Tales from the Emerald Isle

It's true, my blogging is getting lazy: It's over ten days that we've returned from the family trip to Ireland, the 1600+ pics have been distilled down to half that, about 250 of which have ended up in an iPhoto photo book (highly commendable!) which is already here, but I still haven't blogged about the trip in any detail. Given that I don't approve of the no time excuse as a matter of principle (it's always a question of priorities), I have nothing to hide behind other than that. Yet, here's Ireland redux in pictures.

Anyways, onwards to greener pastures, literally: Ireland is a fabulous destination for a family round trip. Here's the approximate route we took during our eight days. A word of caution is in order at this point: Don't be ambitious about the mileage you can do, many of the cross country roads are still charmingly scenic, which is a euphemism for narrow and somewhat bumpy, and don't rely to heavily on any one map. I brought my trusty TomTom, and yet we had to rely not only on C's navigational skills, but also on the occasionally rather epic directions of extremely helpful and friendly publicans. So, give yourself time - travelling Ireland is not a rushing matter. Also, make sure that you're fit: one of our drivers currently suffers from a herniation apparently contracted on the drive.

Our night quarters were, in order of sequence: Cabra Castle for one night, Dromoland Castle and Park Hotel Kenmare for two nights each, Waterford Castle and finally, Kilkea Castle. So, plenty of old stones, and yet, the experience was quite fresh everywhere. We were particularly surprised about the consistently high quality of the food everywhere - not to speak of the quantities. Obviously, the chefs cater mostly to Americans rather than French guests, even though the latter would hardly find anything to complain about, except for the over-priced wine list maybe. But then again, we were travelling with a wine expert, and Ireland is certainly not grape country. The altogether most outstanding experiences were to be had at Dromoland and Kenmare. Waterford shone with its Victorian infrastructure (sic!) and its high potential (meaning it has a bit of catching up to do), whereas Kilkea appeared a bit, erm, rustic?

Thus, we had a great impression of the spectacular beauty of the Irish countryside and its heritage. We did not get much exposure to modern Ireland and its contemporary culture, but that was not the purpose of the trip anyway. So there's something for next time, right?

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