A Trip to... Ireland (part one)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I guess I should stop saying I'm going to post again and then never write anything. I've been working on sharing a post about our trip to Ireland for a few weeks now but keep getting distracted with projects...damn you house that won't sell! I wanted to share this because it was a trip that I didn't really plan for, or have any great expectations of, and we ended up having such a lovely time-a real shock for this type A planner. We wandered, we drove, we stopped in pubs and I got my fill of shopping at all the European stores I usually have to pay ridiculous duty on. 

An Irish friend of ours was back in Ireland and invited us to stay at her family home along with her long-distance boyfriend. There's nothing more Chad and I like to do then ruin a romantic trip for someone, so of course we said yes! Her and her family were absolutely the best hosts and their home was something that looked right out of a tourist brochure. Bucolic scenery, farm animals, a thatched roof, a guest cottage, ruins, and miles and miles of green.

I will apologize in advance for the number of photos. I'm going to spread this over two posts because I just had so many gorgeous snaps of rolling green hills. Trust me, this was a trip where we spent a lot of time saying things like: "well isn't this stunning", "this is so quaint", and yes, the cheesy "fifty shades of green" was mentioned a few times, but can you blame us. 

Our first stop was Dublin where we stayed at the Clarence Hotel owned by Bono and the Edge of U2. This was not the main draw for me, it was definitely more the great location and the simple Arts & Crafts style interior that drew me in. 
The only guide that I used for the whole trip, mostly because our friend was such a superb one, was the Design Sponge Dublin City Guide. I used that to pick the hotel and then mainly for shopping recommendations. I'm not going to go into detail about what to see in Dublin in terms of tourist attractions. We mainly wandered around, checked out Trinity College, St. Stephen's Green and the streets around Temple Bar. It was the day of the historic gay marriage vote so the streets were packed with people celebrating. A few of my recommendations are:
  • A meal or drinks at the rooftop restaurant of The Dean (or just a peek at their lobby)
  • Popping into Folkster to pick up stylish new and vintage clothes and home wares
  • Having a to-die-for-burger at Bunsen 
  • Visiting the Powers Court Centre a huge Georgian building turned shopping arcade to check out Article and vintage jewelry

After a day and half in Dublin we set out in our rental car for our temporary home base in Urlingford, about a half hour away from the city of Kilkenny. This was about the time that all those cheesy phrases about just how green everything was started. 

How about that house, could you ask for anything more idyllic? Our jaws literally dropped when we drove up the long gravel lane way. A highlight for Chad was finally seeing the aga stove he had heard so much about from our host's Mom when she visited Montreal. I obviously had to take a picture of him in front of it. Just because I can, here's a little photo montage of all of Chad's favourite things in Ireland. 

After getting used to driving on the right hand side of the car and road he absolutely loved all the tiny roads and hairpin turns. I was freaked out by the lack of shoulder and the way the trees and hedges almost made a canopy over the road. 

We also spent a day in Kilkenny, Chad visiting the Smithwick's brewery and me shopping. I wandered into the Kilkenny Design Centre to buy some gifts and then found the beautiful gardens of the Butler House behind. We met up to tour the castle, walk through some of the narrow streets and of course grab a pint. 

Is that enough pictures for you to look through in one sitting? Don't worry I still have a part two coming, where you can see more rolling green hills and probably a few more pictures of Chad. I'll also tell you about two of my favourite attractions on the trip. Not surprisingly, both of them were historic houses where I wanted to take home the entire kitchen of one and steal a few decor pieces from the other. 

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