We knew we were heading to the Rock of Cashel first, but really needed to find some breakfast (and especially coffee for A, C and P). We happened across Fethard, which is a beautiful place with a well preserved medieval wall and church. A sign for a delicatessen led us to Emily's, where I had a great bagel with cream cheese and bacon (I have never seen this combo before but it appeared several times in Ireland).
Onwards to the Rock of Cashel, which is indeed impressive, though there is a lot of renovation work going on so parts were closed off to the public.
And then another castle that tourists just can't miss - Blarney Castle. We all kissed the Blarney stone (narrowly beating a giant tour group) and then had a relaxing wander around the grounds, which are well worth spending some time in. I could've easily walked around for another hour, but the whisky-lovers in the group were raring to get to Midleton so we had to get in the car again.
To be fair, we had no idea that the Midleton distillery offered pretty much exactly the same range as the Jameson distillery in Dublin. So if you go, pick one to do - I wouldn't do both.
But one benefit is that it made a stop in Cobh possible on the way into Cork. We knew very little about the place except that it had great harbor views, so when we saw Cobh cathedral we were all a bit stunned.
After a drink on a pier to enjoy the late afternoon, we headed into Cork for dinner. A friendly couple that we asked for directions gave us a recommendation for dinner - the Cornstore. A, P and I all had duck for dinner, which we really enjoyed - the yogurt sauce on top was lovely.
Afterwards we headed to a couple of pubs that were recommended by our waitress - Bierhaus and The Franciscan Well. A got chatting to the bartenders about homebrew and it inspired him to try it out. And finally, we were off to Kinsale for our third Airbnb accommodation - this was another really great place but it was again a bit remote and difficult to find in the dark. It was sad we didn't arrive earlier, actually, as the views from the house were absolutely stunning the next morning.