Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have always been fascinated with Ireland. Like many Americans with Irish heritage, I have always wanted to visit the Four Green Fields. I finally got my wish. My brother travels a lot, but he promised to save Ireland for me(once my kids got out of college). We headed to the Emerald Isle on April 28 and spent the next 10 days exploring the country.

It is a beautiful green, lush land. But the people are even more special. "Cead Mile Failte which means one hundred thousand welcomes is taken very seriously there. Lost twice, people actually asked if we needed help. They are more patient in traffic and kinder in stores and hotels. They genuinely seem to appreciate life.

We flew into Dublin and stayed in the Temple Bar district. It is full of Irish bars, shops, restaurants and historical sights. We stayed in a B&B right in the area. Our favorite place here was the Temple Bar. We visited the Guinness factory, Jameson's, and The Book of Kells at Trinity College. They have a beautiful park in the middle of the city. No Walmart or Sears here, Dublin is full of little specialty stores

We then headed to Killarney by train. It was a holiday weekend in Ireland and the train was filled with many local travelers. The countryside was beautiful and just listenting to the the Irish accents all around us was wonderful.Killarney is a mid-sized city. They are famous for a National Park. It was willed to the city after the widow landlord died with no children. We walked the park for hours the first day. It is full of flowers, marshes, farmland, lakes, mountains and if you look closely, you can even see a castle.
The second day we were smarter, we took a jaunty car ride--driven by a Barry Fitzgerald look-a-like. Boy was he a charmer. Dan was his name. The horse was Pádraig. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. He told us stories of growing up in Killarney and some local lore.
In Killarney I found my favorite bar and my favorite restaurant. The bar was called O'Connor's. Nothing fancy, but full of Irish song, drink and blarney. I think the IRA was meeting upstairs. Gaby's was a great restaurant. Everyone told me Irish food was not the reason people visited Ireland. But, we found the food absolutely delicious. Fresh seafood like I have never tasted before.
....I have also given up on all red meat, just can't do it anymore.......May, so of course, so many baby lambs and calves.Tea is really taken seriously. Here is a cottage that offers teas and light meals. I was a coffee-holic before I left, now I can't drink it. I am addicted to tea now.

We were planning on visiting the Ring of Kerry, but it was closed for a rally. So we bused early to the seashore to Dingle. The scenery was really unbelievable beautiful. The land is covered with green fields, dotted with sheep, separated by stone fences. It does not freeze, so perennials are abundant. Temperatures range from 35 to 65. The seas are a deep blue green.

This is not out of focus. It is called the Upside Down Bridge. The water runs over the road to the sea. You actually drive on the road as the water flows across to the sea.
Dingle Bay. My favorite B&B was here. It was the Benner's Hotel. It was so charming. Full of little cubbies for reading or quiet meets. They had their own bar and restaurant. First time for tea and scones. Ohhhhh, that fresh cream. The room had a window seat. Perfect to read, look outside to the mountains, and enjoy the palm trees outside. Yes, I said palm trees. We visited the shops, drank in the bars, listened to the music, ate great seafood, meet nice people, and chased after a dolphin.

If you ever get the chance, go go go!

1 comment:

Ben said...

Beautiful summary of your trip. I had just heard someone describe a business trip over there, and I was intrigued; now after your pictures and narrative I feel the need to hop on the next Aerlingus flight!