With all the excitement of the marathon (thanks so much for your congratulations!), I nearly forgot about my unfinished Ireland posts. After Dublin and surrounds, we drove south to spend one night in Kilkenny and another in Cork. Both are reasonably major towns in south-east Ireland, although Kilkenny is much smaller than Cork (~25,000 people versus 120,000).
Kilkenny is distinguished by a large castle and an attractive riverside setting. It is easy to walk around and we spent our time in the town by visiting the castle and climbing the round tower of St Canice's Cathedral.
|Kilkenny castle (rear view)|
There are numerous round towers around Ireland but only two of them can be climbed. It was Mr Bite who determined that the Kilkenny tower was one of them, and having realised that, we thought we should avail ourselves of the opportunity. The tower is closed if the weather is poor, but luckily we visited on a fair day.
|Round tower at St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny|
There is some uncertaintly over the purpose of Irish round towers. They may have been used as bell towers, or places of refuge, or both. They are certainly narrow within and steep to climb. It was a relief to emerge at the top.
The views over Kilkenny were enjoyable, although perhaps not stunning, and for the small entry fee it was a very worthwhile - and novel - activity to take in.
|Views over Kilkenny|
Cork was our next stop after Kilkenny and we had relatively little time in the town itself. We were, however, pleased to be presented with a welcome afternoon tea when we arrived at Garnish House, our B&B accommodation for the night. As we weren't in Cork for long, we'd picked Garnish House for its low cost, which made it a particular surprise to receive the free spread of traditional Irish fare. Mr Bite availed himself of the non-vegan scones and chocolate cake, while I enjoyed Irish soda bread and copious amounts of tea.
Cork itself is an attractive town bound by water, with colourful riverside buildings and a well equipped town centre. We really didn't do it justice on our visit, but enjoyed wandering the centre as the sun started to set.
Common to Dublin, Kilkenny and Cork (and a few other locations) was Eddie Rocket's diner, an Irish franchise focusing on American-style food. We didn't visit the Cork location (it would have been our third consecutive night eating in the chain, which seemed a bit much!) but greatly enjoyed our meals at the Dublin and Kilkenny stores. They are set up as 1950s style diners, and while the menu features traditional burgers and fries, they also have a range of interesting salads and a veggie burger option.
|Eddie Rocket's diner, Kilkenny|
In Dublin, I had the veggie burger patty with salad, slightly customised to make the meal vegan. I really liked the patty but was a little disappointed with this salad, as it proved to be just lettuce and onion! There were meant to be tomatoes and pickles as well but they didn't make it into my meal. The honey mustard dressing on the side (dairy and egg free but not strictly vegan due to the honey) was tasty at least, although I don't tend to use much dressing on my salads.
Mr Bite fared better that night with a bun clad version of the veggie burger. He rated it a 10/10, which says it all!
In Kilkenny, Mr B had a beef burger and it scored another 10/10. I had the "veggie variety salad", which features green leaves, broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrot, walnuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and apple. A vinaigrette dressing finishes the dish off and it was really delicious, and a great burst of whole foods midway through the holiday. It definitely made up for the sub-par salad the night before.
|Veggie variety salad|
Whilst Eddie Rocket's isn't a typical vegan-friendly eatery, it offered a surprisingly diverse menu and they publish all of their allergen information online, as well as having details within the restaurants. I found the staff were very helpful in accommodating my requests to adapt dishes. The only downside is that they don't (yet) have a London store for us to continue visiting now!
Eddie Rocket's is an Irish franchise with a few international locations. Details are at http://www.eddierockets.ie/ .
Have you been pleasantly surprised by any restaurants / menus lately?