It’s always interesting as to why people travel at the times that they do. Some pack up for journeys based upon another’s schedule, such as a wedding or graduation ceremony. Some people base their decisions on the season, seeking to soak in the rays of the sun during the harsh northern winters or avoid the high prices and tourists of peak season.
Mike and I will travel for food.
Mike discovered a web page that referenced the Burren Slow Food Festival (pronounced: burn) will be held May 27 -29, 2016. At the time of his discovery and our purchasing of airline tickets, that was the only information available. Just that something cool would be occurring in the Burren.
There are a lot of leaps of faith in our travels.
Thatched Roof COTTAGE
Friday morning, we packed up and headed south from the Connemara region to Kinvara (also spelled Kinvarra), a sea port village located in the south of County Galway. Town buildings offer pops of color and promote “everything you need in life: beer, coffee and great Irish music.”
While Ireland has many cottages, the amount of thatched roof cottages are thinning due to maintainence involved, changing times. It was through AirBnB that I located an old converted barn that has maintained its thatched roof.
The horse stalls long removed and an open floor plan suite inserted. There is a small galley kitchenette, electric shower and a king bed! The comforts of home – in the barn!
Farmers’ Market & CHEESE
Luckily, our arrival in Kinvara timed up perfectly with the town’s farmers’ market. Our cottage host had left us some fresh eggs and locally made bagels in our suite and we decided to use the market to shop for something to round out our breakfast.
There were stalls for fresh veggies, crafts and, our personal favorite, Irish cheese. We spent a long time talking to the “Cheese Queen” regarding the various goudas, cheddars and a blue brie. We decided on the Crozier Blue, which is the sheep version of the famous Cashel Blue.
Note the Crozier Blue is sitting on the board with the knife. She cut into it, gave us a sample and we were done. Take our money.
Abbey Ruins and CEMETERIES
We were on the road to our main attraction for the event (more to come) when we spotted ruins and grave markers. Ireland is full of “ruins” or old stone buildings that have long been deserted by humans and taken over by flora and fauna of the region. This was a beautiful example of the sites we have seen.
Champagne Picnic & the CLIFFS OF MOHER
The kick off to the Burren Slow Food Festival weekend event, we attended the Burren Champagne Picnic under the Cliffs of Moher cruise.
This cruise to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher was an extended adventure down the 5 kilometers of Irish coastline that stretches from the city of Doolin to beneath O’Brien’s Tower standing high on the Cliffs. While onboard, we took in the spectacular sights and bird calls while sipping champagne and enjoying a smoked (hot and cold) salmon picnic.
And the salmon was some of the best I have ever had! Tender, great flavour and amaing texture — even on a boat!
Luck was with us — the water was calm and the sun appeared only long enough for us to return to the pier.
Yeah, we were that close to the Guillemots (the dark ones) and the Kittiwakes (gray gulls) on the Cliffs of Moher stack. They are tiny and look like mini penguins, but can fly. This area is also known to the largest population of Puffins — which Mike and a few of the other passengers with hawk eyesight got to see them. (More on the birds of Moher)
We arrived back at our cottage to watch the sun set over Kinvara. It was a 4 C kind of day! Okay, 5 if you count “champagne” but I didn’t want to get too crazy here!