6. The history – Ireland is the land of saints and scholars but also of ancient burial tombs, Viking settlements, Norman invasions, piracy, plantations, the Battle of the Boyne, the Great Famine, and rebellion against Great Britain. You can’t go far in Ireland without coming across something of significant historical value. The opportunities to visit battle sites and castles, hear stories, or experience what life was like in times gones by are endless.
It goes without saying that visiting my family is the main reason for us to return to Ireland as often as we can. But more and more, we have been treating our trips to Ireland as real holidays. I want the boys to really know the country and how it ticks. So apart from the amazing people, here’s what we love so much about the place.
1. The beaches – in Germany we live a day’s drive from the beach, so a visit to the beach is a real highlight for the boys. No matter what the weather is like, we take a spin to the beach and walk, potter, build sandcastles, the boys invariably get wet socks and we have tons of fun.
2. The food – we love our grub and really make time for eating out while we are in Ireland. There are so many fantasic cafes and restaurants now compared to fifteen years ago. Particular favourites of mine are The Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda and The Kitchen restaurant, also in Drogheda. McCormack’s Cafe in Westport is brilliant too for real homemade food. Harvest Home Bakery in Trim is a tiny, cosy, old-fashioned Irish bakery. Have the pear and almond pie or berry and almond pie and a cup of tea.
3. The meat – Irish beef and lamb are fantastic. The rashers are the best in the world. But the absolute best thing is black pudding. From Clonakilty to Kelly’s of Newport, there are dozens of brands. We’ve tried many, but always come back to Kelly’s. It is melt in the mouth crumbly and delicious.
4. The scenery – usually when I see spectacular scenery I think “Wow, isn’t this amazing? It must be brilliant to live here and wake up to this every morning”. But Irish scenery has a different effect on me and The Bavarian. As we drive through Connemara, Sligo, Mayo or even the lush, rolling landscape of County Meath, we see the beauty of it all and it makes us sad not to wake to it every morning.
5. The fishing – OK, so this is maninly a reason The Bavarian has for coming to Ireland again and again, but Ireland has amazing fishing opportunities, be it at sea, on lakes or on rivers. We were lucky enough to see the row boats setting off on Lough Mask on the final day of the World Fly Fishing qualifiers and it was quite impressive, I must admit.
I know I am *slightly* biased in my opinion here, but if you ever get the chance to visit Ireland, do.