March 18, 2010

More on our fabulous weekend in Ireland ... We went for a long weekend, which was perfect to see most of what we wanted in Dublin and spend most of a day driving into the countryside. The central part of Dublin is almost entirely walkable, so we did a lot of exploring on foot. Whenever we got tired, there was always a pub to stop in ... always. We joked that there are more pubs in Ireland than Starbucks in, well, just about any city.

Our flight out on Friday morning was delayed several hours, which didn't get us into Dublin and to our hotel until late afternoon (still beats flying from the US!). Since our first hotel, Clontarf Castle, is on the outskirts of the town, we decided to just relax after our day spent with Aer Lingus in the Knights' Bar at our hotel with some Guiness and light fare. I needed a few drinks after Russ drove us into oncoming traffic within the first 10 minutes of getting our car. Driving stick, listening to the directions from the navi AND driving on the left is a lot to concentrate on!
Arriving at Clontarf Castle

Some of the Clontarf's award-winning interior design (best in all of Europe in 2009!)

Enjoying our first afternoon in Dublin at the Knights' Bar

I seem to be on the driver's side ...

... but the wheel is over there!

Our first full day in Ireland, we walked around some of the main pedestrian thoroughfares - Mary & Henry Street - and went in search of "the best" fish and chips in Dublin. We found Leo Burdocks for our fish, and toted our seemingly five-pound (each!), paper-wrapped lunch to a bench outside Christ Church Cathedral, which was conveniently located just around the corner. After barely making a dent in our meals, we headed out to walk off as much of the fried goodness we could. 

Fish as big as our heads!

Christ Church Cathedral

After our first full day in Dublin, we bid farewell to our first hotel with a fantastic dinner at the hotel restaurant. What was probably the best steak I've had in I don't know how long (along with amazingly fresh vegetables and potatoes) was only a prelude to the incredible desserts. We decided on the following two: lemongrass and basil creme brulee with strawberry liqueur sorbet and warm banana and gingerbread baked cheese cake with rum butterscotch. What a wonderful way to enjoy our last night at the castle!

Clontarf Castle at night

On the lion in front of our hotel ... after a bottle of wine

Stay tuned for more from Ireland, including the next day's trip into the countryside. And yes, there were sheep involved.

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische