Traveling Mamas

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  • april2006-359.jpgFriday’s post reminded me of when I had the pleasure of traveling to Dunfanaghey, located on the northwest coast of Ireland. I stayed at Arnold’s Hotel, a family run business that offers the amenities of a larger hotel, yet the charm of a bed and breakfast. I knew I would like this place, if not for the view of Sheephead Bay, then for the warm and inviting peat fire glowing in the lobby. The price was very reasonable, starting at 65Euros per night with breakfast. Arnold’s Hotel also offers special events throughout the year, including writing classes, photography weekends, and even home-cooked Irish cooking lessons.

    My room was clean and cozy, with a surprisingly spacious bath. I dropped my bags and went in search of comraderie down in The Whiskey Fly Bar, where our group met up. I did my best to make friends with the bartender, Sterling, but imagine my surprise when Mr. Arnold himself poured me a drink. He charmed me with his Irish accent and somehow talked me into another drink. And another. And then the sweet couple who was sitting next to me bought me a drink to celebrate their anniversary. Boy, I was loving Ireland.

    I stumbled up to my room, and my travel friends stumbled to theirs. I closed my eyes, but the room started to spin. Let’s just say it was a long Irish night. I wasn’t looking forward to an early game of golf, but when in Ireland, one must golf.
    The next morning, Mr. Arnold was awaiting me in the lobby, all ready to drive just a few of us to Dunfanaghey Golf Club. Mr. Arnold was even kind enough to let me borrow his very nice clubs.

    april2006-375.jpgThe course was fantastic and I couldn’t believe I was standing in Ireland, on a golf course, overlooking the bay. The breeze was crisp and cool, so I bought a goofy knit hat with a pom-pom on top and borrowed a warm vest from a friend. Non members can play here for 22Euros, but I think there is a discount for international visitors. What a steal!

    The course wasn’t very busy, so our crew really took in the scenery of the ocean on one side, and fields of horses on the other. This links-style course was simply breathtaking. Our afternoon closed with another visit to The Whiskey Fly Bar and a round of Guinness.

    The Irish really know how to entertain.

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  • I learned a few things while I was in Ireland:

    templebar.jpg

    A hot soak in seaweed relieves jet-lag.

    When someone says “Now that’s good craic (pronounced crack)” they are not referring to a drug. They are referring to a fun time and good conversation.

    Do not ask for cream with your tea or coffee. You will get whipped cream. Instead, ask for milk.

    A proper pint of Guinness is served to those who wait. It takes time for this brew to settle properly before drinking.

    People in Ireland don’t name their children Shannon (uh-hm, Mom). It is the US equivalent of naming your child Mississippi or Rio Grande.

    You can pay to spend the night in a former insane asylum in Sligo.

    Sitting in a pub, Guinness in hand, with a peat fire burning, is a really good memory to have.

    Jack in the Box is not a restaurant, it is a dead man from Dublin.

    U2 got their start playing on Grafton Street.

    Temple Bar is not an actual bar. Well, it is a bar, but the name refers to an area that is the cultural quarter of Dublin.

    After a few pints of Guinness, you might see faeries.

    To make your own memories and learn your own tips, visit DiscoverIreland.com.

    Slainte!

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