After the blitz of activity viewers were served up during the first instalment of ITV's James Nesbitt's Ireland, Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt seeks out the cool calm of the west of Ireland in episode two. Never one to shy from a challenge, Nesbitt even mucks in on the farm! It’s no surprise the laidback lifestyle of the west of Ireland appeals to the Antrim actor Nesbitt. The fast-paced life in London can take its toll, never mind acting under the eyes of the world in Peter Jackson's blockbusting Hollywood trilogyThe Hobbit.
But there's good news for our actor-turned-presenter, Nothern Ireland man, James Nesbitt. You see, out in the west the people have struck the perfect balance between work and life. It looks like James Nesbitt has found just the place to slow down.
And if you begin to see similarities between Ireland's west and The Shire, don't be surprised. Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author, JRR Tolkien was a fan of this part of the world. It even informed some of his most famous books.
In episode two Nesbitt travels to County Clare, home to one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions: The Cliffs of Moher. Like James Nesbitt, the Cliffs of Moher have featured in a Hollywood Blockbuster. Do you remember The Cave scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? That was the Cliffs of Moher right there. While in County Clare, James Nesbitt also hooks up with Irish surfing champ John McCarthy who runs a local surf school. John combines his passion with his job and tells Nesbitt why life by the ocean can’t be beat.
A taste of the west
Back on dry land, the Jekyll star visits Connemara in County Galway. If ever there was a place that resembles The Shire from The Hobbit, this is it. Low stonewalls and thatched cottages dot the land. Lakes are dappled like pebbles and Killary fjord snakes its way inland with an elegant curve. If picture postcards took holidays, they'd come here.
While in Connemara, James Nesbitt meets Graham Roberts, owner of the Connemara Smokehouse. Another man who has combined work and passion, Graham tells Nesbitt “I’m very content around here between work and home. I’ll never be wealthy doing what I do but if I can live in a place like this doing something that I enjoy – absolutely brilliant.”
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The good life
From Connemara James Nesbitt travels to County Cork. Here, Nesbitt gets a taste of the good life with the hosts and proprietors of the sumptuous Ballyvolane House, the Green family. As well as running Ballyvolane as unique accommodation, Jenny and Justin Green grow all their own vegetables on the grounds. This time, James earns his keep when he tries his hand at tagging the ears of some cranky pigs. “They say never work with children or animals but these are rare breed saddlebacks so I’m hoping they’re a bit more refined”, he says. You’ll have to wait and see how he fares.
Here, piggy piggy
Post pig tagging, The Way star (Nesbitt starred with Martin Sheen in Emilio Estevez's film about the Santiago De Compostella) manages to slip some luxury into his trip by visiting the resplendent county house, Ballyvolane. Host and proprietor Justin Green takes Nesbitt for a spot of fly-fishing on Ballyvolane's private slice of Blackwater River before his visit comes to an end with a rhubarb martini. Where do they get the rhubarb? They grow it on the grounds themselves, of course.
And so, in the protection of a cocktail and the Cork countryside, another adventure comes to an end with another part of Ireland discovered.
Where to next for Nesbitt? Wait and see.
The next episode of James Nesbitt’s Ireland will be transmitted on ITV on Monday 1st of April at 8pm.
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