Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sojourn on the Emerald Isle...

Don't worry, this isn't going to be an eight-part modern epic on My Summer Vacation. I just wanted to say HEY! and I AM BACK! and HERE IS A TINY FRACTION OF THE COOL STUFF I SAW AND DID IN IRELAND!

The backstory is that Don and I have actually been attempting to plan an Ireland trip since 2010. But it didn't work out, and instead we ended up in Alaska.

Why yes, I did climb a glacier up to the highest ice field in the world!

We tried again in 2013 and wound up in Hawaii.

Making undeniable progress on the 50 States bingo card,
but still longing for the other side of the Atlantic.

In 2014, we found ourselves in Italy:

Technically, getting closer.

Don't get me wrong, this was all AMAZING, but for all that we'd declared we were not not not leaving the country and/or taking any big trips this year due to the ongoing saga of our house renovations, it was a little hard to say no when Don's parents mentioned the "Gourmet Ireland" trip they were going on with two professional Irishmen and there were only a few spots left and were sure we didn't want to tag along.

Since our renovations show no sign of actually beginning soon (le sigh) AND we wouldn't have to be in charge of anything except showing up, we finally said "What the heck" & sent the Irishmen a check.

We have never done a group tour before and only did this one because a) it was a tiny group (less than 15 people) and b) Don's parents, who are not package tour people either, had done a "Gourmet Spain" tour with said professional Irishmen & utterly raved about them.

I'm happy to report that we had an absolute blast. Yes, it was a very specific type of trip with a very specific focus, so there are definitely plenty of things in Ireland that we didn't see or do, but we also got access to people and places and experiences we never would have on our own.

So here you go -- "Gourmet Ireland" in one roll (24 shots).

70° and sunny in Dublin!

Pints at the Gravity Bar, Dublin

The Long Room, Trinity College Library, Dublin

Dublin Castle Gardens

Dinner at The Pig's Ear, Dublin

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Christchurch, Dublin

On the way to lunch in County Clare

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

Kilbeggan Distillery, County Westmeath

Whiskey tasting with Ireland's top whiskey expert (A LADY!) in County Kerry

Midleton Distillery, County Cork

Midleton Distillery, County Cork

Ballymaloe House, County Cork

Ballymaloe Cookery School (where we cooked our own dinner!)

Dinner at Ballymaloe (we cooked it!!)

Dessert at Ballymaloe Cookery School (Raspberry fool made by yours truly!)

Cheese Tasting at Cashel Blue, County Tipperary

The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Belfast River Walk

Belfast River Walk

Belfast Cookery School (where we cooked lunch!)

Teeling Distillery, Dublin

Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin

{We now return to our regularly scheduled program.}


  1. Looks like you had an absolutely amazing time.

  2. Cool! I spent Christmas in Dublin one year and had a fantastic time. It's a beautiful country!

  3. That looks like a spectacularly delicious holiday. We are not package-tour people either, but there's definitely something to be said for a well-put-together package tour (and the 'professional Irishmen' made me giggle -- as opposed to, professional cyclists? Professional Guinness-brewers?)

  4. Great to see these photos - I have 3 nights booked in Dublin this summer with my wife and the little ones (so there may be some limitations on the Guinness and whiskey...). Really looking forward to it.

  5. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)