Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Part 8, Bumming Around

Is it Monday ? Yes. An open day on the schedule. One van is going to Wexford and the Heritage Museum there. Another is going to see a stone circle near Limerick, a full day’s outing. Joe and Joanne in the Limerick van say they plan to find a Session for the evening, and so plan not to come back to the cottages until very late. No dropping people off here between the day outing and the evening music event.
The stone circles sound fascinating, but it’s too long a day. D and I have dinner ordered again, and we intend to be here for it. There’s no serving it tomorrow : this is our last night here.

Cottage pie on Wednesday was actually out third choice. Second was lamb chops (which have to be ordered from the butcher and thus take more than one day’s warning). First choice was rabbit pie.
We’re fans of rabbit, and haven’t seen it on any restaurant menu so far in Ireland. Yes, rabbit is in season at Croan Cottages, but it takes even more planning than ringing up the butcher. It has to be shot. That can’t take long - there’s a good half dozen plump & lazy buns in the side yard every morning. Then it has to be dressed, and hung for the rigor mortis to pass. And then it has to be cooked.

The planning is tight - our hosts are not only attending the Tall Ships, they’re spending a day on one, sailing around. So when Darrell and I received our cottage pie the other day and immediately said, how about rabbit on Monday, a whole thing got going. You can’t order fewer than 6 servings, for starters, so we started asking around, who wanted a little culinary adventure. Some said yes ! That will be different !. Some recoiled in horrer. Some declared there was Nothing on the house menu of interest (on the menu : cottage pie, venison, rabbit, lamb chops, your basic country food). Alright, stick to your sandwiches and chips.
Anyway, we had about 8 people interested and decided to order for 6 because some were just wanting a taste.
On our host’s side, wheels were put in motion. Wildlife was shot (Francis told me - there are plenty out there wherever you walk, but take a gun with you and suddenly, none.). Plans were arranged.

When this morning Joe said the van off to the stone circles wouldn’t be back for dinner, we saw all of our fellow bunny-eaters raise their hands for a spot in the van. It was tempting to join them, but we have this uncancellable plan... D and I will just have our rabbit on our own, and the others for breakfast or not at all. Two people assure me they’ll pay for their portions regardless.

It’ll be a nice, relaxing day hanging around. We’ve not been to the nearby Famine Garden, after all, and that Viewpoint Tower sign near Delaney’s Pub sounded worth a look.
So, what about this Famine Garden ? How to plant to prevent famine ? What to plant if you’re having one (plants to eat very quickly) ? A planting of edibles you’ll find all over the place, you just don’t normally think to eat them ?
None of the above. It’s a little memorial garden still not quite finished. Very calm and serene, tucked away in the middle of nowhere, County Kilkenny.

The turnoff to the lookout takes us to a neat hamlet, just a handful of houses near the foot of some hills. We don’t find the famous tower, somehow, but do find something better : a parking area and a trail head for a 2-hour walk up to the summit of the hills, complete with « megalithic tomb ». There’s even a guide for us ! The dog knows the way and every time we’re at a loss to find the next trail marker there he is, waiting. No sheep to herd today ; he’s got tourists.
It’s a pretty little hike between farms and meadows. When we get up to the crest we can see for miles. And what’s up here ? An altitude marker, of course. And the megalithic tomb. They must mean this beautiful circle of stones on the hillside looking northwest.
The others are driving for hours and hours to see a circle. We have one right here.
Satisfied with our outing, we spend the rest of the afternoon hanging around relaxing. Some knitting, some reading, some writing, some napping.
To top it off, the most wonderful rabbit stew. I go out to the garden to gather salad about 7:30, and Francis is out there uprooting a potato plant for our dinner. Now that’s some fresh food.
And wow, is it good !
Darrell has seconds, thirds, nibbles...

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