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In Ireland, "You're Very Welcome!"
With a population of only 5 ˝ million -- not to mention
4.9 million sheep, Ireland may only be the size of Kansas, but it makes up
for its lack of density in its homegrown hospitality. Last year over four
million vacationers were introduced to Gaelic, Ireland's second language,
surveyed its sweeping countryside and Irish mist, and rekindled their
appreciation of Ireland's illustrious literary tradition. And yet there's
something many guests may find surprising -- the award winning cuisine.
In fact, "Ireland The Food Island" is the country's new slogan where
cuisine invokes an exquisite exploration of the palate. Maybe that's why
The Food and Drink Industry accounts for approximately half of the total
exports by Irish owned companies.
Jurys Hotel in Dublin (Photo: Linda-Marie Singer)
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|A restful, comfortable night at Jurys
Ballsbridge Hotel will bring you to one of the city's most fashionable
districts. There you'll feast on the typical Irish breakfast of bacon
rashers, eggs, sausages, black and white puddings, and fried breads.
This is just for starters.
Since dining is such an important pastime in Ireland,
you may want to spend an evening sampling the award winning menu at
Thornton's Restaurant located near Stephen's Green Hotel. Start with The
Terrine of Foie Gras and Rabbit Truffle and Leek ($30), and move on to the
Bresse Pigeon with Tarte Tatin of Shaillot ($46). The all French staff
offers impeccable service, and, did I mention artistic desserts ranging in
the $20 category?
Fado Restaurant on Dawson Street offers a more festive ambiance and a
lesson in Irish history. The $32 menu furnishes such starters as Chicken
Liver and Cognac Parfait or Salmon and Herb Fish Cake, and then continues
with varied entrees from Goat's Cheese and Tortellini to Grilled Salmon
Fillet and Mussel Risotto. Fado, first opened to the public in the
millennium year of 2000, is a part of the Mansion House that has been the
official residence home to the Mayor of Dublin since 1715.
But, if like me, this is your first trip to Ireland and especially to
Dublin, getting to know the "Dubs" will mean exploring its medieval,
Georgian, and modern architecture along with its castles, churches and
cathedrals, theatres, museums and galleries. Dublin is also renown for
stately homes and gardens, marketplaces, fine dining and affordable
shopping. Yet no matter what you see or where you go, you'll always be
reminded of the proud Irish culture and its native literary sons: James
Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats.
Did I mention pubs? There are hundreds of pubs making Dublin the world's
most famous drinking city. Guinness, anyone? Undoubtedly the most
requested drink in the country, the "black stuff" can be traced to Arthur
Guinness who founded The Guinness Storehouse in 1789. Visitors who tour
the premises receive a complimentary pint while they sip the dramatic
views of Dublin.
Centuries ago Dublin was the focus of craftsmanship and shop keeping. Now
it's all that plus a global center of computers and communication -- a
city steeped in education. Trinity College, established by Queen
Elizabeth I in 1592, is one of its most famous sites with its Old Library
of Trinity housing two million volumes in "The Long Room." But the great
treasure is The Book of Kells, an eighth century illuminated manuscript of
the Four Gospels.
Another great discovery is The National Gallery. Established by an Act of
Parliament in 1854, there are 2,500 paintings and 10,000 other works
including watercolors, drawings, sculpture and prints. Every major
European School of Painting is represented, and there is also an important
collection of Irish work plus the Yeats Museum.
If you tingle when you see old cathedrals, watch what happens when you
visit Saint Patrick's. Established in 1191, writer Jonathan Swift (Gullivers
Travels) was Dean from 1713-1747. It was also at Saint Patrick's in 1742
that Handel's Messiah received its first performance.
But for those who long for the tranquility of the countryside, head thirty
minutes south of Dublin to The County Wicklow, "The Garden of Ireland." A
lush landscape fills the horizon with sheep frolicking in the farmland.
In between counting sheep, you may want to visit the twenty championship
golf courses with Druids Glen Golf Club, host of four Irish Opens, among
Tinakilly Hotel Country House
|A place to hike and horseback ride,
Wicklow is also a locale where you can walk along the coastline, visit
gardens and castles, partake in the award winning cuisine, and stay in
traditional Irish accommodations like Tinakilly Hotel Country House.
Member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Tinakilly, with its
romantic setting, contains Ireland's only surviving seventeenth
Malahide Castle a fortress and private home for 800
|Visit Powerscourt And Gardens, one of the
country's most beautiful estates, and Malahide Castle with its 250 acres
of parkland. A fortress and private home for nearly 800 years, Malahide
Castle is furnished with period pieces together with an exquisite
collection of Irish portrait paintings.
Kilruddery House And Gardens dating from the
|Another in the fine series is Kilruddery
House And Gardens dating from the eighteenth century, and famous for
having the oldest formal gardens in Ireland.
Now as you make your way back into Dublin, take a good
look at the doors. No, not the rock group but actual doors of homes that
are painted in vibrant blue, red, yellow, and of course emerald green.
And remember that when the Irish say hello, answer back "You're very
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How to Get There:
Start learning Gaelic on board Ireland's official
airways, AER LINGUS. With impressive service, the crew seems eager to
give tips about their favorite cities in Ireland. Just ask. Aer Lingus
is offering specials to Ireland: $99 One-way New York, Chicago or Boston
and $124 from LAX. www.aerlingus.com
Jurys Ballbridge Hotel
Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge
303 rooms, 3 suites Pool Gym 24-hour room service.
Standard room rate $258 to Executive rate $299.
Stephen's Green Hotel
St. Stephen's Green
75 rooms, 9 suites. Standard room rate $303. Executive
WILD WICKLOW -
DUBLIN BUS - http://www.dublinbus.ie
DAY TOURS UNPLUGGED -
DUBLIN LITERARY PUB CRAWL. Guided tour by actors who perform humorous
extracts from Dublin's best known writers.
Places of Interest:
GUINNESS STOREHOUSE at St. James' Gate. $12 Admission.
Arthur Guinness and Son is synonymous with Ireland throughout the world.
Taste the "black stuff." One of the the world's most famous breweries.
THE DUBLIN WRITERS MUSEUM at 18 Parnell Square. $5 Admission. Set in an
eighteenth century mansion, examine the past 300 years of Dublin's most
celebrated writers from Shaw and Wilde to Joyce and Yeats.
Classic Irish Linen - click to enlarge
IRISH LINEN CENTRE AND LISBURN MUSEUM. Free Admission. Follow
linen's history in its heartland beginning in Lisburn's seventeenth
century market house where cottage weavers brought their cloth to
sell. Learn how linen cloth was made from flax. Watch experts
spinning and weaving, and you can also have a spin.
DUBLIN'S CITY HALL on Cork Hill. $4 Admission. Watch
the multi-media presentation tracing evolution of the city from 1170 to
EXPLORE THE COUNTY OF WICKLOW:
MALAHIDE CASTLE is set on 250 acres of parkland in the
seaside town of Malahide. A fortress and private home for nearly 800
years, the house is furnished with period pieces together with the
exquisite collection of Irish portrait paintings. Email:
TINAKILLY HOTELS COUNTRY HOUSE AND RESTAURANT in The County of Wicklow.
Romantic setting and once home to Captain Halpin, Commander of the Great
Eastern that laid the Transatlantic telegraphic cables joining Europe to
America. Tinakilly is now one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World
fashioned in Victorian-Italianate architecture. Nineteenth century
gardens, ornate interiors in period furnishings, oil paintings, and
seafaring memorabilia. 51 bedrooms and many with sea views. Email:
||KILRUDDERY HOUSE AND GARDENS.
Ireland's only surviving seventeenth century gardens. House dates
from the eighteenth century, and was home to the Earls of Meath.
Kilruddery Houses and Gardens has the most extensive early formal
gardens still in their original style, and are the oldest gardens in
POWERSCOURT HOUSE AND GARDENS. One of Ireland's
greatest treasures with forty-seven acres of gardens, and one of the most
beautiful estates in the mountains of Wicklow. The Gardens were
constructed between 1843-67, and the terraces are ornamented with
statuary. Try the Terrace Café featuring dishes from "The Avoca
Cookbook." Specialty shops and even the Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland's
highest waterfall. Email:
DRUIDS GLEN MARRIOTT HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB. 400 acre Golf Resort that is
spacious and modest situated between the Irish Sea and Wicklow mountains.
In 1995, a championship golf course was opened at Druids Glen and has
hosted four Irish Opens. In 2000, it was voted "European Golf Course of
the Year." The hotel overlooks the 13th hole. There's also a spa and
health club with an indoor pool. 148 guestrooms and 11 executive suites.
24-hour room service, two restaurants and one bar. Standard room rate
$225. Suites $335.
Dining Out in Dublin:
Thornton's Restaurant on St. Stephen's Green
Dawson Street, Dublin
For More Information:
Irish Tourist Board
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"The LIVEWIRE" for Travel
Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine &
She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
(More about this writer.)
- Web: http://www.i.am/lindamarie