Saturday, 8 June 2013

Corks out in Cork.

We left Cahir early on Saturday 25th May, and I was able to take Dallam on a short cut via a bridge over the River Suir unfortunately but not descriptively pronounced as sewer - you can just see us in the photo....
This led to the local attraction the Swiss Cottage - an example of an ornamental cottage, probably designed by Nash.  Unfortunately it was so early that the only glimpse we had of it was through the bars of a locked gate!
After a quiet ride along some quiet and scenic small lanes, we rode from Tipperary into Limerick ......
......but there was hardly time for a quick rhyme before we came at a walk to County Cork  - three counties in a day!
A dreadful scene of scarecrow murder? .........
..........the most likely suspect apparently plays rugby for Munster scarecrows...... 

 In Mitchelstown we were luxuriously hosted by Patrick and Miriam Mulcahy in their beautiful Ballinwhillin House.  -    Video    very much recommended if you are holidaying in County Cork.
The deer were unceremoniously evicted from the field in front of the house to make way for their equine guests, who were soon head down and tucking into Irish grass......

.......while Julia and I were lavishly entertained when we joined a lively Book Club group from Dublin who were staying for the weekend.  
Patrick was delighted to find I had turned up on a Hungarian horse, as to my surprise it turned out that he owns a vineyard in Hungary, and the evening started in the wine cellar with a tasting of the delicious Hungarian wines he produces there - in Hungary that is!  Below is Patrick  extolling the virtues of his latest white - an extremely serious matter judging by the dour faces....
This was followed by a seven course meal in the splendid dining room including home reared venison and pork, and a few more corks came out of bottles as the Hungarian wine continued to flow.  I meant to take a photo, but was enjoying myself so much it completely slipped my mind.
Video of Patrick cooking venison just like we ate 
Next day it was a long trudge to our next stopover near Kanturk, but an eagerly anticipated break en route was the essential visit to the historic church in Doneraile.  The steeple on this church was the destination for the first recorded steeplechase ever run.  This was in 1752 when Mr Blake challenged his neighbour Mr O’Callaghan to race cross country from Buttevant church to Doneraile Church.  Here are Zorbee and me in front of said church, which appears to have mislaid its steeple in the intervening 250 years.

A passing Irishman was very keen to tell us that the race was actually resurrected last year, although they were unable to race right up to the church due to the golf course which now lies behind.

That evening Danny Dulohery and Michelle Fitzmaurice of Kilguilkey House provided large loose boxes for the horses in a huge former cattle shed - we were able to drive the lorry right inside.   Just as well as it poured down all night, but we were all snug under cover, together with a couple of pigs and calves.....
 Yet another dreadful scene, this time of porcine massacre? - Cork seems a very violent county .................

....actually a stash of model farmyard animals presumably used as embellishment for the cross country jumps that Danny produces on site.
Riding through the Cork countryside near Kanturk the following day, Monday May 26th.
Yet more Irish hospitality - Shaun (think I have the name right) who invited Julia and me in for a welcome cup of tea - with daughters Ellen on left, and another Megan in the middle!
 Part of the day was along the busy road between Kanturk and Newmarket, but in the late afternoon as rain began to threaten again, we followed this quiet little lane heading west.
 And here is local farmer Ger O'Leary (who kindly took the horses into his stables that evening) posing outside his house in front of an Irish rainbow.  Heidi the dog was of the lick you to death variety, and she took it upon herself to sit outside the lorry all night to guard us, no doubt tongue at the ready to assault any unwary intruder.


  1. My mother's family is from and still live just outside Mitchelstown - I used to keep my girls there before we moved to Luxembourg. In fact my youngster, Nancy, was born & reared there until I took her away!

  2. Just as well I didn't know before, or I would have been bugging you for contacts!