Ireland or Eire in Irish, is an island in the North Atlantic, and is the thirds largest island in Europe. It is separated from Great Britain by the North Channel, the Irish Sea and St George’s Channel.
I had been hearing about the beauty of Emerald Isle for a quite few years. Every time there was a documentary on TV about the island, we had discussed the plans to travel there. It took me some time to finally organize the trip to the island, but the waiting really paid off. I am talking about the experience, the sights and the food. Ireland should be marked as a must-see destination for every traveler.
We arrived in Ireland few days after the heavy storms. There were still many broken trees on the ground, the soil was still wet, and the air was fresh and moist. The island is quite famous for winds and rains, but we were lucky to have more sunny days than rain.
We decided not to stay in Dublin and chose instead to explore the coast. We rented a car, and starting with Wicklow, we drove by the coast through the South of Ireland, to Limerick and back to the capital for a final night. What I mean here by South of Ireland is the area below the Limerick- Dublin highway. It is not an official term, so do not quote me on that.
The car was small and not the fastest, but it was exactly what one needed for a road trip in the country roads. It gave me time to enjoy the density and the greenness of the forests as Ireland is truly a green island. I was mesmerized by the roads covered by the crowns of the trees and kept stopping to look at the structures created by the nature. There were moments when I felt like I had never seen some much trees in my life.
Ireland is beautiful, in simple words. I had had seen many pictures or programs on TV showing parts of the island, but none could simply convey the real wonder of these places. One must experience the strongest winds almost taking off your balance and watch seals swimming below the bridge at Mizen Head, the farthest south-east point of Ireland.
Then one has to get soaked wet, walking around in Dingle, while visiting eclectic places where one can order an Irish beer or whiskey and buy a poison for rats the same time. Places like Foxy John’s with the old exterior, are still popular with the natives. They are quieter then some other pubs in town, but to the outsiders they give a glimpse into the past, when public houses mixed beer in the evening and retail sales during the day. If one wants to feel like a local, in the evenings, one can sit in one of the local bars, drinking beer and listen to a performance of a local musician.
Farther north, there is a Muckross House and Gardens inside the first National Park in Ireland. Plan your visit wisely, because there are many places to visit there. Muckross House is a Tudors-style house rich in artwork, and still holding a well-preserved room where Queen Victoria stayed during her visit there in 1861. The house is located by the lake where one can enjoy a short boat ride
Driving north from the Ring of Kerry, we stopped at the most famous location in Ireland, Aillte an Mhothair or also known as Cliffs of Moher. They are located by the Burren region and run for approximately 14km. At their southern end, they rise to up to 120m above the sea level, increasing to up to 214m at their highest by the O’Brien’s Tower.
As proper travelers and foodies, we had to eat, and Ireland is one of the places where one can indulge in fish. It is not any fish, but nice and fatty Atlantic fish! On the second evening, we discovered something extraordinary; the Irish seafood chowder. It is usually served with local bread and butter.
As a woman I am always trying to convince myself to stay away from the simple carbs, but it is impossible to refuse a wonderful sea food chowder served with a freshly baked bread and a proper Irish butter. Well, also a Pole, I was raised on bread and butter, and the temptation always won. The proper thing to do is to add a thick layer of butter on top of the piece of bread, or anywhere around it.
During 6 days in Ireland we had several types of Seafood Chowder. It was served as a thin chowder and as a hearty thick chowder that to navigate with a spoon on the plate was quite a challenge. The consistency of the soup changed with the location. The thickest and most memorable dishes we had during our trip was in Dingle, in a restaurant called Harrington’s and in Dublin, in O’Neils Bar and Restaurant.
The chowder is not the most complicate soup to prepare. You have to make sure there are potatoes, milk, cream, spices, shrimps or clams or any type of seafood with the most delicious Atlantic fish; including mix of salmon, haddock and white fish. Milk and cream act as thickeners for the soup. To complement it, you should bake a bread and take out Irish butter and beer from the fridge. Once the soup, bread, butter and beer are on the table, you will have a taste of Ireland in your own home.