A Travellerspoint blog

May 13

Head north fayre maidens


Last day before our return and the weather is sunny and bright! This is an unstructured day so decisions were being made around the breakfast tables as to what to do. I heard a lot of people saying shopping! Some were going to the Kilmainhaim Gaol (jail). We decided to take the train to Belfast and see the Titanic museum. Getting there on train is dead easy from this hotel. The Clydecourt is located in the tony section of Ballsbridge and the train station (Lansdowne) is a mere 5 minute walk. The cost here is the same as Calgary for a ride and we only are five stops from Connolly Station where you transfer for the North train. I was able to book last night and reserve our seats - thankfully we got the seats that faced in the same direction of our travels, both ways!

We had many plans on this free day of what we wanted to see, but not working with an experienced person we had over estimated what we could actually achieve. We had wanted to go to the Titanic Museum, take a black cab to the "peace wall" and see some of the street art and go to lunch. Originally we even had thought about getting to the Giants causeway as well, but Paddy Ryan basically laughed and said not by train you won't. 😂

So Titanic museum was the first stop. Getting off the train, we were approached by a fella offering to take us around in his cab. So I engaged him in some conversation regarding pricing and said I'll get back to him. We asked a train station person how to take the train to the Titanic quarter, again only one stop from Belfast Central station, when the fella came back to start regaling us with the times he was available and that he had a doctors appointment to see a specialist, blah blah blah. The train station person came back over and gave the fella the "fak off" stance and then he was gone. Charlatan? Who knows, but we took the train instead.

The dockyards/lands in Belfast are massive and there is some reclamation taking place. Mind you this reclamation could have started back in the Celtic Tiger years and has laid fallow since. The museum itself is gorgeous from the exterior and the inside is brilliant as well. They even have a gondola ride, a la Disney, inside to walk you thru the ship building process. The ides of the museum is to give some history as to the magnitude H&W and the Whitestar lines had on the city of Belfast. I just didn't realize its economic importance to Ireland and full impact it had on migration to North America. Www.titanicbelfast.com an unguided tour of the museum an easily take over 2 hours, we cut our visit short to 1.5 hours due to time restrictions. 131B32EAEA8AD841A07D94EB0A44F5E5.jpg131A7B590957EB51158D8192DD8A6E6C.jpg90_13199B7AE503F11BE4A02DC62A1F9D1A.jpg132728B7B9CF5232F114F4F5BAF49657.jpg1326905AA374796F5054D2C3A4DC21B2.jpg1325D323C81491475E2263521E90E95E.jpg

We take a taxi from the museum for lunch at a place walking distance close to the train station. At 2 pm we go to Tedfords right on Lagan river by the Memorial statue1330A712D42C77310680A6C58D087DFC.jpg and we are the only people in the place. I guess we missed the lunch rush. 3 course lunch for 20£ and it was stunning. It was nice to able to walk back before the 2 hr trip into Dublin.

Our last night together is at the Ha'penny comedy club, some of the comedians were awesome. The students brought white shirts for signing and the MC Connor had great fun laughing at us. Was a fun time and I think the rest of the gang will be raising us with Guinness "jokes" on the plane home. Thanks everyone, 'twas a fun trip!!1BAA8355DB31B1FCFE315E71193E9C76.jpg1BAB35429E29AC2959B3DE362E5F6B18.jpg1BAB9A41AE6D6C9EBF256E5B1FFBEC2B.jpg1BACB97EC70A427E1D6852F68FBD0704.jpg1BAD2558D8A42EC46BE600E05765928E.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 11:20 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

May 12

Back to Dublin


Great to have a sleep in day with bags to coach at 1015. Very civilized indeed. Our big stop today is at the Marker Hotel Www.themarkerhoteldublin.com

After a lovely lunch we were toured around the hotel by Senior Sales Executive, Erica Shiels.F81217CCCB49137144812CC1C2CEBA6B.jpg Erica was here for the pre-opening in May 2013 and as a hotel school graduate this was the opportunity of a lifetime. The Marker is a very contemporary hotel, especially so for Ireland. Part of the Leading hotels of the world group, this is a luxury 5 star property designed by Emanuel Eros Mateus of Portugal. The hotel is centrally located with new live theatre venues across the street, walking distance to the music and sports arena, tech companies (Facebook and Google) and insurance companies are all close by.

Market mix is Corporate mid week, convention center is close by and they often use Marker meeting space, and leisure on the weekend.
Walked over to the conference space. 700 sq meter.3 break out rooms plus all av savvy. White walls allow for clients to decorate. 200 sit down banquet in the marker suite. Beer on tap in the pre function space. Smoking space outside. Ease of access for equipment drops. 187 bed rooms total. 220 staff. Modern art local Irish artists. Key card access to all floors. Opera and micros systems used. Corridors are quite dark, so it gets guests to automatically lower their voice when they exit the lifts. The luxury corner suite, one of 14, has a great views of the dock. All rooms have access to a secure VPN for all travelers. Heated floors and towel racks. International adapter station for the guests at the desk in the room. Rates are revenue managed. F810C8F2EBD289F770D6194C6DE6CB00.jpgF80DFCDAFC76D738A92112D9C4611C01.jpgF80D031DD828B88CFAFCAC6B5BEC42C9.jpgF80C3220DD1B99660209E806EB74DB8D.jpgF80B12EEF6F3DFA98E6E8BBD5B48C28E.jpgF80A3653A855BC8358CFB1F8E91A9E51.jpgF80838DFDF8F7189E2F5188387305653.jpg
Run of the mill room use white marble for night stand and bathrooms. These ones are 33-35m square, so are massive by European standard. Floor to ceiling windows and unique shape of the rooms also amplify space. The hotel likes to focus on the Irish purchase where possible.
External company takes care of wifi. Up to 100 mb available to space and they can play /adjust Boost levels to various parts of the building. (Please note - this was the first public space that behaved exactly like Shaw go-wifi on our tour.)
Roof top patio holds 120 pax maximum. There is a glass enclosed space as well to enjoy the views which is very necessary as Ireland is very weather permitting. Open to the public Thursday- Sunday, offering tapas plate service. 5 kitchens in total. One for the roof top, 1 for bar, 1 for brasserie. And 2 for banquets. They have been enjoying an 80% on average occupancy.

Posted by alitabrown 23:24 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

May 11 post script

Karaoke in Kilkenny


i have no pictures to verify how many people went to Karaoke or who sang alone..sang in drag...sang in a raincoat...sang in pairs...sang like ABBA. But I can tell you it was a lot of fun!!

An interesting thing happened on the way back to our hotel, The Kilford Arms. They locked all their doors and even the people who had not sang/drank a lot had troubles figuring out how to get in. This is a great story for Facilities Management. Why wouldn't they just put the swipe key access entry pads for post night arrivals on the exterior doors? We all agreed that was very strange.

Posted by alitabrown 15:23 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

May 10

But now I realize it's really the 11th.


I truly must be in the holiday brain mode as all my dates are messed up. Duh. Well at least I know I'm in Ireland and in the fine town of Kilkenny - pronounced like kill Kenny. Fact! Ok so what did we do today?!

Up early, notice a pattern perhaps that's why I can't keep my days straight 😜, and we be on da road. First stop is at Midleton, home of the Jameson Experience for a photo op at the largest copper stIll I've ever seen.. AA5F45FF9760E259E79F1169947C35B7.jpgAA5ECA20CFAE6A69C38268B7C854478C.jpg180_AA6007E3A3A24EBA3D7DB4070E7502E0.jpg

Back on the coach to the town of Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland and home of the crystal factory which first opened in1783 . AA8F67F7DA732D65CE52FDBBA166CC24.jpgAA8FD3BA0FD8FDF910BD847CF7E660AC.jpg
Current Waterford factory we visited opened 2010 to produce their high end show items only. Lots of other factories around the world (Slovenia) still produce to the Waterford standard for everyday crystal stuff here are some examples of the high end stuff. AACD5C22B45F3D77B0B89E47E1346EEF.jpgAACCD464D643164CB9C5CBD66D5285C9.jpgAACC5F18D45630DCC96395365FC1AC87.jpgAACBF58BA31C524D232A2AD9B67DAAA1.jpgAACB8CA1069332F69DC1ACD4C211B6B2.jpg

Before anybody gets to that level one has to apprentice and work on the master bowl - this takes about 5 years. All apprentices produce this piece. AAADD9F0BCA0183DDE612FF78A58392D.jpg After about 3 more years for the students reach the master level. Waterford has just hired some young designers.

Use beech wood molds for high quality items and cast iron for every day. Nowadays the crystal is made from silica, potash ash and lithord or lead - 33% lead. The Wedge cut is what gives Waterford its deep grooves. The flat (rhindau) cut used for handles and necks. Engravers use copper dremils. Hydrochloric acid baths (approx 50 minutes) are needed to clean the glass for sale. This is done off site. Stamp of excellence is placed on all sanctioned pieces. AAF4C924032A9BCC58D475369310A511.jpgAB53004FCC047E7689BE50B69125E17E.jpg

Back on the coach after some serious purchasing has taken place. Lucky to get the kids out of there with their wallets intact, and off we go to visit Dunbrody Country House in Arthurtown. www.dunbrodyhouse.com This Georgian manor was built in 1830 on over 200 acres. Kevin and his wife had a vision for an estate when they purchased it over 20 years ago after they returned from Canada. The property is now listed in Ireland's blue book and is a member of small luxury hotels of the world.

Chef Dundon is a member of Slow foods and likes to purchase local. He Works with Irish beef, and lets the food speak for its self. He has created a fruit garden and a vegetable and herb garden on the property. As his manor house is in the Wexford area, he benefits from being in a temperate microclimate for Ireland. He also has added a third outlet on the property to attract the locals. An Irish pub on site was created for the sum of €35k by up cycling items from his manor house and from other local sites. He has a very limited menu 3 choices and they all cost €10. This has been a very shrewd move as it encouraged the locals to see that they could come to the "Rich Place".

Aside from the pub, there are two other food outlets, one named after a restaurant in the Hotel MacDonald Edmonton - the harvest room. Chef Kevin Dundon is a TV personality as well having 2 cooking shows on TV as well. Chef tapes one of his TV shows at the manor, where he also runs a cookery school. To augment the restaurants work has been started to have an on site brewery called ABC - Arthurtown Brewing Company - naturally Chef is growing Prima Donna hops on site. To round out this amazing establishment, there is also a spa on site. Very textural. Suede on walls and shag carpet Food related treatments used such as Sorbet tea to start, coffee, lemon therapies and chocolate to finish . The slogan for the spa is "For the love of self" while all other aspects use the slogan "for the love of food".

Chef also writes for the national newspaper and has written 5 books, all of which are available for sale at the Manor Myers the students bought and we had Chef sign them all. There truly is a balanced combination of contemporary and old at Dunbrody Country House. He even used social media too: @dunbrodylocal. ps did we mention that we also had a delightful lunch too?

Posted by alitabrown 11:22 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

May 9

Kinsale on Mother's day


Today's plan is to go south to the resort town of Kinsale and have Paddy show us around the links of the Old Head Gold Course, followed by a lunch at the Vista restaurant and then a whiskey tasting. Kinsale is a lovely picturesque seaside tourist fishing village. Colourful buildings fill the harbour as well as numerous little pubs and shops, many of which close on a Sunday. (Who remembers stores being closed on a Sunday?) 8030BB3CFFF46018EA3C2211CDDAB479.jpg802FD2E995DB939F06C296A2BEE93865.jpg

Before the day starts I am blessed to receive the first of many Mother's Day wishes - love you guys too!

At 11 am we meet Paddy in Belgooly at the garage station and Follow him into Kinsale, down to the Old Head. This weeken, there are lots of vintage European cars in town. I trust someone got a good picture of some of them, I did not.

The Old head GC is just 20 years old and sits on the old head promontory and is subject to severe westerly winds. Lusitania sank 17 miles north of the lighthouse. The greens are watered daily not because they need moisture but to remove the salt water. The course is an 18 hole, par 72 Costing
€220 per round. They use primarily caddies and are just installing computers onto the golf carts to ensure/manage where the go.
All 15 rooms €329/night face the sea and are set into the side of the promontory - they almost a look like bunkers, pardon the pun. Most guests come for 2 nights. N#1 priority at the old head is Golf!7FB17C83A50B0993080C749A7A086DFC.jpg7FB0BDAB9D8B35D41522CE7817ABC0DC.jpg7FB015DBB0A69F91E8AC913DE2267780.jpg7FAF3BACE28419A5880C5750075700F4.jpg7FAE901D0FCE014F6EF76079AF87403B.jpg7FADF1ADB973BF44C1199656B0F6BB0C.jpg7FAD5481CC8A3F5B02F5003A8B98DBC7.jpg

Visited the dining Room, the bar (the Lusitania) and the pro shop. This club is so highbrow that they have a landing pad for choppers. Not unlikely for a four some from Killarney to spend €1000 to fly down.
Old head emblem - The stone of accord - used instead of lawyers for a handshake. The clan who lived here were the De Courcey's. Course is only 20 years old - environmental friendly build. Fought with the locals to be built but now the golf course is the main employer for Kinsale.
If the course is fogged in all golfing stops and there is a No kids allowed policy.
Each room is named and the story is placed in the foyer of each room. Voya product lines in the bathrooms are environmentally friendly.

We go for a little beach visit as the weather has started to turn very Irish. The wind is blowing and rain is threatening. Some of the students decide to give the water a try. 802F3FE1A36826987B699CBDC8867ACA.jpg802EAB83AC37B1501BF90C381C533078.jpg802EAB83AC37B1501BF90C381C533078.jpg

After lunch at the Vista Restaurant we go for Whiskey tasting with Connor Ryan, no relation, at his pub- the Folk House. He gives us whiskey lecture and we taste 4 Irish whiskeys. The highlights:
In the 1980's Irish whiskey was mandated to have the following :must be aged in wooden barrel min 3 years, must be aged in Ireland and then spirit needs to be min 40% abv. FYI-Only 2% of whiskey is evaporated in Irish whiskey barrels due to temperate climate. (vs. India 18% and U.S. 12%). Powers or Tullamore Dew (high pot still count) whiskies are the best for Irish coffee. Single malt - 100% single malted barley. Pot still - uses 50/50 malted and unmalted barley which gives the whiskey an oilier richer flavour - more character.

Single grain - 8034513B04346D294F805476BE90C755.jpg
Greenore 8yr - Kilbeggan distillery. 90% non-GMO corn from France and 10 %malted barley. (provides sugar - means the barley has been soaked for at least 50 hrs). Anthracite smoked grain (no smoke) Continuous still. Aged in grade B1 bourbon barrels. Barrels used 3 times. Used sherry barrels as well. Barrels help to provide nuances. Light grain with honey and oak, a little banana. Silky smooth on palate.

Jameson Black Barrel 80333DCDA57A035EFCD0FE1BC226A395.jpg
- called that so is double charred. Min 7 yrs blend of grain (continuous) and pot still. Bourbon (b1,2 and 3) and sherry (s1 and 2) cask aged. Good for a whiskey sour. Long finish nice spice. Always blend their whiskies.

Teeling single malt - 8032E336B02F422B89E8397CE0219F98.jpg
100% malted barley only from one distillery.
25 yr old and 12 yr old Whiskey blended together from a single distillery. Use sherry, port, Madeira and burgundy and cab sauv barrels. (Cold chill filtered helps to ensure no hazing takes place in products less then 43%) this product is not chill filtered and is 46% abv. Lots of 25 yr old components hence the fuller and spicier taste. Teeling makes a "poitin" or "new make" spirit whereby no oak is used - great for cocktails.

Redbreast 12 yr 8033BCD4F40138D21D02CD6825473132.jpg
New focus for Ireland. Triple distilled. First pot stilled product - super smooth. Sherry influenced (oloroso barrels) and B1and b2. Bottled at 40%abv. My personal favorite!!! Smooth , slightly sweet not the spice.

Growth is at about 20%per annum. Displacing scotch and rum - long drink category. I think the students enjoyed themselves too. As we leave the tasting the rain has begun. 8032751ACE7EE9F1E75D15AB66F4E1C3.jpg8032033EA41E8A7F3FB98C985E42745B.jpg80317573CB5767375373BE410CE08EC7.jpg80311236A77B8A5A7442FDD5C1F1B3C0.jpg

Posted by alitabrown 15:17 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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