Celtic Discovery

Day 6 - March 29, 2004 - Midleton to Jameson Heritage Center to Cobh

Our day began at 7 AM. We had a light breakfast - our choosing - at the hotel buffet from a wide variety of eggs, meats, cheeses, and fruit. We had a later morning again today, leaving at 9 AM as most of our destinations are not open until 10 AM.

We traveled along the lower harbor road. This harbor is deeper for the big cargo and large cruise ships that call here. Along with the old row houses there are many new apartments and condos.

We took a small local ferry from the tiny village of Monkstown to the Great Island of Cobh (pronounced Cove). This is a huge shipping and naval area with many small islands in the harbor.

We stopped at St. Colman’s Cathedral for a bird’s eye view of the harbor and a quiet visit to the church. Going back down to the waterfront, we visited the Queenstown Story Heritage Center to learn the story of these deportees.

Some two-and-a-half million emigrants departed this port for North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It also had information about the great transatlantic liners that departed Cobh.

This was the last port of call for both the Titanic and the Lusitania, which sailed into history as two of the sea's worst tragedies. We had until 12:15 to explorer the museum, climb the narrow steep streets of the village, and take lots of photos.

We had a short ride to Barryscourt Castle where we had lunch. This is the ancient home of the Barry Family who ruled this whole area. They were tea importers and made their fortune; Barry Tea is still available and Gennie will try to find some in the shops for one of our friends.

The question came up about why liquor stores are called off license shops. DeeDee explained it was because people bought liquor and took it off premises to drink it and that is a completely different law as opposed to those regulating pubs or public houses.

Half way between Cork and Youghal is Midleton, our next stop where we visited the Jameson Heritage Center. There we learned the story of Irish whiskey in the beautifully restored old distillery buildings where it was made from 1825 until 1975.

There was a short audiovisual show, a tour and a chance to sample some of the smoky-tasting elixir. The tour took approximately 1 1/4hours. Now the main whiskey distillery of Ireland is right next door in a modern computerized plant. At the end of the tour, I was one of four people chosen to be a taste tester, sampling several Jameson whiskeys, bourbon and scotch.

Surprisingly, I chose the 12 year old Jameson Irish Whiskey over the other three and the Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch. The bourbon was not even in the running - just awful compared to the other 5.

We left the distillery at 4 PM. Along with the rest of the group, we went for a quick walking tour of the town of Carrigaline. This is a very small village, with only one small street, about 4 blocks long.

But there are two grocery stores, a post office, a bookie shop, many small specialty shops, and about ten pubs - what more could people want? We were able to drop off our laundry and then we can pick it up after 12 PM.

Tonight is a free choice for dinner so DeeDee pointed out several tiny cafes and then suggested that the grocery store had a very nice deli. We were not surprised to see many of our group shopping for a light fare of cheese, meat, rolls, and/or salad.

We ate our sandwiches, I worked on the photos for today, and we finished this log. Then at 8 PM we heard a local speaker who told us about the wine industry of Ireland (import/export).

Breakfast, Lunch - Carrigaline Court Hotel

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