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  • Day14

    Day 14 - Just a Sniffter or Two

    August 14, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    I was first up yet again & set about my daily chores, well my blog. Whilst everyone else was getting themselves ready & faffing, I had my breakfast, showered & took myself down to the river bank.

    The water level was much lower than our previous fishing excursions. I set about casting out & spinning in, catching nothing more than weeds & reeds. Eventually my spinner got stuck for good in some reeds or on a rock. I tugged & tugged until the the line could take it no more & snapped. I expertly tied on a new hook using the fancy knot I had been shown by the master, but still I failed to catch anything edible.

    At 11.00am, I returned to the cottage & we set off for Midleton. We were a bit ahead of schedule so Chris took us on a detour that brought us out at the very pretty seaside resort town of Youghal, sitting on the estuary of the River Blackwater.

    Youghal has an interesting history & has several properties of note including the Clock Gate Tower, which was used as a Prison during the 1798 Rebellion as well being a place of torture & the public gallows; the Benedictine Priory, where Oliver Cromwell resided in 1649 & Myrtle Grove, where Sir Walter Raleigh lived & grew his potatoes when he was mayor of Youghal for 2 years. Walter reputedly brought potatoes to Ireland in 1585. Of these, we only caught a glimpse of the Clock Gate Tower.

    In addition to this on the harbour front we saw the Moby Dick’s Pub. It was renamed after John Huston filmed all the outside scenes of his 1954 movie Moby Dick in Youghal that purported to be New Bedford in Massachusetts.

    After I had jumped out, to take a couple of photos & jumped back in again, we were on our way to Midleton, home of the Jameson Distillery........oh & Nellie Cashman (more about her later). It was 12.30pm, when we parked up & walked to the Distillery for our 1.00pm tour.

    On the side of the driveway were several item of interest including a very old looking train. I jumped over a fence on to the grass, ignoring the ‘Stay Off’ signs, to get a better photo. I had only just returned to the path, when some old man came rushing towards me. I was fully expecting to get a bollocking, but he said “Can I tell you an interesting fact. That train is a replica & doesn’t actually work, but you can watch a very amusing video on the internet of it in action called Jameson’s Iron Horse Ad”. I thanked him & the anorak walked off chuckling to himself.

    To be fair, I did later watch the ad on YouTube & I remember it from years back. I’m not sure if I would have described it as ‘very amusing’.

    We went in to the main foyer & shop of the distillery. I collected our tour tickets, the girls looked around the shop & then we all caught Chris, our driver, furtively knocking back a glass of Jameson Black Barrel at 60% proof & just the €100 a bottle!

    At 1.00pm our tour commenced, which Jameson have boldly labelled as the ‘Welcome to the World’s Leading Distillery Tour’. It started with a short video presentation of the history of Jameson Whiskey, then Brian our guide in his yellow fluorescent vest led us round the old distillery explaining all the different processes to how they made their whiskey. Jameson now have a huge modern distillery next door creating thousands of litres of whiskey daily.

    I won’t list all the processes, but during the one hour tour we saw a pair of platform shoes from the 19th century & the world’s largest copper Still Pot. Whiskey only becomes whiskey once it has been in a barrel for at least 3 years. It is possible to buy a barrel of 6 year old whiskey, but the starting price is €80,000.

    After the tour of the distilling process, we were taken to a tasting room, where we had three small glasses of whiskey each to sample. The first was the Irish Jameson Whiskey, which was smooth & slipped down well. The second was an unidentified Scottish Whisky, that was very smoky, so much so that Angela couldn’t neck hers! Third was an unidentified American Whiskey, that was perfumed & slightly sickly. No doubt, Jameson had got the most unpalatable Scottish & American Whisk(e)y they could find. Scandalously, there were hundreds of undrunk whiskeys left in the tasting room, but we are too classy to minesweep!

    That ended the tour, well nearly, we each had a voucher to redeem a whiskey drink from the bar. Chris & I had a whiskey, ginger ale & lime & the girls had whiskey on the rocks AND another as Jackie had found someone else’s voucher on the floor & had the barefaced cheek to redeem that as well.

    We then left before we got thrown out & went to a little cafe, Ferrit & Lee, down the road for lunch & to sober Chris up! The lunch was very good, between us we had soup & pitta, chicken salad, fish cakes & I, the pate, with wine & beer.

    Before leaving Midleton, we sought out the Nellie Cashman Monument at the other end of town. It was a random blob of rock with Nellie’s face etched into it & not overly pleasing on the eye. Nellie lived not in, but near Midleton & emigrated to America & took part in the Klondike Gold Rush In 1874. She became famous for helping the poor & establishing churches & hospitals, which got her the title ‘The Angel of the Cassiar Mountains’.

    It is fair to say that the Nellie Cashman Monument received mixed reviews from “The best experience of my life” by Meghan McDowell, although I suspect that she was supposed to be reviewing something else; to “Ugly and the woman had nothing to do with the town” by Gerald Colan-O’Leary & my my particular favourite “what even is this thing?” by ryan o mahony.

    We returned home, had the usual cup of tea, then Chris & I went fishing. After a few casts, I handed the rod over to Chris, to watch the master at work. It would probably be our last fishing excursion together, so possibly I might pick up some final tips from an expert. It was all going so well, but on the 3rd or 4th cast, Chris launched the line into a willow tree...........on our side of the river bank. After 5 minutes of savage tree surgery, Chris climbed back out of the remainder of the tree with the hook still on the line.

    Presumably, Chris felt that a change of location might bring him more luck, because instead of using the firm concrete slope, he chose to edge his way out on to a very muddy & wet part of the river bank. I was full of admiration for his persistence, clearly he had seen an opportunity that I hadn’t.

    Two or three casts later, Chris let out a yelp as he fell & rolled around in the mud. Apparently the Earth had moved for him, a clump of sod under his foot had given way OR maybe he was still drunk? Did I rush to help Chris, no, I whipped my camera out & took photos as he floundered in the mud.

    Not much later & without further incident, we returned to the Cottage, where Angela saw the funny side of Chris’ jeans being covered in mud..............eventually!

    At 6.30pm, we headed out back into Lismore to Foleys on the Mall Bar & Restaurant for a pork belly extravaganza. I ordered pork belly as a starter & the others all had the pork belly main course. The others did also have starters. For the main, I had Rebel Steak & Kidney pie & mash, which I’d considered apt & I had been banging on about wanting to have a steak & kidney pie before we left Ireland. It was all washed down with a couple of nice bottles of red.

    We returned to the house to quaff more alcohol & play a final of Logo. Angela flukily won.

    Song of the Day - Tubthumping by Chumbawamba.

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Whisky in the Jar by Thin Lizzy.
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