The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Guest post: Mary Beth on the finer things

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(Note from Kevin: I almost wrote “finger things.”)

Greetings from Ireland everyone! I am having a lovely vacation while Kevin slaves away at work all day. I am a little ashamed of how lazy I have been, but then I think… I deserve it, right? My days have been pretty much like this:

1. Wake up at 9:15 for free breakfast at the hotel
2. Enjoy breakfast and tea until around 10
3. Head back up to the room and read until I fall back asleep
4. Wake up around 12:30
5. Head into the city for misc excursions
6. Have lunch between 2 and 3
7. Head back to the hotel around 4:30
8. Order a beer at the bar before I head up to the room to wait for Kevin
9. Dinner around 7
10. Sleep around 1 (unless Sarah wakes me up at 4:30 am to tell me she’s engaged)

There are a few things I have fallen in love with here that I thought I would share with all of you. Please be forewarned… I am not a writer of Kevin’s caliber, so please no judging.

Our first pleasant surprise was our hotel, Hayfield Manor. You know how sometimes you view photos of a hotel on a website only to arrive and discover that the hotel was not as advertised? Well, this is certainly not the case here.

The garden courtyard at Hayfield Manor where you can find me sipping tea and reading a British novel just like a true fancy.

The room is perfect. The service is grand. And until an obnoxious guido-esque American tourist checked in yesterday morning, I had absolutely nothing to complain about. I’ve always wondered why it is said that Europeans can’t stand American tourists. This man is why!

I have spent a good bit of time at the “Leisure Center” where there is a beautiful indoor pool, hot tub and steam room. The spa at the hotel is very similar to Halina’s on Burnet Road, and I think I’m going to give it a try tomorrow.

Then there are all the flowers. I am a little obsessed actually. The hydrangeas grow like weeds here! They are literally on almost every street corner, driveway, park, you name it. And it’s not just those pale, pastel colored blue or pink ones you see in the grocery store. I have seen them in the richest colors. Dark blues, bright pinks and even rich purples.

Put that in your pot and grow it! No… seriously, find a way to grow it. I want some for my flowerbed.

The scenery is altogeter gorgeous. You should flip through some of the pics Kevin posted of our drive. There are grand statues along the highways. Rolling hills of the greenest grass. Winding roads with historic-looking rock walls. Even the occasional pond, water lillies and all.

And finally, the finest of all things on a truly great vacation… the food. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the cuisine in Ireland. It’s definitely not one of those places you visit solely for the cuisine, but I did my reasearch, and we have a long list of the best food I can find in our area. But it all started with that first breakfast Sunday morning. We stayed up all day on Saturday, not going to sleep until 9 or so to try to beat any jet lag. Kevin even said, “I am gonna try to make it until 10 because I can never sleep more than 8 hours.” We planned on waking up around 8 or 9 Sunday morning to head off on our drive. Then the unthinkable happened. Kevin had a Mary Beth sleep! At around 11:45 am we woke up to realize we had missed breakfast at the hotel, and we had slept much of our planned day away!

We immediately headed out driving towards the Beara Peninsula to visit a few places and decided to stop at a pub for some much needed sustenance. We learned on this first excursion that the farther into the country you drive, the harder it is to understand what anyone is saying, and I DON”T CARE that they are speaking English. It still sounds like a foreign language half the time. A young man at the pub very quickly offered us our breakfast options, only two of which we could understand: full-Irish and mini-Irish. We went with mini. This is “mini” in Ireland.

Count that people, clockwise from the tomato: ½ grilled tomato, 3 slices thick Canadian style bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 thick slice black pudding (pudding is like blood sausage), 2 links pork sausage and 1 slice of white pudding. 8 slices of toast, 2 thick slices of Irish soda bread and 2 thick slices of country white bread, butter and jam are out of frame, mind you. “Mini”… Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!! Full Irish could throw my mother instantly into cardiac arrest!

But I must admit, it was all very tasty. Except the pudding. I’m still a little to scared to try that stuff.

That evening we had room service for dinner. A fancy salad with goat’s cheese and a burger with portabello mushrooms. We even had dessert first since it had ice cream on it. Since then we’ve enjoyed the following:
Monday – fresh bread with homemade dips and steaks with creamy mash at Cornstore
Tuesday – mushroom and thyme risotto, a crab crumble and the most divine passion fruit panna cotta at Fishy Fishy Cafe in Kinsale on the harbor

This crumble was seriously nothing but huge lumps of the freshest crab with a light sauce and breadcrumbs on top. Yummy!

Wednesday – crispy chicken with wild mushroom crema and a sadly overcooked filet at Isaac’s
Thursday – Our best meal yet at Cafe Paradiso, a lovely vegetarian place right off the RIver Lee… the food smelled so yummy, we dug right in and forgot about photos. We shared a grilled haloumi starter with gingered gooseberry chutney and a broad bean, purple potato & marjoram salad. I loved tempura fried cheese and caper stuffed squash blossoms with sauteed squash, tomatoes and onions, grilled polenta all served with a light tomato broth. Kevin’s was the best, a phyllo and spinach stacked pastry served on a coriander crusher potato galette with harissa sauce and sugar snap peas. Needless to say, I’ll be heading back here for lunch.

I think I will devote a whole post to tea later on. Maybe by then I will figure out how to turn off italics. Now I am off to bed. I need rest for my lazy days.



Written by Kevin Miller

July 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm

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  1. The pictures are so pretty! They totally make up for me not having a window in my silly little office 🙂


    August 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

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