Girls Weekend in County Cork, Ireland
I am so excited to share with you a complete recap of my girls weekend in County Cork, Ireland with my friends Cathriona, Dierdre, and Natalie.
These three women have made life in Ireland more fun. I was introduced to Cathriona and Dierdre through Natalie, and I met Natalie at a restaurant. She heard and recognized my American accent (I swear I was not talking that loud) and we bonded over being American women living in Wexford (there are not many of us). Additionally, I think the stars aligned when I met these women because food-focused experiences seems to be our 'thing'. Natalie is a trained chef, Dierdre sells home baked everything at a weekly food market, and Cathriona and I enjoy the hobby of baking and cooking. Remember our baking lesson we did back in March, watch it here?!
Back to the girls weekend, my trip to the States had ended, and within 72 hours of my return to Ireland I found myself on my next Irish adventure. I had to say yes to this road trip: four girls, two American, two Irish, for two days and one night in a new part of the country for me. I would be silly not to go! Plus, you know that friend who is so organized, always has a great plan and that plan is formed around the best spots for dinner or drinks? Well that’s Cathriona, and lucky for me, well all of us, she planned our entire weekend.
Our final destination in County Cork was Midleton. Midleton is home to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, and is about two hours west of Wexford. We left early on a Friday morning which placed us at our first stop just before lunch, Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Ireland.
I was so excited to explore the Ballymaloe Cookery School. The school is owned by the Allen family and the Allen family is to Ireland what Ina Garten is to America. The Allens have loads of cookbooks, restaurants, and TV shows. The school was so quant, with a lovely kitchenware shop, gardens to walk, and a food truck. As I mentioned it was not quite lunch time when we arrived, but we just had to try to the food truck. We indulged in lamb tacos and lemonade.
On to dessert, we headed down the road to the Allens’ second property, The Ballymaloe Shop. In addition to another restaurant and shop, this property also has a bed and breakfast. The girls got desserts, I was still hungry so I ate freshly made carrot soup. All were so tasty!
Next, we drove the remaining 20 minutes to Midleton. Checked in to the Midleton Park Hotel, rested, and got ready for our dinner reservation.
Dinner was at the Good Food Ireland (Traveling to Ireland? Check out the restaurants listed on this site, they’re sure to please) restaurant Farmgate, but not before drinks at the super posh bar J.J. Coppinger's. Dinner was three courses highlighting Ireland’s best: seafood and beef. For my main course I had a beautiful piece on monkfish in a light crab and mussel sauce. By the time dinner ended it was late. Time for sleep, so we would be rested for the main attraction. (Sorry, the dimly lit restaurant did not produce photos worthy of the blog :))
The Midleton Farmers Market. Every Saturday of the year farmers from all over Ireland sell their fresh produce at this market. There was so much to see and buy that it was overwhelming in the best way possible. Cathriona told me that Wexford was originally asked to host the market but declined, so Midleton was their second option. Grrrr. The market had live music, and stalls of local produce, fresh pastries, Irish cheeses, seafood, olives and hummus, fresh squeezed juices, and wood-fired pizzas. Together we gathering a little of everything to compile a picnic.
Back on the road so we could be home to spend the evening with our families. We stopped when we got hungry and enjoyed our picnic with this panoramic view as our backdrop!
Thanks for reading! I will see you next week in a post I am already excited about, hint it involves Mathew and a GoPro. Oh boy, stay tuned.