Dreams of Christmas

I'm dreaming of a 'Green' Christmas...

It seems so strange to have so much snow, this is the 'Emerald Isle' after all! This will be the 3rd Christmas that I have spent in Ireland and the 2 previous ones were green. So, where did all this snow come from? What happened to the gulf stream? Things that make you go hmmm....or 'meow' as the case may be.

by Kewl Black Kat

Lovely Day to Kiss the Blarney Stone

Nice day for a drive to the Blarney Castle in Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland. We managed to walk around the castle, gift shop, and grounds and even kiss the Blarney Stone before the rain came. One thing living in Ireland has taught me is to always carry my umbrella, because the weather can change here as quickly as it does in Colorado! We used to say "Just wait a few minutes and the weather will change."
To kiss the Blarney Stone I had to lay on my back hang on to the iron railings and lean backwords. Thankfully there was a nice bloke there to help. I always thought that kissing the Blarney Stone gave one the "gift of gab" but it actually bestows the gift of eloquence. That must be a nice word for blarney!


by Kewl Black Kat
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Leacanabuaile Stone Fort, Co. Kerry

Here is a picture from a distance of the Leacanabuaile Stone Fort in Co. Kerry close to Cahersiveen. It's such an amazing site. We decided not to explore but to enjoy it only from a distance.

Here is a picture of a small beach just a little farther down the road past the Leacanabuaile Stone Fort.

The roads were very narrow getting to the fort and to the beach, we even scratched the passenger side of the car with bushes as another car passed by on the one lane road. Other than that it was a lovely adventure.

by Kewl Black Kat 

Ballycarberry Castle Ruins, Co. Kerry

Ballycarberry Castle is about 3k from Cahersiveen. 

The castle stands in ruins and is being taken over by vines.

It was a beautiful and mostly sunny day when we decided to visit.

I would love to visit again to take more pictures when the tide is in.

Exploring old castle ruins is one of the things I really enjoy doing.

 It's a lovely place to visit the roads getting here are really narrow. The ruins are probably not safe for lots of climbing, even though we saw lots of people doing it. Otherwise I highly recommend Ballycarrbery Castle.

by Kewl Black Kat 

Gluten Free At Robertino's Italian Restaurant

Robertino's does indeed provide an authentic Italian experience of good food, wine and atmosphere.

I was delighted to be served gluten free bread while I waited for my secondi piatti, main course. It's one of those things that others take for granted but I have missed so much since having to give up gluten. I had the most wonderful gluten free pasta with sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper. I had a gluten free panna cotta for dessert, which I have not had since I left Italy. I must say the absolute be part of the meal was the 2004 Barolo wine, which is by far the best bottle of wine I have enjoyed since being here in Ireland and also the most expensive!

Robertino's Italian Restaurant
9 High Street
Killarney, Co. Kerry
+353 (0)64 34966
Open: 7 Days: 4:00 pm - 10:30 pm

4 Paws Up! Highly Recommended

by Kewl Black Kat

River Laune, Killorglin, Ring of Kerry

It's true, we get a lot of rain here in Ireland, it is The Emerald Isle after all. But it's really rare to have a beautiful sunny day with no wind. Somehow the wind and rain seem to go together.

Killorglin is on a hill to the south of Castlemaine Harbor and so very close to the Atlantic ocean which brings ocean breezes.

This is the first time I have seen the water in the River Laune so still with such beautiful reflections. The River Laune is famous for it's salmon fishing.

It was such a lovely and enjoyable day in beautiful Killorglin, County Kerry Ireland, home of the Puck Fair, August 10, 11 & 12. Here is a picture of Killorglin's King Puck. According to local folk lore, a stampeding herd of mountain goats alerted the towns people of the impending invasion by the Cromwellian army.

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The Manor Inn in Killorglin, Co. Kerry

The Manor Inn is literally right next door to our house, and sets right behind our back fence. I love the way the vines look in the fall when they turn such a brilliant red, they are just beautiful. On Sunday the Manor Inn has the most wonderfully delicious carvery for lunch. The first time we ate there the baked salmon was gone, so the next time we got there just as they were opening and yes, the salmon was divine!

Every time we go there they treat us so nice, going above and beyond to  make sure everything is gluten free for me. Their customer service is excellent as is the food! It has got to be the best place to eat in Killorglin and certainly the best prices!

Manor Inn and Bill's Bar and Bistro
Glenbeigh Road
Killorglin, Co. Kerry
+353 (0)66 976 1317

Highly Recommended!
4 paws up!
by Kewl Black Kat
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John Benny's Pub in Dingle

We decided to drive to the Dingle Peninsula Food & Wine Festival today. By the time we found a place to park it was raining, so we sat in the car waiting for it to stop. Then the first thing I did was step in a puddle. The wind from the ocean was blowing and my wet feet seemed to make it feel that much colder. We saw a sign in a window for tickets to the festival so we went in and guess what, all the tickets were gone. Now how is that possible when it's only the second day? Not a good sign....

So what's the best thing to do when you are wet and cold and hungry? I know let's eat! We chose John Benny's Pub. And yes we made a good choice! Not only did they have Murphy's on tap the food was delicious and gluten free! John Benny's Pub saved the day!

John Benny's Pub
Strand Street
Dingle, Co. Kerry
+353 (0)66 9151215

4 paws up

by Kewl Black Kat

Ballyseedy in Tralee

If you are out shopping in Tralee and you realize you are starving where can you get something to eat quickly that is gluten free and healthy? I know lets go to the Ballyseedy Home & Outdoor Living store in Tralee.

The Jam Cafe has gluten free foods so for the starving and hurried shopper a quick delicious meal is available. I had a delightful and very filling carrot soup, that was of course gluten free. Gluten free pastries and other sweet treats are also available.

Seancara, a Health Food store, and The Edinburgh Woollen Mill are also located inside the Ballyseedy store. It's an interesting place to shop with lots of things to see and do. Interesting growing sculptures can be found outside like the golfer below.

by Kewl Black Kat

The Strawberry Field

The Biggest Little Treat in Co. Kerry

From the magnificent iron gates to the charming restaruant to the gift shop complete with a motorcycle, this was a delightful expereience that we thoroughly enjoyed.

I had a delicious gluten-free buckwheat pancake, which here in Ireland is more like a French Crepe, with maple syrup on top. It was soooooooooooo very good! It was a very nice treat, we will return, it was definitely worth the drive.

There is also a very charming little gift shop with some very interesting gifts. Is that an old Harley? Wow! We had a grand time!

The Strawberry Field is on the Molls Gap to Sneem Road (R568) and is open all year, 7 days a week, from 11am to 6pm.

4 Paws Up!

by Kewl Black Kat

Old Church in Dromavalla

The old church in Dromavalla stands in ruins today. It was originally dedicated to St. Lawrence (Cill Lorcan), Lorcan is Lawrence in Irish. It dates back to the 15th century and was part of the Agustinain Monastery of Killagh near Milltown, which is about 4 miles away.

You can see the mountains in the distance in this picture. It was a beautiful day for getting out in the rare sunshine and taking pictures. This is within walking distance of our house.

Here is an interesting headstone we found in the cemetery. Kevin especially liked this one... 

It spoke to him, with a very clear message, "That way dumb #$%!"

by Kewl Black Kat

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Gluten Free at the Phoenix Inn

It's hard to believe I know, but I had a delightful gluten free meal at a 'Chinese' restaurant! Their fried rice is even gluten free. The chef was very knowledgeable when it came to preparing food for people with gluten and/or wheat intolerance. We enjoyed their free Prawn Crackers while our meals were being prepared. I had a delicious meal, ginger and spring onion sauce with scallops and rice. I am still amazed. And very happy, I will definitely eat there again, or maybe order take away.

Phoenix Inn
Chinese Restaurant
Mill Road, Killorglin, Co. Kerry
Tel: 066-9790917

Highly Recommended
4 paws up!

UPDATE: This restaurant is under new management, has changed the name and the menu!

by Kewl Black Kat

I've Been Pucked!

My first Puck Fair in Killorglin, Ireland 2010.

     A wild mountain goat is ceremoniously caught, probably in someone's pasture, and crowned King Puck. He is then suspended on a platform in Killorglin's town square. This does seem kind of cruel, he is up so high, and for 3 days no less. Since this was my first Puck, I really had to see what Puck was all about, so I did venture out to take a few pictures.

     A couple of weeks before Puck, the city started preparing. Big cement blocks were placed around town, new fences installed, chains and pad locks appeared where none had been before and gates were closed and locked. Businesses covered their shop windows with plywood and closed. Many local people have taken their vacations during this time.

     The day before Puck, camper trailers began appearing along the roads and streets taking over the sidewalks, parks, residential roads and green belts. Children from the campers ran wild through the streets, even climbing over the fence in our yard while their mothers parked their arses on the cement wall in front of our house oblivious to the havoc their "caravan chimps" were wrecking.

     An Irishman told us "Don't say anything to the 'Knacker' children unless you like hospital food." Good advice or not, I was now afraid.

     Roads were closed and blocked off as cows were brought into town. Ohh, so much cow shite! Yecch! Lots of noise too as local bars stayed open late into the night.

     By Friday morning, all the visitors in the town had disappeared, like magic. Now all that's left is the mess. I put a pair of tennis shoes left inside our fence out by the street, hoping the child who left them would claim them, but the street-cleaner scooped them up. Locals tell me that this was a rather lame Puck Fair, not so much going on with the economy being so bad, fewer people attended. I'm glad it was quiet in comparison to years past.

by Kewl Black Kat
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Chelsea's Gluten Free Wedding Cake

The most amazing thing about this cake is not that it's beautiful, but that it's gluten-free! This is a picture of the cake at Chelsea Clinton's wedding from ETonline.com. This cake is also helping to increase gluten-free awareness in the US. 

And did you see the pictures of Chelsea? She is absolutely radiant, such a beautiful bride.

Here in Ireland everyone seems to know what gluten is and how to prepare food without contaminating it with wheat or gluten. So, it's usually easy to eat out here. 

It's a much different story in the US, but I will save those comments for another blog.  

by Kewl Black Kat

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Gluten-Free Menu at Castle Hotel, Macroom

One of my favorite things to do is to just go for a drive and see what interesting things we can find, no agenda, no plans....this trip, however, was proving to be quite disappointing. But then we decided to stop and eat at the Castle Hotel in Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland. It was absolutely delightful. They had a wonderful gluten-free menu and I was thoroughly impressed. The food was delicious! I usually can't have soups at restaurants because they are thickened with flour, but here I had an excellent cream of mushroom soup. My main course was grilled shrimp skewers with a sweet chili sauce. I find it hard to believe and nothing short of amazing, but the gluten free menu included desserts other than ice cream! Sticky-toffee-pudding no less! mmmmmmmmmmmm........we shall return! And best of all, prices are very reasonable.

Highly Recommended!
4 paws up!

by Kewl Black Kat

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Bah Humbug - First Blog

This is the proverbial first blog. The hardest thing for me is to get started. I have long wanted to write a blog about the places I have traveled to, so this is it. I will soon be commenting on some restaurants that I have eaten at in the last couple of months.

I will also be writing about the Puck Fair in Killorglin, Ireland. So, I am including a picture of King Puck from years past.

For me, this is my first Puck, which should be interesting. Something to try at least once in your life. Or so I hear....

Whew! I've completed the first step, so now it should be easier.
More soon....

by Kewl Black Kat