Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Better Butter

There are so many things to love about Ireland. The people are incredibly friendly, the scenery is amazing, and there are more things to see and do than we could possibly manage in our short stay here. But there is one thing in particular that stands out, and that's the butter. You might be tempted to think I'm exaggerating, but trust me, I'm not. 
Even before you taste it you know there is going to be something different about it. The colour is a deep, deep yellow instead of the pathetically pale stuff we get in Canada. The real treat is when you spread it over your morning toast (gluten-free in my case), and have your first bite. I love this stuff so much that every morning my ratio of butter to bread keeps increasing. Soon I'll be abandoning the bread completely and eating the butter straight out of the foil packets it comes served in. I would love to hear your thoughts about why the butter is so much better here. I'm guessing it's to do with the grass, but then again dairy cows eat grass in Canada as well, so maybe it's something else. What I do know is I wish I could take home pounds of the stuff as a souvenir.
My final two days with my English friends John and Gill seemed to fly by. We went to Blarney Castle, which turned out to be a surprisingly weird experience. I have to confess to a bit of tourist's ignorance, as I hadn't realized the Blarney Stone was in the castle. I had this vision of it being a rock somewhere in the middle of a field. There were hoards of tourists at the castle thanks to a couple tour buses that had just arrived. It was fun to see that a group of local knitters had done some yarn bombing!

We got in a queue at the bottom of the castle, and it slowly moved its way up the skinny circular stairs leading to the top. When you finally arrive at the top you watch as people are quickly placed on their backs, shoved under the stone (it is on the bottom of an open place in the castle wall, which has iron bars under it to keep you from falling through), and sort of lifted up so you can kiss the stone. All of this happens in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken you to read it. There is an automatic camera set up to record the moments, with the photos available down in the castle gift shop for quite a hefty sum. And no, I didn't kiss the stone. 
Our travels took us by several interesting ancient ruins. 
The scenery continued to be impressive. As we drove along the Ring of Kerry we came to a sign saying there was a short walk to a viewpoint for the most spectacular cliffs along the way. They were right! 
And of course, there have been some sheep. I especially liked this one. She's wearing my shade of blue.
That's all for now. My next update should be from somewhere on our walk along the Kerry Way!


22 comments:

  1. It all looks so green and delightful Kristie. The old ruins and the cliffs are stunning - can't wait to go to the Ring of Kerry myself :) Enjoy the walk - I'm now humming the old song the Kerry Dance which I leant at school...

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  2. Not sure that I would want to kiss the stone either, but it is a great legend, Stunning views. I totally agree with the on the butter it has a distinct taste. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

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  3. Irish butter is always available here as well, so I think it must be quite famous. Probably the cows have been blessed by leprachauns. I had no idea it was so tricky to kiss the Blarney stone. Makes me wonder if someone is having a laugh somewhere. Gorgeous scenery and stunning countryside. I really love your photo of the ruin above the sea, wonderful. And those cliffs - spectacular. I bet the wildlife is fantastic. Glad you're having such a good time. I'm tempted to go and buy some Irish butter now to see what all the fuss is about! CJ xx

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  4. My 92 year old aunt who sadly passed away last year reckoned that if you couldn't see your teeth marks in the butter on a piece of toast, it obviously didn't have enough of it on there in the first place. Considering she was never ill, looked after herself right to the end, I think butter should be given on prescription. Irish butter is very nice indeed, glad your'e enjoying it!

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  5. I love love love Ireland, especially the Ring of Kerry, time for a visit me thinks. Enjoy

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  6. Our local English tea shop is run by an Irishman. The next time I see him I'll ask him about the butter. When we were in Vermont last week I noticed that the butter was tastier there than the organic butter I buy down this way in the mid-atlantic.

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  7. Such beauty. The ruins are so interesting. Hope you find some more. I don't know anything about the butter, but I am glad you are enjoying it. Thanks again for sharing.

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  8. It looks like you're having a great trip! I'd love to get to Ireland someday. For now, I'll probably pick up some Kerrygold butter next time I go shopping.

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  9. Like you, I went to the top of Blarney Castle. I intended to kiss the stone but changed my mind when I saw how it was done and how much it cost. If you can find some real Irish ice cream, I think you will like it. Their potato crisps (Tayto) are also something we look forward to on our visits.

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  10. All about the butter, hey? I do think it is the little things when we travel that make it really interesting!
    Beautiful scenery, but then I expected that of Ireland.

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  11. The Ring of Kerry shot is stunning...I have been up there 2x in flying wind, gusting shrouds of mist *(just like in the story books) but that shot is clear and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your visit.

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  12. I would certainly try to bring butter home.

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  13. Is the butter you get in Canada unsalted? The unsalted butters here are paler in colour. That viewpoint of the cliffs was impressive. Hope the rain clears before you start your walk. Sarah x

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  14. I sometimes leave out the toast and have a tiny sliver of butter. I have not tried Irish butter but I do like the Scottish variety we get here. Maybe Irish butter tastes better because you are on holidays? Apparently grass fed cows produce better tasting butter (so a quick google search tells me) but I still don't know why. In any case, have a wonderful time! x

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  15. I buy Irish butter once in a great while. It's very expensive but it is better, I agree. I wonder if it could be that the cream is a little fermented? I think that's what they do with some other European butters, giving them a richer flavor. I love butter, even the lower-quality stuff I typically buy. If it were in any way acceptable or healthy, I'd just eat straight butter every day.

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  16. I think you can buy Kerrygold butter at Costcos in the States...I've heard its really good because the cows are grass-fed, so maybe Canadian cows are usually grain-fed?
    Are you going to the Dingle peninsula? Its so beautiful out there...

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  17. I have a thing about French butter – maybe butters from other countries just taste better because they're different to our everyday butter. Glad you're having such a fab holiday. Those yarn-bombed tree trunks are great.

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  18. Butter in New Zealand is like that, nice and yellow and tastes good by itself on toast; it's also great for frying food in too. It's not like that cos it's away from home either as I live in NZ and always have!

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  19. So awesome!!!!! I love your pictures :)

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  20. I've been offline so much I've been missing your Irish adventures. Lovely to catch up with you. I hope that this year's Irish walk is a lot less windy than last years Welsh one :o)

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  21. So beautiful! I would have sworn my grandmother kissed the stone, but I know she could never have afforded making a trip to the land of her ancestors.
    I made a mistake. I saw Irish butter in the grocery store and bought. I was not that good, no different from the regular US butter. So disappointed.

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  22. Hi, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I am a knitter and a walker also and I live quite near you in Yarrow, maybe I'll run into you sometime at Teapot Hill. The cows in our area are usually kept inside and fed corn and grass silage and grain feed, organic dairy farmers are required to put their cows out on pasture though so maybe organic butter is better?
    shelly

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