The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
A Good Friday in Kinsale

The Route For the next week we will be based in the town of Kinsale, the red dot just south of Cork on the route map to the left. Kinsale is a harbor town and in the 17th century, controlling that harbor was the key to controlling English shipping. Because of this, two pivotal battles were fought here: in 1601 against the Spanish and in 1690 against the French. Two great forts, James and Charles, were built to combat these threats since England couldn't rule the waves without ruling Kinsale.

Today was Good Friday, the start of the 4-day Easter Week holiday in Ireland ... and it was a good Friday in Kinsale. First of all, there was no pressure to get up and go anywhere this morning. That was good. Our sleep patterns haven't quite adjusted to an 8-hour time zone shift but we're getting there. By tomorrow we should be totally in sync. Still, it was a lazy morning. As usual, Margene was immersed in her reading and I spent most of my time trying to edit photos and get caught up on two days of the daily diary. I can only hope someone out there actually reads this stuff!

Around noon we finally ventured out in search of lunch, blissfully ignorant of how Good Friday would impact the food and booze biz in Ireland. We learned about it when we tried to get a bite to eat at the Bulman Bar and discovered they were closed. The proprietor explained that the government (and the church) did not permit the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. Easter Sunday itself? No problem! Any time that government and the church are mentioned in the same sentence, it's futile to look for logic.

More good news, though. She mentioned that hotels operated under different rules, so we headed along Scilly Walk (yes, that's the name of the street!) into beautiful downtown Kinsale. The sun was out, it was a pleasant day temperature-wise and the town was hopping. We settled on the Bistro at the Blue Haven Hotel (one of the principals is a subscriber of mine). While they couldn't serve me a pint if I ordered a sandwich, they could if I ordered a main course. Go figure!

A brief ramble about town, a stop at the market and we called it a good enough Friday. We're noticing that one large meal a day does it for us when we travel so as long as there was food in the apartment for a light snack tonight, we were happy. Margene went back to her book, I finished the delinquent trip reports and all was right with the world. Maybe tomorrow we'll do a little more. Maybe not!

I should introduce you to Harbour Hill House, our temporary new home. It's a gorgeous piece of property above the River Stick, about a ten-minute drive from downtown Kinsale. Our apartment is one floor up on the right side of the house overlooking the river. The apartment is compact but offers all the amenities including a washer/dryer and one and a half baths. All in all, very civilized!

A few random shots of the day: Margene assumes her natural position in front of the Kindle; Rita (our hostess) has a coop full of chickens and ducks to provide fresh eggs for us all; the Bulman Bar who had to pass up our incredibly lucrative business today because of Good Friday rules.

We ended up having lunch at the Bistro, one of the restaurants in town owned by a group known as the Blue Haven Collective. It is really a very comfortable and nicely done space. Margene went for the scallop appetizer. They serve them (with the roe still attached) on a disk of black pudding, all on a slab of slate. Very attractive presentation. Because the restaurant is in their hotel (and because I needed to order a main course to qualify for my pint of lager!), I went for the red Thai curry with chicken. It had a nice bite to it and was just enough to hold me for the rest of the day.

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