I got to spend a wonderful 4 full days in the lovely city of Cork. Garrett had work all week, so I was left to my own devices until the evening. He has a wonderful 2 bedroom apartment right on the river, so I was never worried about becoming lost.
Garrett had told me about the English Market, so that was my first order of business. As the streets are very windy (not a lovely NYC grid), I wasn’t exactly sure where he had told me to go. Thankfully, everyone I met in Ireland was very friendly and helpful when it came to giving directions. When I got there, I was immediately transported to cooker heaven! Everything was local, fresh, and insanely priced! All the meat was incredibly affordable and nothing looked “off” – as so often is the case in grocery stores here. [I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and there were signs exclaiming “Grass Fed!” and “Natural!” I thought it was funny that they make such a big deal (and sad that a deal must be made), when that’s the way food is EXPECTED to be in Ireland.]
The dessert cases were especially enticing, and the hardest thing I had to decide was if I wanted to make chicken, beef, or pork for dinner! I ended up going with a stuffed and rolled chicken w/ root vegetables for the first night. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never had better tasting chicken! And that’s not a statement of my cooking prowess. It makes a WORLD of difference in the flavor how the meat is raised. As animals way outnumber people in Ireland, you drive across the country and see it dotted with cows and sheep, let loose to graze the lush hillsides.
I also spent an afternoon exploring Shandon, even climbing the church tower and ringing the bells. It was a beautiful view of Cork from up there, and just think of the number of people that heard my fumbled playing of Frere Jacques and Amazing Grace 😛
It was a bit of a climb, and the higher you got, the narrower the way became. But it was cool to see the bells – I’ve never gotten that view before.
After Shandon Church, I checked out the Butter Museum (which brought to mind the film Butter – anyone see it?). It was an interesting look at the butter trade, and I found it fascinating that cattle raiding was a huge thing back in the day.