We were collected at our luxury lodgings in Adare Manor, a beautiful 19th century chateau like Manor on the banks of the river Maigue in County Limerick’s gorgeous Golden Vale heartland. Yesterday was our arrival day in Ireland, landing as we did at Shannon, so having had a gentle day yesterday we were ready for the full treatment today. We were scheduled to tour Co Clare, but our driver, Patrick (by name and by Saintly nature) advised that we might visit Co. Cork instead where better weather conditions were prevailing. We put our faith in him which was easy to do and after a delicious and hearty breakfast we boarded the mini-van and headed for Cork.
There were 5 of us on board, all family, myself and my wife, my brother Anthony and our two kids. We chose Mike Ryan’s Executive Hire as having spoken to him at the outset, we knew his business was a family tours Ireland specialist. Yesterday was supposed to be a light day as Patrick put it, but somehow we seemed to achieve so much but we were all relaxed right up to when we retired to bed. So having seen Bunratty Castle and Folkpark, and the Woollen Mills there we knew we were in for a great day today.
The drive to Cork was great fun. My son took full advantage of the on-board Wi-Fi and while he found interest in his tablet, we were hanging on Patrick’s every word as he explained the history of every town we passed through. We arrived in Midleton at 11:00 for our first engagement, the Jameson’s Whiskey Tour. I had to agree with Mike, he told me on the phone that they make the best Whiskey in the world here and my only doubt is whether I like the 10 or 12 year old better! We saw what is the largest pot still in the world, its hard to fathom 31000 gallons of that stuff but we broke for lunch before I could get to the bottom of it! We dined at the nearby Farmgate Restaurant. The staff here were so friendly and saw to our every dining need. My wife is a real foodie and she was so impressed at the availability of local ingredients. With Clonakilty black pudding, smoked salmon from Cobh and Mussels from Bantry bay we could taste the freshness. The local craft brewery scene in Ireland is really going strong and Patrick recommended a couple of favourites, a local one from the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork, Rebel Red, and another from Dungarvan called Helvic Head.
Fed and watered we boarded our bus and made way to nearby Cobh. This heritage town was very curious with wonderful architecture and streetscapes all around. The town seems to slope down to its harbour where you can look across to the nearby island and see the Irish Naval Base. We couldn’t quite fit that in but we had time to venture into the Titanic Centre where we learned all about the experiences of the Irish who boarded the Titanic from Cobh on what turned out to be its maiden and sadly, last voyage.
Onwards to Cork City, the ladies among us had more than earned their retail therapy by now. Patrick said he knew of an indoor market, well it turned out to be the most amazing market we could have imagined. We got handmade chocolates, my daughter bought two dresses and above all we just soaked up the atmosphere which was friendly and everyone had a smile on their face and were quick with a joke. The ‘English market’ is right in the Central Business District’ so everything else was real close. We wandered about some of the lovely streets. We saw Limerick yesterday and had a quick look at King Johns Castle and the Medieval quarter there, this was different again and it was refreshing to see that Irish cities retain their uniqueness. There was music aplenty on the streets and for the toss of a buck I got a baritone rendition of Danny Boy, what a memory.
We could have stayed there all day and night time too probably but Patrick wanted to make sure he made good on his word of ensuring everyone got something from the day, that’s what you get when you book a Chauffeur Tours Ireland vacation with Executive Hire! We made the short ride over to the Sundayswell part of town, passing University College Cork on our way to the Cork City Gaol. This magnificent early 19th century sandstone structure was state of the art in its day when it started out life for city offenders and later became a female detention centre ( I think Patrick gave us all the history before we even got there!). We got some great photos in the picturesque grounds as well as inside the prison. As we wandered around outside I said to Patrick that I really enjoyed that beer he recommended earlier at the restaurant. He looked at his watch and said ‘Do you know what?’ You guessed it Patrick by name and Patrick by nature. We had time to visit the nearby Franciscan Well Brewery for a pint and a catch up on the amazing day of experiences we all shared. The banter continued on the ride home. We got back to Adare manor in good time to relax and freshen up for our evening meal. We all had a glow on our faces as we contemplated a whole week of these experiences ahead of us. Sure enough the weather was turning in our favour again and the next day would bring us to the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, a wild Atlantic Coastal scenic drive, Neolithic Dolmen Graves and a knockout seafood lunch. The list is endless everyday!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading what a typical day on our Chauffeur Tours Ireland vacations are like. We can suggest an itinerary, but we work around what you and your family or small group tour want. Our private driver travel guides are the making of your experience and you can read independent reviews on our Chauffeur Tours Ireland reviews page. Till next time,