Ireland Road Trip
This is the beginning of our 50+ day road trip in Ireland. Can't believe we're really starting this adventure. We first spent 4 days in Dublin and 4 days in Galway without a car. We picked the car up this morning in downtown Dublin and headed to our first stop, Malahide Castle in Malahide. Managed to navigate Dublin with no trouble and arrived safely in Malahide on the East Coast of Ireland right above Dublin.
Getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road is a little challenging. As navigator, it was my job to remind Ron to stay on the correct side of the road, particularly when exiting circles and making turns. After awhile it becomes second nature.
Malahide is a great small town on the coast and we were anxious to visit our first "Castle". It's a great one. They also have a very easy and free parking lot close to the castle. After purchasing our tickets we joined other tourists to wait for our tour guide. The tour encompasses the history of the Talbot family which dates back to 1175 and stretches forward about 800 years. Their name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The last Talbot occupied the castle until 1975. It is filled with original furnishings and the guides are well-versed in stories about the family and the castle.
There are many beautiful wall adornments throughout the castle. One of several castles that are fully furnished so it is easy to imagine how the family lived and worked in the space.
After touring the castle we spent several more hours in the gardens, butterfly house and having tea. One of the joys of having a car is the ability to spend as long as you like wherever you like.
The butterfly pavilion was an unexpected bonus to the day. We really enjoyed watching these delicate creatures as they traveled the space. It's unusual to actually see the caterpillars as they ready themselves for the chrysalis stage.
In addition to the beautiful formal gardens we ran across structures like this Victorian Glass House (greenhouse). It was quite stunning.
After a couple of hours spent touring the castle and grounds we were ready for some tea. Fortunately, Malahide Castle has a great cafe and a beautiful terrace where you can enjoy your tea and the gardens at the same time.
They have a number of great offerings including vegan and vegetarian. Rustic tables overlook the formal gardens and refills for tea are readily available. In Ireland milk and cubed sugar are almost always on the table. Try the brown sugar cubes in your tea. It gives it a bit of a caramel flavor that is really rich and delightful.
We got back on the road and drove a relatively short distance along the coast to Skerries where we were spending the night at the Redbank House a local B&B. Very nice hosts and noted for their great breakfasts. The B&B is in the center of town and walking distance to everything. After checking in we headed for the beach and the Marina. It was an absolutely gorgeous day--sunny and warm, shirtsleeve weather.
Skerries boasts an extensive and user friendly coastal walk extending from the Marina for several kilometers along the coast. Skerries has a really wide beach for bathing and exploring. You'll see lots of families enjoying the sand and the water.
The Marina area is not very large but it has some really nice restaurants and cafes overlooking the water. It was packed this day as everyone was out enjoying the warm weather. They have benches and some walls set up outside the restaurants and we got our pints and settled on a bench. We were joined by a great local family and met their children as we talked about living in Skerries and the local area.
Before going inside for dinner we were treated to this beautiful picture of the setting sun. Dinner was wonderful as we dined on local fish and chatted with some other visitors to the area. My husband and I are not super social but it is really easy in Ireland to strike up a conversation. The Irish are a very sociable and happy people and they love sharing stories about their lives and their country. Just be friendly and ask questions.
No matter what you order, it comes with a choice of potato. Even lasagna comes with potatoes. Since Ireland is an island there is an abundance of seafood. We sampled the local dishes wherever we were. www.stoopyourhead.ie This is a very busy restaurant and was recommended by the family we met. It's best to make a reservation. We hadn't, so ate at the bar which turned out just fine.
Today we visited two places and spent a lot of time in each. We could have chosen to see more sites but what we saw we really enjoyed. We weren't rushed and had the opportunity to visit with locals and explore the offerings of a smaller area. Great day