Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ireland Here I Come

(part one)  
by Mauverneen

Some months back I decided to go to Ireland. The main incentive was a travel bloggers conference and I thought why not? I needed a vacation, the conference would be a good learning experience, and I would spend several days before AND after the conference doing my own thing. It sounded perfect.

I love going new places, seeing new things, trying new food, getting no sleep, rushing from one place to another trying to fit it all in. All the fun things a vacation should be.

I anticipated this trip for months. I looked at guidebooks, researched my destinations online, and asked anyone who had been to Ireland what I should not miss. As always, I overpacked - but I am getting better at taking less of what I don't need and won't wear and although it didn't feel it, my luggage was under the weight limit. In trying to reach that goal I think my carryon weighed as much as my checked bag though.

My plan was ambitious - a bit too ambitious as it would turn out. But I still managed to cram a lot in, see most of what I intended to, and then some. So, without further introduction... Ireland, here we come!

The annoyances began immediately. My video on the plane did not work. It froze up every time I tried to view anything. (All I wanted was to watch Beauty and the Beast.) I ended up napping instead. I lost a favorite scarf upon arrival trying to locate the car rental desk which ended up not being in the terminal as advertised (well, a desk was, but agents and cars however, are not). I got a little lost right out of the airport, trying to follow a map, but it quickly dawned on me that I had a GPS! So, a little lost, but look, Malahide! I didn't think I was going to squeeze this one in but I was so close I might as well! My first Irish castle.

Malahide castle is one of the oldest in Ireland, and home to the Talbot family for 800 years. A guided tour will give you some of the history, and entrance into the walled garden. There are a couple of shops as well, including Avoca - a fine retail Irish experience! One can spend way too much time browsing in there. And spending.

Ruins and Headstones and side entrances and unusual trees 

After a brief time at Malahide, I hit the road. The toll road as it turned out. Driving on the left is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. After all, everyone else is driving on that side so it's easy to remember. Roundabouts take a bit more getting used to.

My route was from Dublin (or rather, Malahide) to Oranmore, a couple hours drive. Just outside of Galway, it is midway between Connemara to the North and the Cliffs of Moher, to the South, both of which I planned on seeing.

My hotel, Armorica, was a delight! It would be my home for three nights.  A generous parking area in the rear is something I would come to sincerely appreciate and desperately long for later on in this trip.



Sunny Breakfast Room

One of three dining areas

 Nicholas and Natasha, a young couple, just opened Armorica in March of this year. Nicholas is the chef too, and what a chef! Fresh croissants for breakfast, a surprising gourmet menu for dinner, and a nice selection of good wines. It's nice to feel spoiled right off the bat.

The name Armorica is the name given in ancient times to the land between France's Seine and Loire rivers, based on the Gaulish phrase are-mori "on/at [the] sea", made into the Gaulish place name Aremorica (*are-mor-ika ) "Place by the Sea". Perfect for this place, as it is not only by the sea but Natasha is from Dublin and Nicholas hails from Normandy, in France.

Next installment: Connemara and Kylemore Abbey

#Armorica  #malahidecastle  #castles of Ireland #gourmetdining

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