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Legendary Irish Hospitality is No Myth: Coffee and Biscuits in Kinsale

This article originally appeared in the Opinion section of Irish Central at

It was our first trip to Ireland and my wife and I were beyond excited. We planned 15 days to travel the island, focusing on the coast. Kinsale was of particular interest since my great grandmother, born in Cork, had once resided there.

We visited Dublin, Kilkenny and Waterford before heading to Kinsale, and were magically impressed with the friendliness and hospitality of the many people we had met, certainly many of those in the pubs of course.

As sailors, one thing we enjoy during our travels is to visit local yacht clubs where you can be sure to enjoy hearty food, good views and friendly people always interested in sharing their sea stories. And so it was with Kinsale, or at least so it was planned.

It was late October and a cold salty breeze came off Kinsale Harbor as we walked to the yacht club from our hotel. I knocked on the door but no answer. I waited, knocked again and looked inside the expansive glass windows and told my wife it appeared they were closed. And they were, but as we started to descend the stairs to the street a woman opened the door and called out to us.

“May I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, thank you, we are members of a yacht club in San Francisco and just wanted to visit the club and if possible, purchase a burgee and hat. Are you closed?” I replied.

“Yes, we closed last week for the season, but please come in if you like and I can get you a burgee and hat” she said as she held the door and motioned us in.

She excused herself for a moment and then quickly returned with a burgee and hat. I paid, thanked her again for her hospitality and started to move towards the door.

“Would you like some coffee and biscuits?” she asked.

“Oh, we don’t want to bother you any more than we have” my wife said.

“No bother at all! Follow me upstairs” she said with a warm smile and we did so and soon entered the main part of the club that contained many tables and chairs for dining, large stuffed chairs in a seating area with a view and a beautiful, long bar that probably had quite a few stories imbedded in it.

Soon she came out with coffee and biscuits. I tried to pay but she thought that silly of me and told me so. The three of us chatted for 15 minutes then she said “I am so sorry, this is not my only job and I have to leave to go to the other one.”

Steven Bustin

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