I have quite a few real Irish recipes and Irish-American recipes to share with you today so in the interest of space, I’m using links. I’ll include a few yummy photos too, of course!
No caravan and no trip to the Canaries, but we enjoyed an Irish summer vacation this year. We went to West Cork and it was foggy and rainy the entire time! Thank goodness we don’t mind the weather but really wishing I had Welly boots that fit in my purse! I’ll try to write more about the trip in the future but in the meantime, here are a few photos of Baltimore and Cape Clear Island.
Yep, check out that soft gray horizon into which you can gaze for minutes upon minutes. All kidding aside, the crab sandwich I ate on Cape Clear Island was worth the entire trip! Not to mention an amazing meal at Roulf’s in Baltimore. But that’ll be in a real blog post eventually.
An American friend whose family is planning a trip to Ireland asked my advice and here are all the questions and answers that resulted, so I thought I’d share it with you! There is probably someone else out there planning a trip over here to the Emerald Isle and maybe this can help a bit. If it does help you, I’d love to hear from you with a comment. If you think I overlooked something, also comment so future visitors can know what’s what.
Is it easy to visit Dublin or Cork (or both) without a car?
Flying into Dublin, there is are affordable, clean and safe shuttle buses into the city of Dublin. It’s so easy, I wouldn’t even consider a taxi. To explore beyond Dublin, the train may be the best method. The Luas is great for getting around Dublin.
Irish Rail costs about €40 each way for Cork/Dublin routes. Trains are frequent, clean, safe, and have free WiFi. Heuston Station in Dublin has the trains Cork. Tickets are discounted if purchased ahead of time online.
Cork’s train station is called Kent and is walking distance to city centre but there are taxis and the 205 bus too. That bus costs €1.70 per person and runs from the station to the other side of the city, passing most hotels, B&Bs, and such. Taxi drivers must use meters in both cities.
Getting to and around Cork is fairly easy. Here’s a whole blog post about it. If flying into Cork, it costs about €15 to taxi from the airport to city centre. There is also a bus. If you rent a car, be aware of parking options.
What about visiting with a car?
Is West Cork a neighborhood of Cork City? I’ve heard it is beautiful.
West Cork is a region of County Cork west of Cork City. It is the most southwestern area of the Republic and noted for its coastline and cuisine. I recommend West Cork, especially if the weather is good. It is Ireland’s answer to California (without the heat). Beaches, food producers, fields, and very scenic. The pace is just a little slower (much slower than Dublin). We go there at least once a month even if just for lunch and it is very accessible from Cork City and Kenmare/Killarney for a day trip. Though buses do service towns in West Cork like Skibb, this is one area it is nice to have a rental car so you have flexibility to stop wherever you wish.
Do you recommend any particular hotel in Dublin that is central or well-located?
My favorite places to stay in Dublin are The Gibson (hip and located across from the O2) and The Brooks Hotel (classic and well-kept near St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street). But Dublin is a city and, as such, there are many many hotels I’ve never heard of so do some research and ask friends who’ve been there. Porterhouse is a nice spot to get a pint.
Any suggestions for restaurants in Dublin?
If you get the chance and advanced time to make reservations, Chapter One is a VERY nice restaurant (I have yet to get in since reservations are essential and I never plan ahead enough when going to Dublin). Eden is nice too. Dunne & Crecenzi is a sentimental favorite because we dined there on our honeymoon. Avoca on the top floor of their shop at the end of Grafton is delectable. There’s also one on the M7/N7 near Naas.
Where do you recommend we call home while we’re in County Cork?
There are a few places. Depends where you want to be and where you want to explore.
In Cork City Centre, my Dad likes the Imperial Hotel in Cork City Centre. It is central and there are NO hills between that hotel and the city. Clarion is also good but three blocks farther from everything and not in an interesting direction. There are many B&Bs along Western Road near UCC (University College Cork). The Gresham Metropole is supposed to be very nice as well and it’s on MacCurtain. Slight hill heading into town from there unless you exit out the hotel’s lower level which is on the Quay level. There is also River Lee Hotel and Jury’s on Western Road between UCC and city centre.
Outside of Cork City Centre there are options like Ballymaloe House near Cloyne or a selection of boutique hotels and B&Bs in Kinsale. Look for a B&B and odds are they will take good care of you and have a nice breakfast. Though most hotels have lovely breakfasts as well.
What is the name of the new highway connecting Dublin and Cork?
The roads are small but do-able. I did it on our honeymoon and just took it slow in the afternoon on a weekday when it wasn’t too busy. There is a paid parking lot in the centre of town in Kinsale which is central. I recommend going to lunch at Fishy Fishy (I like their monkfish or their chicken green salad) then stroll around the shops.
I highly recommend Electric for tea/coffee, soda/beer, or sandwich/soup lunch. They have WiFi and great natural light. It’s two blocks from the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall. I go there twice a week with my Twitter meetup group and my knitting friends because it has a nice relaxed feel with great light so even on rainy days I feel like I’ve gotten some sunlight. You can have a real restaurant meal upstairs (reservations through Facebook). Grab the tables in the far back on the ground level for a view of the River Lee. They are in the running for Best Scone in Ireland (Goodalls competition).
Lonely Planet seems to have taken the real capital‘s side in the age-old Dublin/Cork rivalry. According to today’s Irish Times article:
The [latest edition of Lonely Planet Ireland] has two pieces of advice for travellers. Don’t use expressions like “top o’ the morning to you” or “begorrah”, which belong in 1950s Hollywood movies, and do buy your round. The book says “everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork”.
Sure, County Cork has coastline, countryside, culinary destinations (like English Market, Kinsale or Ballymaloe) and friendly people (and West Cork which has ALL of these elements) BUT even I think Lonely Planet is selling the rest of the country short. Ireland is covered in small charming villages and medium-sized towns that are adorable freckles of character. Each no doubt has something worth visiting. Take Glendalough in County Wicklow for example. It has scenic walks, historic structures, lovely local foods, and amazing views. Galway has nightlife, waterside strolls, and some top-notch jewelry artisans. Dingle in County Kerry offers visitors a classic Irish experience in a colorful seaside town with memorable cuisine and hospitable accommodations. Let’s not overlook County Mayo with its enchanting town of Westport (home of one of my favorite shops, Market 57) or the phenomenal Kylemore Abbey. County Clare and its coastal town of Lahinch draw surfers and golfers from far and wide. This country has so much to offer so as in love with Cork as I am, I do think Lonely Planet was shortsighted to state “everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork” because there is so much good in Ireland – too much to be contained in just one county.
The one thing I am thrilled to see included in this book is that it encourages tourists to buy their round and not use outdated cliche Hollywood-Irish phrases (not the way people actually speak). The latter is a pet peeve of mine and the former is just polite.
I know, ‘buy your round’ isn’t intuitive so let me explain (UPDATE: For explicit ‘buy your round’ details read this). In the States, however, it is not out of the ordinary to have someone just buy you a drink so the concept of rotating or alternating rounds in the pub is a nuance that may be lost on someone accustomed to drinks just being bought for or by them on a whim instead of a traditional politeness. A new friend shows up with drinks for everyone, you should be aware your drink is not free. That action ropes you into buying a round for that same group. Memorize their faces. If you want to be strategic, you could plan to buy the second round of the night, before more friends join the group (and make each round more expensive) but after the initial round so it shows you know how to play the game and aren’t just buying drinks as may be a custom in your home country. If you are drinking water, you do not need to participate in round buying. Sometimes, soda doesn’t count, it depends on the friends. But don’t just meet up with three Irish friends and let them each, in turn, buy a round only to have you leave the bar when it’s your turn. If you’ve done this and they’ve forgotten to invite you out again, that may be a reason why.
What are some of your favorite good things, places, and moments to experience in Ireland?
Here is an assortment of photos from my travels around the Emerald Isle to show you there is beauty beyond the County Cork boundaries. Of course, Cork is a great place to live, don’t get me wrong, but it is in a wonderful country too.
This St. Patrick’s Day was filled with fun for the family, as always. But a special treat was that the Sam was carried by Cork’s championship team to grand marshal the parade! Here are photos from the day. Click through to see more photos on Flickr.
Can’t make it to Cork City for Saint Patrick’s Day? The parade will come to you — your computer, that is. Stream video of the parade starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT (6:00 a.m. PDT) — that’s 1:00 p.m. Cork time.
This actually seems like a perfect moment to remind readers that North America observes daylight savings on a slightly different schedule than Europe. So while most of the United States set their clocks forward one hour this past weekend (13 March), Ireland won’t spring forward until Saturday week (27 March). For those reading this who have friends, family, and colleagues in the States, it is helpful to know we’re only four hours apart from the Eastern time zone (Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, Florida) and seven hours apart from the Pacific time zone (San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle) until we switch our clocks. This next part is helpful to know if you have connections in Hawaii, Arizona, or Indiana:
So, back to this whole Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Weekend… To stream the Cork City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, just go here and let your Flash Player do the work.
Today, I spent the day in Dublin and it reminded me of all the things and places I love most in that fair city. Here is a list:
Dunne & Crecenzi (Italian restaurant)
14/16 South Frederick Street, Dublin City Centre D2
Tel: 01 677 3815 -or- 01 675 9892
Hours: Mon-Sat 7:30-23:00
Elephant & Castle (restaurant/pub)
18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 679 3121
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00-23:30 (breakfast 8-11:30, lunch/dinner 11:30-23:30)
Sat-Sun 10:30-23:30 (lunch 10:30-16:30, dinner 16:30-23:30)
Nude (organic ‘fast food’)
21 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
This Is Knit (knitting/crochet shop)
City Centre Location: 1st Floor, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, South William Street, Dublin 2
Blackrock Location: 19A Main Street, Blackrock Market, Blackrock MOVED
FOR ALL THINGS KNITTING AND CRAFT-RELATED, VISIT OUR SISTER BLOG: Spring Stitches.
This is an excerpt from my wildly popular Cooking Peas & Q’s blog post. Only the list of Irish milk delivery options is included here. To read the entire [fabulous and informative] post about milk delivery trends, options, and benefits, please visit:
I love milk. From an ice cold glass to stinky cheese to fresh whipped cream, you name a form of dairy and I’ll drool. So the idea of a milkman tiptoeing up to my doorstep to deliver my daily dairy is delightful… and not as rare as one may think. READ MORE
I compiled the following list of dairies and dairy-affiliated service businesses (including organic farmers and grocers) that offer doorstep milk delivery. This portion of the list only includes those in Ireland, but there is a longer list in my main post sharing milk delivery businesses in America, Canada, United Kingdom, and beyond. This list is always looking to be improved so please comment with your local milk delivery business’ name so we can add it right away.
Republic of Ireland
Eamon Reilly, Jr. (Kells, Co. Meath)
O’Sullivan MI on Casement Street (Clonakilty, Co. Cork)
Paul Madden (Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary)
Tony Kehoe Morning Fresk Milk (Bannow, Co. Wexford)
Vincent Browne Milk Distributor (Kilbride, Co. Wicklow)