I had an absolutely fantastic time in Ireland! I loved the people, the food, the scenery the hotels and the history!
After writing up Bob's rather pathetic golfing tales of Ireland, I realized that it would be helpful if I gave you our itinerary.
Our first two days were spent in Dublin. Sheldon enjoying his morning porridge. And, admiring the offerings at a flower stall.
Notice the bright yellow butter!! Oh, I love Irish butter!!
Here are a few of my highlights! Starting with Dublin. I love the city walks that are available in so many places. We went on an Irish Writer's Pub Crawl and a historical walk the next day. Even on our own we did well because Dublin is one of those perfectly walkable cities.
Even though Bob's taste run to haute cuisine, I like good old comfort food after a long journey. So, Bob caved in and we had a very good pub dinner - Shepherd's Pie for me and Irish Stew for Bob. The next night Bob found a restaurant that had only been open for a week! It's called Bentley's. It was so good that we made a reservation for the night before we headed back home!
On Monday morning, while Bob stood in a very long line at the car rental, I entertained myself with my Aran Cardigan! Then we headed west to Connemara!
In Connemara we stayed in a country house - Cashel House. It was love at first sight for me!! Like walking through a time portal. Lots of little sitting rooms with warm peat fireplaces. Peat fireplaces!! Floral wallpaper, lots of photos on the wall, trinkets on the little tables and the mantle, overstuffed furniture and absolute silence!
The bedrooms were equally charming! The entire experience made me think of the lives of the ladies in my beloved Jane Austen novels. I know, it's Ireland, not England, but I imagine country life would have been much the same in both countries. What a life for the women to be so isolated. No wonder they all played the piano well! Still, it must have been terribly lonely. For a vacation, it was a perfect situation. After dinner, we would sit in a sitting room with the peat fire crackling and read.
On Friday we drove to Kenmare. It was a bit difficult to appreciate the small bit of the Ring of Kerry drive between our dodging the tour buses and the bicyclists. The views as we drove to the Waterville Course and Tralee were more enjoyable thanks to the lack of traffic. We stayed at Sheen Falls Lodge just outside of Kenmare. My empathy with Jane Austen's world contined because we could actually walk to town from the lodge. I felt like Elizabeth Bennett! Sheen Falls is much more modern then the country house. It is very nice but I much preferred the shabby chic comfort of Cashel House.
By the time we got to Kenmare, the weather had deteriorated. A couple of the days it rained so hard that we were "forced" to sit around entertaining ourselves - Bob with reading and me working on my Aran Cardigan. Yes! I did finish it before it before we headed home. Well, I didn't finish the buttonband because I wanted to get the opinion of the ladies in the office. I wasn't sure if I wanted to put in buttonholes or use a clasp to close it. The vote went for leaving off buttonholes. And, I'm very glad because cardigans closed with stick pins were all over the place at Stitches Midwest. I bought one specifically for the cardiagan. I did take some video of cutting the front steek and I will edit it in the next couple of days.
It was so strange to wander in the shops filled with beautiful Aran sweaters knowing that I had my own waiting for me back in the hotel. I certainly didn't have any desire to buy one. But, the thick, colorful, tweed socks were very tempting as the temperture continued to go down each day. The linens, on the other hand, were definitely something I could justify purchasing. Practicality, and the exchange rate of the Euro, influenced my decision to buy four handkerchiefs. Well, there may have been a bit of Austen romance involved. It seems so much nicer to have a linen handkerchief in my purse than bits of Kleenex.
On Wednesday we drove back to Dublin for our last night in Ireland. Bentley's was just as good the second time! And, we got to try new desserts!!