Monday, March 23, 2009

A weekend of Castles...

One of the benefits of this over talked about 'Recession' is that the hotel industry has climbed down from its lofty tower and started to charge accessible rates in a bid to win customers and stay afloat. I spotted one such deal at Christmas (The Castles of Ireland promotion!). Now not one to hang around... and using the excuse that himself and myself have our significant birthday at this time, I booked it for a fraction and prayed for a babysitter.

Thankfully, my mum as always obliged and plans for operation escape were hatched. Just before we left last Friday, Lucy looked a little peaky (now why doesn't that surprise me!!!! She has previous!). I gave her a spoon of calpol, then sent her to school and crossed my fingers. An hour later mammy guilt was setting in, so in order to reassure myself I popped into the school yard and was so happy to see that she was well and smiling. So we hit the M50 and headed on our merry way.

Two and half hours later we stopped in our first castle - Bunratty, Co Limerick. We made a pit stop at Durty Nellies pub there for a toasted sarnie.

Then we arrived at our first destination - Dromoland Castle. Wow what a place to visit. Absolutely beautiful grounds and a magnificent setting. We were bowled over by how posh it was - valet parking, concierge welcoming you personally at the door etc etc. God I could get used to this LOL!

Anyway, we checked in and then shortly afterwards asked to change room as we got a connecting family room which was paper thin and you could hear the couple next door whispering and then sneezing! Not good enough for 5 star I'm afraid!

Eventually we got another room and went for a walk around the whole estate. This was the view from the otherside of the lake

I have to say the staff in the hotel were lovely - really attentive and nothing was too much trouble. Even Lily the resident pony was obliging for a photo!

Then I rang home and sure enough Lucy had a temperature (aaarrrghhh!) and if that wasn't bad enough himself came down with the same thing during our 5 course dinner in the ever so lovely dining room. My poor guy did his very best not to make a fuss but by 10pm he was green in the face, so we called it a day and skipped the residents bar.

The next morning thankfully, himself was in better form, bug had passed quickly and we had a lovely breakfast overlooking the lake. I rang home and Lucy was back to normal so happy days! I had been given a lovely surprise of a voucher for the spa from my brother and sisters as a birthday present so off I trotted to get myself buffed within an inch of my life at 10am. Two hours later I floated out of the spa a new woman and looking 10 years younger LOL!

Next stop was a trip to Lehinch for lunch and then onwards to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a beautiful day - the sun was shining so a perfect day for the cliffs...

I can never get enough of this place - they always mesmerize me everytime I see them.

As we had no kids with us we went a little further up the cliffs. My hands were breaking out in sweats when we got this close to the edge and at times I couldn't look at some of the tourists who were perched over the edge waving their cameras into the abyss.

'Eh hello...guys can you not read English???'

So after the cliffs we went back to Ennis. I dropped himself off to see the Rugby match (Up IRELAND!)while I went in search of craft shops heehee! Later I caught the end of the match which was a fantastic buzz (Grand Slam Rugby!) and we stayed in town for a great night of celebration. Unfortunately, a few hours later it was my turn to talk to the big white telephone and I was really unwell all through the night with the same bug.

Next morning (mothers day) I could hardly muster the energy to get out of bed to check out and we went on our way (clutching a plastic bag over the bumpy roads!) to our next destination -Ashford castle. All I can say is OMG! This place is in a different class altogether. The scale of the grounds, the setting -it was just stunning. Once again we were overwhelmed by the service of the staff-personally greeting us at the door etc. The best bit is that they had actually read the email I sent them telling them we were celebrating our 80th (40th x 2)birthday and gave us a complimentary upgrade followed by champagne - whoohoo! We were given this beautiful room which was taken by Maureen O'Hara when she was filming 'THE QUIET MAN' in the 1950's and it was just beautiful..You can see it here if you look closely on the RHS marked in red..

Anyway as I was still feeling icky, unfortunately the whole Ashford experience was a bit wasted on me as I crawled into bed at 4pm and ordered tea and toast and slept until the next day. If anything this has given me an excuse to go back someday!

Even so it was such a great weekend - funny when you look back now! A bonus is that I lost 2 lbs at weigh in! 'Every cloud' ...and all that!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Elaine, I loved reading this and looking at the fantastic photos, I want to go and i want to go NOW, dont we live in a beautiful country? You look fantastic outside Dirty Nellies, I suppose that was before the drinks lol. Hope you're back to normal now and getting ready for the big celebrations. xx