I've been nominated for Babble's Top 50 Food Blogs. I've moved from 197 to spot 31, but I sure would love make it into the top 30! Could you take a minute and add your vote? Click here or on the side link to the right.
Dublin! The flight from London to Dublin was just under an hour. We peered out into the murky darkness to get our first glimpse of the famous Irish capital.
Actually, no we didn't. We were all completely knocked out and really had no clue the plane even landed.
In a complete fog we made our way to collect our luggage and pick up the rental car that would toodle us around this country for the next week.
We received our pocket-sized GPS and trudged out into the inky darkness. I knew this was going to be the roughest part of the journey. We had pushed ourselves to the limit and driving at night on the right side of the car to find our hotel was going to be...ahem..."interesting".
My son's 15th birthday was the next day. When planning the trip, I wanted to do something unique for him to celebrate his birthday in Ireland. My son was a complete Lego Castle kid. He loved medieval stories of knights, armor, and trebuchets.
Twenty minutes outside of Dublin, I found this hotel, Clontarf Castle, that was built around the remnants of a bygone castle. I thought he would think that is pretty cool. At fifteen, not too much exists in life outside of handheld electronics but this could be fun.
The sky was pitch black outside. The cool crisp air continued to delight us and we snuggled in our coats and scarves while peering at the "little pink line" of the GPS hoping it would deliver us to our castle.
The air was literally sparkling with tiny droplets. A very fine rain hung all around the headlights of the car enveloping us even further into a dark shell as we navigated the unfamiliar roads.
Finally after a few ill turns here and there, we crunched down a dimly lit turn and the first sight of Clontarf Castle did not disappoint. It loomed in the darkness with spotlights outlining its beautiful turrets and enchanting leaded glass windows.
The wind was blowing outside and the many huge trees surrounding the property swished and swayed making beautiful sounds of fall and this change of seasons. The castle entrance was dimly lit, a full set of knight's armor stoicly framed the massive hallway in greeting.
A roaring fire was boldy warming the lobby as cheery faces greeted us at the front desk. At this point, I was glad we arrived during the evening. The mood outdoors with the leaves blowing wildly and the tall narrow windows of the castles glowing warmly inside had such a dramatic effect on us.
We trundled up to our room and found a sweet piece of cheesecake there to greet Riley and wish him a happy birthday. I hadn't requested this so it was a delight to me as well.
Did he share it with us? Yeah...he shared.
Dog-tired. Pooped-out. Running on fumes... all could easily describe us at this point.
I knew, however, that no matter what, I was going to be up at the crack of dawn. I could not wait to explore this area around the castle. I had read that it was in a really quaint subhurb of Dublin. I'd let the kids and Patrick sleep in but I would be off...exploring.
"Beautiful." I thought to myself.
The early morning air was frigid. Big crunchy leaves were skittering all over the ground. The branches of the huge trees were rocking back and forth making the most wonderful swishing sounds.
Needless to say, no one was about. It was also Sunday morning. I wandered all over every nook and cranny of the grounds. The red-tinged leaves of the vines clinging to the stone walls framed doorways and windows with delicacy and grace.
The sun was brilliant but the air was filled with frostiness. I took deep breaths and was so glad I made the decision to stay outside of Dublin so I could enjoy this beauty.
I thought about pocketing a few of these huge leaves to take them back home with me but decided it was better to just take it all in and enjoy the here and now.
A busy day was before us. I knew everyone would be ravished soon after they woke up. Thoughts turned to the infamous "Irish Breakfasts".
Indeed! Look at this plate. Yes, over there to the right is the always feared - black pudding! It was delicious. We all enjoyed it, especially with the chewy dark Irish brown bread.
We didn't even make it to the fruit table we were so full from this hearty morning fare. I do like the Irish breakfast and couldn't help imagining several more mornings being treated to this ample meal.
So, we're off now! Happy bellies. Happy family. Off to Dublin.
Labels: Black Pudding, breakfast, castle hotels, Clontarf Castle, Dublin, Ireland, Irish food