A lunch at Manning’s Emporium

Yesterday I made the long early morning drive to Cork Airport. Leaving the house at 5.30 there was a drizzle in the air but the sea was calm. The rain started to come down more heavily on the way back and all the way from Drimoleague it hammered in great welts across the windscreen. It was not going to be a day for water sports.

So we decided to drive out past Bantry to Ballylickey and try get some lunch at Manning’s Emporium. It was probably ten years since we had been there. On that occasion we had been on a walk in Glengarriff Woods which had ended in a torrential downpour. We had stopped off in Manning’s on the way back to Bantry for lunch.

This time we would do it the other way round and take the walk after lunch. Part of the attraction of Manning’s was that I had heard about a sherry bar. Salty dry sherry on a wet day seemed like a good idea.

The three glasses of Fino sherry I had worked a treat. I drank them with plates of local cheese, charcuterie and hummus. I should have paid more attention to the naming of the cheeses but I know they included Old Smoked Gubbeen. It all came with hunks of bread, chutneys, olives, tiny gherkins and dried tomatoes. There wasn’t much left. We got into the car with a box filled with pasta, brown sauce and apple juice from the shop.

The walk in Glengarriff Woods was a wash out. We arrived to find signs warning about floods and the car park under a metre of water picnic tables just about poking out through the surface.

Fortunately we were able to find a small dry corner to park the car near Lady Bantry’s Lookout and so we hauled ourselves up there. The river was in full spate and the woods an impossible green covered in mosses and water and wet everywhere.

At the top the hills roiled with cloud.

We stopped off in Bantry on the way back to get more food and spotted Tommy picking up fish heads from the fishmongers.

Last night and this morning the rain has been Biblical. It has come in great blasts up the bay. Slacking for ten minutes or so and then reaching new heights of intensity. The streams that lay quiet and dry a few weeks ago and now spilling over and filling the bay with dirty brown water.

The water round the pier which was clear and bright is now murky and covered with the detritus brought down from the hills.

With life getting tight in the Cottage we attempted an walk but were beaten back after five minutes all soaked to the skin. Even the Bear Grylls jacket was not up to the weather.

Time for a good lunch.

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