Planning for Ireland

My Birthday Lunch at Den Gammel Kro (Old Pub) 1685 Odense

Last year I had my birthday breakfast in Odense with my mum (above), followed by a perusing of one of my favourite little towns and then a dinner with one of my favourite cousins, Kurt and his daughter and two grandchildren. It was a very, happy day that involved lots of tea, food, walking and family.

In my life I’ve only had one birthday party (and I was 31!) and one cake (again at 31). But that doesn’t mean I’m not one to celebrate – I am. But my birthday has always been celebrated with adventure – a tradition began by my father. He’s take me into “the big city” for the day (either by coach or train, so exciting!) and we’d have a fancy dinner out and I’d learn the history of every building. So that’s why I associate travel with my birthday and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. The only downside is that having a birthday in February means that more often than not, snow is involved!

My birthday is in exactly one month and it looks like I’m going to be (unexpectedly!) in Ireland, a place I’ve never been to. I’ll be focusing on the Southwest with a base in Cork then 5 nights in Dublin before heading home.

If anyone has any travel advice for the areas above, please let me know.

(And just to let you know, I’ll be starting a Girls Guide to City Life, Dublin guide shortly!)

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  • Reply Amy JoNo Gravatar 23 Jan ’08 at 4:32 am

    Treat yourself to a meal at Ballymaloe House. It isn’t in the city of Cork, but if I recall, it isn’t too far of a drive.


  • Reply LeighNo Gravatar 23 Jan ’08 at 12:43 pm

    I traveled to the town of Kinsale in July and fell in love with it. It is on the coast and less than an hour from Cork. If you have time I would encourage you to explore the pretty town. Happy (almost) birthday.

  • Reply Shannon KathleenNo Gravatar 24 Jan ’08 at 2:30 am

    What a coincidence! I will be taking my first trip to Ireland in June and my plans are exactly as yours! I’ll be staying in Cork but spending a few nights in Dublin as well. Have a wonderful trip and a happy birthday!

  • Reply ElleNo Gravatar 2 Feb ’08 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing the picture of your birthday tea w/ mum – seeing those tins brought tears to my eyes! I have one of the very same which was my Danish grandmothers; I use it for tea at work. I only have a few things of hers – an enameled pill case, several tins, and a teeny stoneware vase. But I find great joy in using those things on a daily basis. I think she is who instilled in me the understanding that things that are functional should also be beautiful/interesting. I am really enjoying your website/blog!

  • Reply juliaNo Gravatar 12 Feb ’08 at 5:50 pm

    Definitely go to Ballymaloe for a meal, and then head west, Clonakility is pretty village, Kinsale is also very lovely, more shopping, and some good restuarants. As you head west the country side gets wilder, Skibbereen is not really worth stopping at, Schull is pretty, Mizen Head is worth stopping at. There are a couple of lovely shops in Schull, Enibas sells a wide range of contempory irish and international jewellery, Pebbles stocks a great selection of linen and ‘natural’ clothing, there is also a chocolatier – Gwen’s Chocolates….hopefully the weather will be glorious for you.

  • Reply lauraNo Gravatar 14 Feb ’08 at 9:01 pm

    Ballymaloe is lovely, but also Fishy Fish Cafe (cash only, no reservations) in Kinsale and Casino House in Kilbrittan for something really special. Both Bib Gourmands. Ballymaloe is near Garryvoe, 25 minutes drive from Cork City. Kinsale is 14 miles from the Cork suburbs.

    Skibbereen has a very interesting famine history and is a lovely town with places such as Lissard house and Gardens which are well worth a visit! I don’t know who said it’s not worth bothering with, but I don’t agree! I spent all my childhood summers in Skibbereen. Skibbereen is also close to Baltimore, which is your gateway to Sherkin Island and Cape Clear Island.

    Schull is lovely but can be dead during the winter. (Like anywhere in West Cork). It’s also at its best when viewed from a yacht on a trip around Long Island.

    Glandore is a lovely place too stop for an hour or two.
    Hayes’ Pub up the village has great views.

    The Beara Penninsula is well worth a drive, it is unspoilt and less busy than the Dingle Penninsula or the Ring of Kerry.

    If you are going to Kerry, then places such as Valentia Island are lovely and Knightstown.

    If you find yourself in Dingle, try the ice-cream at Murphy’s. icecreamireland.com

    In Cork city itself, the English market is not to be missed and the Farm Gate Cafe upstairs in the English Market.

    In Dublin, have afternoon tea in the Merrion Hotel, opposite Leinster House (which houses Dáil Eireann, the Irish Parliament). The newly renovated Shelbourne is worth visiting for a drink or afternoon tea also. But the Merrion has a better contemporary Irish art collection to look at.

    For Art Galleries try the Peppercannister near Pepper Cannister Church, Solomon Gallery (Powerscourt Town House).

    For fresh sea air in Dublin, take the Dart to Dun Laoghaire and walk on one of the pier walls. If you walk the east pier, you can wander down into Glasthule afterwards and sample Caviston’s fine fair.

    If you are on the West Pier (dart stop seapoint and monkstown) then the Purty Kitchen is the nearest eatery.

    Continuing onwards from Glasthule is the village of Dalkey, with many nice places to eat and some nice boutiques and art galleries. A walk up Vico Road is well worth the effort for the views down towards Bray and the Sugarloaf.

    Avoca Cafe on Suffolk street is great for lovely food. Top floor cafe, basement take away salad counter with some counter space for quick bites.

    The National Gallery on Nassau Street is also worth a stop as in Kilmainham Gaol and Collins Barracks.

    For shopping in Dublin, venture off Grafton Street towards Powerscourt Townhouse and the streets west of that. Grafton Street is terribly boring and just like an English high-street.

    For food after shopping in the nearest suburbs to the city centre, take the Luas from St. Stephen’s Green to Ranelagh and try Diep Noodle or Mint (michelin star just awarded).

    Other good restaurants include L’Ecrivain, Bang Cafe, Ely Wine Bar.

    Place to avoid like the plague in Dublin – Temple Bar at night time. Especially towards the weekend.

    For lovely accomodation and restaurants try the blue book website.

    For good food recommendations:

    Also, John and Sally McKenna’s Bridgestone Guides.

    Enjoy your trip.

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