watch, and it was a pretty full house with donations going to support pipe organ repairs for the church. The Carrigaline Singers joined us at the end of the concert for Dulaman & the Irish Blessing song, definitely a highlight of this trip!

We chatted with the other singers & the audience for quite awhile afterwards, so long that the main road was closed for construction, so we had to take the long way back to the hotel, arriving about 11:30. Cyd had found Guinness, Murphy's and Beamish, 3 Irish stouts, all on tap at the hotel bar, so she had a taste test, still liking Guinness the best. The convenience store across the street was still open, so pre-made sandwiches were the late dinner for those who stayed up, but the bar closed at 12:30 and kicked us out into the lobby. Cyd & I were the last to go upstairs around 1am, so a relatively early night this time. We leave Cork in the morning already for the Rock of Cashel, then Kilkenny Castle, then another concert at St Canic's Cathedral in Kilkenny!
Tags: ireland, ireland2010, travels

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