by Nancy Dorrans
I realize it is November but my thoughts are on October.
October is a long month… and, as you know the weather can be quite variable to say the least.
I once went to see stand-up comedian Jackie Mason and he had this to say about October, “You never know what to wear in October! You dress for cold and then are way over dressed by lunchtime! It can be lovely and sunny, or sleeting… October is so unpredictable! Personally I prefer February… It is short, cold and predictable, like my father!”
Ha! He’s funny that Jackie!
I love the long autumn month with its colors, crisp apples and first frosty mornings. October is a great month to get away, too. Adventures abound, hurricanes calm down, promotions and availability pop up which can lead to some amazingly affordable experiences.
Opportunity knocked for me in early October, as I had been invited by the Irish Tourist Board to spend six nights on an educational tour of Ireland along with twenty other travel counselors from all over the US. I’m now totally smitten and completely enchanted by the Emerald Isle.
Our hosts packed into one week what could have taken a month to digest properly. We started in Dublin, continued on to Northern Ireland and back down south of Dublin to the Wicklow Mountains.
Soon after we arrived, we were whisked off to the Guinness Storehouse for a pint, lunch and tour. After lunch, we were treated to a comical and informative Viking Splash Tour around the main sights of Dublin City – by land and by water on a World War II amphibian. Our guide couldn’t have loved his job more.
Later, I took a step back in time into the Old Trinity Library to read a few artful words on a page of the Book of Kells. Nothing like being there and soaking in the history and spirit(s) of historical Dublin!
Ireland is becoming quite the Foodie nation, and like Portland, is embracing small farms and the farm to table trend.
The Irish breakfast is meant to be savored, but I did not have enough room or time to do it justice. That first morning I filled my plate with lovely baked breads, pastries, cheeses, meats, yogurt and fruit… Those were just the appetizers . A full Irish breakfast was still to be served!
Whiskey in your porridge? I didn’t have room for that but others did. Maybe next time.
Belfast was next, a lively historic and industrial city full of pride and beauty. There are literally hundreds of hand painted murals scattered around the city that share the history and culture of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
After a lovely pub lunch and tour of the immense Titanic Belfast museum, we were treated to pre-dinner drinks at our Culloden Estate and Spa on the slopes of Hollywood Hills!
Our guide discretely pointed out a quite famous musician sitting in the lounge. He wasn’t performing but staying at the resort, looking for inspiration. Although it might’ve been a “marvelous night for a moon dance,” we were instead treated to a night out at the Dirty Duck Alehouse in Belfast. And this was only day two of our weeklong whirlwind adventure!
Thanks a million to the Irish Tourist board and Fáilte Ireland. All in all, Ireland is good Craic, and I’m anxious to return!