The Emerald Isle is a fascinating place, full of mystery, romance and many off the beaten path oddities, whether flying solo or grabbing a weekend break. It’s been awhile, too long, since I’ve been to County Clare, but the magical memories of my weekend in Ireland still linger. It’s the perfect weekend getaway from the eastern United States, since the flight is only about 5 hours and places you in a foreign, magical land of leprechauns, shamrocks, castles and way too many sheep.
My stay at Dromoland Castle ushered in many firsts for me: first night in a real castle; first taste of Irish hospitality; first daring feat of driving on the left side of the road; and all topped off by a kiss of the Blarney Stone. I drove some 400 miles that weekend, up and down the southwest coast, stopping to view the Cliffs of Moher; dining medieval style at Bunratty Castle and discovering Adare Manor.
Bunratty Castle was great fun – by day you can tour the medieval tower and village, which is kept alive by inhabited shops with demonstrations. The site also offers great views from the top turret. By night, join in the fun of a medieval banquet where you dine as they did 500 years ago – no utensils and wandering minstrels for entertainment.
Adare Manor was a highlight. It is a romantic manor house set in a quaint village. For golfers, it’s a world-class course and for romantics, you can get lost in its grandeur.
TOURIST TIPS: Don’t be put off by driving on the wrong side of the road. Just remember to keep the double line on the right side of the car. And whatever you do, be sure to climb to the top of the Blarney Tower, even if it’s a windy day. You can’t go all the way to Ireland and not kiss the stone for the gift of gab……….and the guide won’t let you fall.