Growing up in Scotland to an Irish mother, and father with Irish roots, I was tagged Irish, or at least Irish-Scots.
Even after 13 years in Ireland I’m still seen as Scottish. I don’t know why, was it the accent, the kilt…?
But, in truth, I will always have two homes.
So, on the day we move out of the home we have filled for 13 and a half hours here are my five Irish homes:
Co. Wicklow: The Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl both agree that growing up by the sea in Greystones was a privilege.
And you can ALWAYS get a coffee or hot chocolate. Some happily queue for veggies’ heaven Happy Pear https://thehappypear.ie.
Me? I prefer the eccentric Tomasso and Caffe Delle Stelle https://greystones.ie/caffe-delle-stelle/.
Greystones is framed by Bray Head and the town harbour. Great cliff walk and train ride through the Brunel tunnel.
Also Glendalough, the Meeting of the Waters, Avoca. the inspiration for Ballykissangel, and the spectacular Powerscourt with its waterfalls.
Brill in Belfast City
Belfast: The aforementioned Son and Heir has relocated to Belfast, another excuse to go up north, as if I needed any.
Myself and the Scary One have obviously been up to see him.
We stayed and can recommend the https://www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxO6shb615wIVArDtCh0Zyw_DEAAYASAAEgJ_LvD_BwE.
While when I get the chance to zip up there for, say The Open at Royal Portrush, with Discover Northern Ireland https://discovernorthernireland.com/about-northern-ireland/19-reasons-to-visit-northern-ireland/, or Van Morrison at the Europa http://europa-belfast.hotel-rv.com/index.htm?lbl=ggl-en&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7taG1L615wIVFODtCh0c2Q-dEAAYAyAAEgKsnPD_BwE and staying at the Grand Central Hotel https://www.grandcentralhotelbelfast.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjvK297615wIVR7DtCh3wmA7kEAAYASAAEgIb-fD_BwE.
Monaghan country life
Teamwork? I find the destination and I leave Herself to organise us getting there, so is it my fault if I give her the wrong dates?
So when we turned up in Monaghan one week early we had to rely on the kindness of the townfolk… Justin Asian Street Food, Monaghan County Museum and Brehon Brewery.
We did make our high tea meeting a couple of weeks later at Castle Leslie where Paul and Heather Mills got married. Let It Be!
Donegal land of my mother
I’ve been going to Donegal all my life… to visit my grandparents, my auntie, and doing an annual pilgrimage with my Mum since.
We always stay in the hotel in the nearest town to her Brockagh homestead, Jackson’s http://www.jacksonshotel.ie in Ballybofey where the Irish Coffee was born.
My mum was the first intake of the Brockagh school which is now home to the patriot Isaac Butt Heritage Centre https://www.discoverireland.ie/Arts-Culture-Heritage/isaac-butt-heritage-centre/10716.
Where photos of her and her family is up on the boards.
While we also love to visit Portnoo with its deserted island and The Flight of the Earls Memorial and Doon Well holy site in Rathmullan.
My rare oul’ times in Dublin
Flagging it up: Temple Bar
Twelve and a half years of it I spent in a soulless, friendless office… but thankfully my pal Nicky runs the iconic InterContinental next door… The InterCon… what a Ledge!
Temple Bar is where the tourists come but you can pick and choose and get away from it all at the Gibson Hotel https://www.thegibsonhotel.ie/?nst=0&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwoCdtd615wIViLTtCh0WCwqCEAAYAiAAEgLDsfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.
I’ve spent many of the best days of my life in Dublin…
Mary’s Bar and Hardware Shop off Grafton Street https://marysbar.ie/?utm_source=maps&utm_campaign=gmb is the pick of my pubs although I’d be shot if I didn’t mention The Workshop Gastro Pub http://www.theworkshopgastropub.com.
Chapter One https://www.chapteronerestaurant.com does the best steaks while Chai Yo Teppanyaki https://www.chaiyo.ie the best Chinese while Wendy Wu Tours http://www.wendywutours.ie the best Chinese New Year spread.
You want museums? Yes, there are the obvious attractions, the Book of Kells in Trinity College Dublin and Dublin Castle.
But I give you The Little Museum of Dublin https://www.littlemuseum.ie/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5-2-u_y15wIViKztCh2XGQ6dEAAYASAAEgJYS_D_BwE, the Hugh Lane Gallery http://www.hughlane.ie with Francis Bacon’s recreated studio.
And Kilmainham Jail http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie where the 1916 leaders were executed including the gangrenous Scot James Connollly, strapped to his chair.
MEET YOU BACK IN IRELAND