Wherever I look in Ireland, there is beauty surrounding me.
I’d wake up at first light, pull on a warm sweater. After brewing a warming pot of tea I’d wander out into the gardens to plan my day. What part of the garden needs me right now? Weeding, cultivating, and pruning. Oh, what a lovely way to spend my days. The snapdragons, the snowberries, and forget-me-nots demand attention.
After a morning of garden work/play, I could relax with my lunch and enjoy the view that mother nature and I have created together. Then a walk into the village to purchase the ingredients for dinner. A stroll around town and a visit to my favorite bookstore for a book to read in the afternoon. A perfect day.
But I live here. In the Northeastern U.S.
Not quite as pretty, but it does have it’s moments. Like these.
My day is cold and snow-covered with wind gusts wrapping themselves around my house. Not quite the Irish cottage I photographed last summer, but it’s home.
My mind lightly drifts back to the middle of 2013. Ireland was a destination I’d dreamed about for decades and this past June was the month I achieved my dream vacation (or at least one of them). Somewhere around the middle of the trip, we arrived in Waterford City and were pleased to stay in the Granville Hotel – an historic paragon of Irish hospitality overlooking the River Suir. We traveled about the country and have encountered many examples of Irish hospitality and lovely hotels, but the Granville stands out. Indeed, the hotel has been awarded the Georgina Campbell Hotel of the Year for 2013. No doubt it’s charm and history, well preserved by the same owners since the 1979, combined with the outstanding service and attention to detail have influenced this decision.
The rooms were comfortable and charming. The food in the Bianconi Restaurant within the hotel was the finest in Ireland (in my opinion, of course). Fresh local vegetables, contemporary meals, served by an attentive staff.
All this and a bit of history, too. The hotel was built as a private residence and is best known as the birthplace of Thomas Meagher, who designed the Irish Tricolor flag. The flag was first flown in Waterford City. Thomas Meagher was also a decorated hero of the American Civil War and he subsequently became the Governor of Montana. In honor of this, an American flag also flies outside the Granville Hotel.
Since I enjoy a good walk (especially in Ireland!) and the hotel is within walking distance of a number of historical sites, we wandered freely about the city for hours. Drifting about the small city streets, I remember both being at peace that I was in Ireland and being in awe that I was in Ireland.
Of all the offerings on their breakfast buffet the following morning, I choose an Irish Flahavans porridge. Oatmeal is always my breakfast favorite. But it never tastes like this in America! Ok, perhaps it was the Bailey’s I poured over the porridge. They offer Bailey’s Irish Cream, whiskey, or local honey as a topping. It was hard to pass up the local honey, but how many times will I have the judgement free opportunity to put Bailey’s on my oatmeal?
My Ireland daydreams will continue, but now it’s time to finish clearing out the clutter in my linen closet.