Day 7 - Bantry & MusselsAugust 7 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C
Another slow start to the day. We had breakfast & set off for Bantry up the west coast around 10.30am. We drove to Ballydehob & missed the turning for Bantry. As a result we took the coast road to Toormoor (the scene of our desecration), then drove almost back on ourselves up the the coast to Durres.
We then picked up the N71, the road we should have been on, to Bantry. We stopped at Bantry House & Gardens, parked up & paid our slight hefty entrance fee of €11 per person. Bantry House is the private estate owned & lived in by the descendants of the Earls of Bantry, but is also now a Bed & Breakfast Hotel. It sits in a fantastic location overlooking the bay.
We started in the House, which if I’m being kind was probably spectacular in it’s day, but now looked a bit tired. We walked around the first 2 floors of the house looking at the rather strange eclectic mix of furniture & decor, plus numerous portrait paintings on the walls.
We then walked out into to Gardens at the rear of the Stately Home that were created by Richard White, the 2nd Earl of Bantry between 1800 & 1865. First stop was the Fountain & Parterre which consisted of a square of ornamental hedges surrounding a fountain. We then scaled the 100 steps, known as ‘Old Ladies Walk’ to the top of the garden, which gave us a spectacular view of the garden, the house & Bantry Bay in the distance.
We made our way back down & to the cafe for tea & cakes. We then wandered around the sunken garden, which was stuffed full of flowering plants that were attracting a healthy number of butterflies. We then headed up a path to the Walled Garden, which was so ruined that it was hard to know when we were in it. Afterwards we returned to the car & drove into Bantry town centre.
Bantry was not much to shout, about we walked around the main streets, but there was not much that attracted our attention. It was all a bit disappointing!
We continued north, passing through Ballylickey & on to the attractive coastal town of Glengariff. We parked up & pottered around the High Street. I tried to find a birthday present for Jackie, without success.
We then took a walk down a path to Blue Pool Park & the ferry. We continued to Seal Point, which was very picturesque, but alas no sign of any seals. After returning to the car, we drove back south to Ballydehob for a very late lunch or was it a very early dinner.
We selected Vincent Coughlan’s Pub & Seafood Restaurant, where Chris & Angela had a large bowl of mussels & chips, Jackie had breaded Langoustines & I had a cheeseburger. It wasn’t as it sounds, it was a breaded Camembert in a bun. This was washed down with Guinness, Murphys, wine & gin & tonic. It was a very enjoyable meal, apart from ‘chipgate’.
We arrived back home around 7.00pm & sat out in the setting sun. We could hear Mr Hegarty, our landlord, down at his little mussel factory. I couldn’t help myself & went to investigate. Mr Hegarty and 3 employees were loading up bags of mussels into his refrigerated transit van.
Mr Hegarty informed me that the mussels took approximately 2 years to grow, then they lift the beds out by crane & drive them up the road to his factory. In the little factory, he has machinery that washes the mussels, grades them & then bags them. During the process it still requires humans to sit at a conveyor belt & pick out any mussels that have been damaged.
Mr Hegarty’s mussels once loaded on the van are driven straight to Dublin for onward transit through the UK to Dover & then shipped to the France. He fears that Brexit could seriously affect his business. It was all very interesting stuff & just for good measure Mr Hegarty gave me a kilo of freshly bagged Roaringwater Mussels.
I returned to the others at the cottage & we had a very chilled evening, ending in a quick game of Logo, that incidentally I won.
Song of the Day - Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) by Squeeze
Bonus Song of the Day :-
Cockles & Mussels by Ian McCullochRead more