Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Truth be told, in this topsy-turvy world that we live in right now, we all need a bit of a laugh and some good old Irish luck sometimes! Ireland is a country that I had long wanted to visit. Having followed the Irish band, U2 since I was around 11 years old, visiting their home was an absolute must. I heard their music from a friend who had moved to South Africa from Europe and I fell in love with their style immediately! Of course, U2's music was not available in our country during the 80's and, many European countries had boycotted South Africa because of the utterly heinous apartheid regime that was implemented by the then ruling National Party, but, some things made it across the border anyhow!
As I grew older, I discovered Irish writers - Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes to name a few. I loved the folklore and mystery that Ireland was so gorgeously cloaked in and the faerie tales that set my imagination aflame! Then came bands like The Corrs and The Cranberries; singers - Enya and Sinead O' Conner; actors like Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell... Ireland just seemed to churn out these incredible talents and I, being young and impressionable wanted to go there more than anything in the world! It was a dream that took 31 years to materialize.
And so it was, that in the Irish Spring of 2018, I flew my gorgeous, then 82-year-old-Aunt, to what we thought was Spring in Ireland. Much to our delight, upon arrival in the Land of Faeries and Folklore, the streets and hills were laden with snow. It was her first time seeing snow at the tender age of 82! It seemed to me that Ireland knew she was coming and had rolled out the most beautiful white carpet for her and she loved it! We discovered many things on our Irish trip, my Aunt and I, but most of all, her intense dislike of stairs! It was after this trip that I began dreaming of taking my family to the beautiful Emerald Isle.
Just 4 years later, my husband and I planned the trip of a lifetime with our children.(It was known as the trip of a lifetime because truthfully, we will probably never again be able to afford to take our family of 5 travelling overseas altogether.) So, on the 25th of March 2022, with our bags packed, our cellphones charged, tickets printed and our passports in hand, we boarded a flight to Dublin, Ireland!
As the plane touched down, my heart lurched at the thought that I was back in this exquisite place with my family in tow! Our taxi driver, in true Irish style, kept us entertained as we headed for our accommodation - The Castle Hotel - a set of 9 restored Georgian Townhouses - in Dublin. To say that the kids were excited would be an understatement especially since one of our daughters' best friends' had flown over from England to join us for 5 days in Dublin! Being just 2 minutes walk from O'Connell Street - the main street in Dublin - was an incredible bonus! I had thought of a million things that I wanted to show the kids but in chatting to my husband, we decided to allow them space to explore! Needless to say, there were some adventures to be had and bargains to be found.
Dublin is a beautiful bustling blend of old and new. It is home to The Temple Bar and the Guinness storehouse; Michael Flatley and his Irish Tapping feet; Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin castle as well as Fiddlers and Folk Singers amidst Fashion houses and Jewellery stores. It is a cauldron bubbling over with something for everyone! This, my friends, is how we ended up at a piercing parlour early one morning, following our children whilst in need of some stronger-than-normal coffee! Two eyebrow piercings, one nose ring and one belly ring later, we exited, (my husband and I sans any new piercings) making our way back towards O'Connell Street ready to climb onto the Red Bus!
Some of us enjoyed watching the sites as we drove around on the Red Bus, singing along to
'Molly Malone' whilst others preferred to take a nap... Each to their own, I say! The lovely part was being able to do things together but also to go our separate ways to do things we each enjoy and then meet up again later! Our children loved this and it suited Ant and myself very well! I mean I love K-Pop but, spending nearly 2 hours in a store the size of a box is not my idea of fun! Neither is thrifting through garments piled high in a box just to find a bargain! But bargains they found and K-Pop treasures were abundant! Their excitement was tangible!
One of the main highlights of our Dublin trip was a gorgeous restaurant called, The Church . This beautifully restored 17th century church is now a bustling restaurant which can at capacity, hold up to 1500 people. The atmosphere is truly Irish, with dancing and music that will lift you from your seat and get you swaying to an Irish beat. The staff seem at the ready for a bit of 'craic' (fun) and although it was a few days early, helped my husband and I celebrate 21 years of marriage in style! The food was outstanding and the desserts were sumptuously decadent! This is a place that will replenish your soul and leave you feeling ridiculously happy and content!
We rounded off our Dublin trip having to say goodbye to the gorgeous Pandora at Dublin airport and then picking up our rental car to drive down to West Cork. I'm not sure what the rental car attendant thought of us as we were all a bit teary and emotional after saying goodbye to Panda. I'm sure he was a bit confused as to why one would cry over a rental car... even if it was the swankiest-shmankiest car rental we have ever had! Needless to say, saying goodbye is always hard, but, it also means that there are plans to be made to see one another again!
Stay tuned for my next Irish instalment for a look at our trip down to the beautiful towns of Roscarberry and Clonakilty where hospitality and friendliness are but a mere way of life...