Remember that scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Clark is looking for his relatives’ house — number six — and when they get inside, you see that the little leaf covering the house number moves to reveal that they’re really in 16? I know they were in Germany, not Ireland, but I can see how that can happen. Easily.
Today we set out for Kinsale but KP decided we should check out Barryscourt Castle first. It was on the way and he has a thing for castles. Of course our GPS — Clare, as we’ve dubbed her — didn’t recognize it as an attraction, so we just put in a random address in Carrigtwohill (where it’s located) and crossed our fingers. In Clare’s defense, most of the places we want to go to don’t even have addresses. The address will just be the name of the place, and the town. Thanks, Ireland.
Clare got us there, almost. But she at least got us close enough to where we found some of the brown arrow signs for tourists. So we followed those. Only, there will be a sign, and then nothing after it so you’re basically left to guess the rest of the way yourself. The signs we found today literally led us in a complete circle. Then after making the circle, we found another slightly faded, slightly hidden sign pointing us the last bit of the way.
Best of all, once we finally found the castle, we learned that it was closed until June. And with that, I felt yet another similarity to another National Lampoon’s Vacation movie.
All was not lost on today, though. Kinsale more than made up for our little snafu in the morning. It is a quaint little town dotted with colorful shops and restaurants on the southwest coast of County Cork. It is apparently a popular summer holiday destination especially for boating.
We quickly ditched our car in one of the car parks as you enter town and walked around, stopping first at Desmond Castle and Wine Museum. The castle is on the smallish side and made for a quick tour. And as far as the wine museum, it is mostly dedicated to the history of the wine trade and its relevance to Ireland.
With our one obligatory “cultural” stop out of the way, we headed to Fishy Fishy. I lost count of how many people recommended eating there, and I’ll admit being apprehensive at first since it was also in our guidebook so I feared it might be super touristy. One of the women in the shops we stopped at beforehand overheard us talking about it and began raving about it. She explained that the chef there has a goal to get non-fish eaters to give it a try, but in a healthy way. She said he’s since become a bit of a local celebrity for this movement.
It’s a very ordinary-looking place and the inside is very simple, with a fish counter and rows of picnic table-style benches.
The food is simple, too, but now I get what everyone’s raving about. It’s just good! KP had the seafood chowder, which was more of a Manhattan-style clam chowder, and a warm salad of chilli seafood.
I opted for traditional fish and chips, though the fish was much lighter and more delicious than what I’m used to.
A 5K+ hike would’ve probably been good for us at that point, but we decided to leave the town center by car to go check out Charles Fort. In hindsight, we were glad we drove. The map neglects to mention that it’s a 5K uphill jaunt. And it seemed like the closer we got to the top, the foggier it became. Hence, there wasn’t a whole lot to see by time we got there, view-wise.