When I travel I like to explore my surroundings, no matter how large or small. That includes the local food establishments, so as a rule I never order room service. But as I collapsed on the bed after a hot bath when I finally arrived in Kinsale, Ireland after a 7-hour overnight flight full of turbulence followed by 7 hours on the road, I not only considered ordering room service I actually contemplated skipping dinner because I felt too tired to get up and find the room-service menu. Fortunately I managed to roll to the end of the bed and find it on the desk because the goat cheese salad and tomato basil soup I ordered was delicious.
The combination of sheer exhaustion and jet leg knocked me out for a solid 12.5 hours and my dreams of driving the Southern coast in the early morning mist were snored away. In reality, I only got up just in time to get the car back to the airport on schedule.
The bus ride back from the airport, however, dropped me in Kinsale town and I realized where I had gone wrong. I metaphorically kicked myself for not driving or training straight to the seaside village. It is absolutely adorable, quaint yet bustling and packed with restaurants, cafes and markets all featuring seafood. And if wasn’t for the information center being “out to lunch” (as if that would ever be allowed in New York) and me being unable to find a cab on my own, I may have missed enjoying this little piece of travel heaven.
Here were some of my favorites sights around town:
The harbour was packed with small sailboats.
The only place I’d seen comparably beautiful flowers was Seattle; there is something to say for wet weather.
An old hardware store covered over with vegetation.
While I find Ireland’s urban structure holds tremendous similarity to England but the color added to the building designs connects the country more to the European mainland. (It’s so much more fun than tudor!)
They love fresh markets.
And cute little butcher’s shops with old jolly Irishmen behind the counter.
Any town with an “old town square” is worth visiting, in my opinion.
Luckily our itinerary in Kinsale included dinner at a local restaurant, Cucina, where I got the chance to sample the local seafood cuisine. I ordered the ‘hot and cold seafood platter’ that included fried haddock, poached salmon with some sort of curried mayonnaise sauce that was to die for, prawns, crab meat, fried calamari, crab claws and fingerling potatoes.
That came after a starter of prawn and avocado salad and before a a dessert of blueberry cheesecake.
I left Cucina stuffed to the brim with a warm and fuzzy food buzz. (Although I guess that could have been the bottle of wine I drank with the meal – a delicious Spanish white wine that I desperately wish I could remember the name of.) This was the second delicious meal we had during our trip and there were more to come. This may be the first time I went abroad and the weight in my tummy went up more than the weight of my luggage.
My review of Kinsale’s cuisine? Two thumbs up, a round of applause and checked off as a definite return destination.