Forgot to mention, after dinner we were treated to a harp recital by Ethen, which is not how it’s spelled, but how it sounds. Ethan and Ivana are the only two staff Rory and Olivia have. The four of them do absolutely everything, from washing the boat and van, cleaning the rooms, cooking and serving three meals, plus snacks and drinks at all hours, wasking up, moving the van to where it has to be next day, etc. Rory just takes a cab back. They are fabulous. The Shannon Princess is highly recommended.
Friday, July 5
I had been feeling peaked most of this segment. First I blamed the drink, but when I quit, and the heartburn persisted, I staryed to worry. Worrying and heartburn will keep you up at night. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong, but enough to be a bother. Net, on about three hours sleep, with a ton of work piling up, I skipped the days touring, stayed back, exercised, walked, took care of business and wrote to you all.
I am told I missed a brilliant day. Rory took everyone to the hand weavers workshop, and especially to Adare Manor with its Birds of Prey. They got to put the big gloves on and hold the birds and all. Everyone seemed very happy with that.
Dinner was delicious, and served more formally than usual. We had Chilled Pea and Mint Soup, a Loganberry Granita, Baked Black Sea Bass, with a salad of Wild scallops and Mushrooms. It was my kind of salad. The garden lettuces were on the side.
We finished with local farm cheeses, chutney, Vintage Port and Oat cakes and an Eton Mess, which seemed to be a pavlova that had met with a violent attack, and lost. It was delicious. Liqueurs, and chocolate, and, alas, packing.
Saturday, July 7th
They sent us off with a full Irish breakfast, rashers, black and white pudding and all that. That sets you up, all right. We needed the Irish courage for the Irish roads. Rory got us to Shannon Airport nice and early, but, between us and Hertz, it took an awful long time to get our cars. We got on the rad around 11:30 am, I think, and by 1:00 pm, we were in Thurles, three-quarters of an hour late for the 12:15 pm, that Marilyn and John Hotard were on. We were all pretty shaken, too. I am not sure which was worse, being a driver, or being a passenger. The passengers complained more. Irish roads take some getting used to. The Arch Bar in Thurles provided a bracing lunch, though, and we got some wine, and I got some probiotics and Omeprazole. A day later, a good night’s sleep, I am feeling a lot better.
Zane Everard, our castle owner, was waiting for us, with great stories, and an amazingly beautiful castle. The Internet doesn’t even do it justice, but go there anyway www.lisheencastle.com. Scott Kendall was in the kitchen, having flown all night, and shopped all day, and he was cooking. He provided bruschetta on the patio, and braised beef with mushrooms and caramelized onions, and potato-sweet potato-roasted garlic mash. Try that sometime. It’s easy and delicious. Don’t forget the cream. Dessert was gluten-free brownies, with strawberries and cream. Hard to beat.
Some went walking, I just did a wash and sat out on the patio with Scott, and later a few others, while the clothes went around in the machines. It suited me.
Sunday, July 8th
New day, new woman. Things to do. The plan was to go to Kilkenny, but the castle needed some provisioning. We had a page and a half list, from shampoo to groceries, like yoghurt and Bailey’s, and ramekins and wine glasses. We’ll leave this castle better than we found it. Scott had actually whipped up a lovely scramble for breakfast, which we had with toast and jam and off the two of us went.
We found it all, plus two butchers, a baker and a fish monger, but none of them would be open until Monday, so we settled or a very nice Dunn’s. It was in a shopping center with a EuroStore, which we knew would be a good source of glasses, but it was closed. The folks in Dunns told us the stores would open at noon. That seemed far off at 10:30am, but we filled all the time, and then some. We went to the Euro Sore at noon, got the wine glasses, and went back to finish up at Dunn’s, where the off-license (read liquor) shop opened at 12:30pm.
In the Euro Store, there was a little kid, about three, schlepping a full basket saying “Daddy, it’s getting too heavy for me, Daddy, Daddy, I can’t hold on to it much longer, Hello, Daddy” in multiple iterations. Daddy was good at ignoring her, after about the third run, she just subsided with a quiet “Oh, God”, that sounded just like Mary O’Beachain. She doubtless learned that at home. I cracked up.
It’s fun shopping with a good-looking chef, half your age. I wondered what people thought, and was pleased as punch to be doing it. The last time I was in this situation was in New Zealand in 2016, rebuilding my computer with Michael Holt, also half my age. We had to rent a day room to get decent Internet, and you can imagine what THAT looked like. When I protested to the desk clerk, that it wasn’t, he felt obligated to add “and I’m gay as Christmas”. Scott isn’t.
I’ll close now. It smells too good in the kitchen.