Today, I had a plan. I would go to school, teach my class, come home, and then go to the closest equivalent I can find to a Walmart/Target for groceries and a few household items. But then…it was cold. Cold and rainy. Cold and rainy and windy and suddenly upon returning home from class I found myself unable to leave the small area in front of my space heater, much less my apartment.
Luckily this large amount of time spent in my apartment reminded me that, today being Thursday, I owe the wordpress world a little blast to the past! So, today I’m going to give you the run down of a quick jaunt I took in Ireland this May.
So why was I in Ireland? Well as it happens, one of my best friends did her teacher training abroad there this past spring. Another best friend and I were incredibly envious of her journey to the lush green land of charming accents and beautiful scenery. So we plotted. And schemed. And purchased plane tickets with an obscene amount of hindrances and irritations. And then, the day after we graduated from college, we found ourselves flying across the Atlantic to pay our darling friend a visit.
Our friend was staying in a town (city? Really it’s hard to tell, I only saw the quaint downtown area of it) in County Clare called Ennis. Ennis, my darlings, is precious. Lots of row houses, brightly painted storefronts, the ever-present Irish weather of wind, rain, and splotches of sunshine…and my least favorite part, cars driving on the WRONG SIDE of the road. (Never stopped being confusing. Ever.) We made several trips around Ireland, but for this one I shall focus on two amazing visits, the first being to this MARVELOUS cafe called Zest.
Zest, my friends, is where taste buds go to fall in love. Although a bit on the pricey side this place is truly worth it. My friend and her fellow housemate frequented the restaurant and thus it was a must-visit for them when we arrived. The sandwiches are huge and filling, the desserts are mouthwatering, and the service is extremely friendly, even to poor bewildered Americans who forget to get silverware (oops.) The day being chilly, I felt in the mood for something hot, and thus ordered a thick, warm seafood chowder to bring a little life back into myself, which was accompanied by huge slabs of fresh, thick bread. And butter. Always the butter…although I admit I sort of ignored it to use the bread as a chowder-eating tool. One heck of a lunch, friends.Followed the chowder up with that beautiful little orange and chocolate tart you see below. It was literally a fudgey chocolate all the way through laced with hints of orange, and it was pretty much all I could do to not, you know, lick the plate like
I really wanted to an uncivilized human being.
Anyway, moving on from the food kick before I drool on my keyboard…Our hostesses still had to attend school to teach, so my friend and I (and the friend of the roommate of the friend I was visiting…perhaps I should use names in the future? This is confusing.) decided to spend one day venturing out on our own in Ireland, and went to the very nearby Bunratty Castle via bus (having learned how to use the public transport system from our hostesses. It’s quite lovely and sometimes you even get wifi!)
Bunratty Castle was built sometime in the 15th century (sorry, didn’t write down details in May) although I believe the territory had been occupied for some time before that. The castle features four incredibly cramped and steep stairways leading up and down the various levels where one can view different bedrooms, studies, and a large banquet hall where recreation banquets are held weekly, I believe.
Outside of the castle itself, Bunratty also features a bit of a park tour that contains structures (and one tiny “town”) recreating various home styles across a bit of Ireland’s history and social classes, which are really interesting to look in as each is well furnished and decorated. The grounds are rolling and beautiful, and feature everything from hunting dogs to fat ponies to a “piggery” (STOP Ireland I can’t even with your cuteness!) and a beautiful garden going down the slope of the most elaborate house. Needless to say, we had a fantastic afternoon of exploring.
Well, that was a slightly less detailed post than my usual Throwback Thursday (or really any post in general) but hopefully it will keep you all satisfied for a few days! Saturday I will begin two weeks of playing hostess to various visitors to Paris, so I’m sure there will be more sightseeing and stories to come in the near future!