Ireland: A Breath of Fresh Air!


Ireland is a spectacular country that begs to be re-visited again and again. In recent years it has been off-the charts popular for many reasons, but I am convinced that what makes people really embrace the country is that the Irish are unabashedly friendly, welcoming and gregarious! No-one forgets to greet you with sincerity.   Asking “how are you?” “good day?”  “sleep well?” is never a rhetorical question!

This trip with my husband and his parents included stays at some of the most sumptuous castles and manor houses in the world, more than a few pints of Guinness, and plenty of golf!


ireland doonbeg

Wild dunes along the Atlantic ocean. Fantastic golf and spa, outstanding service, killer restaurant, and just 10 minutes from the quaint town of Doonbeg.

A fantastic first round at Doonbeg, walking the ocean course, with a team of lovely caddies!

Wind, ocean, dunes and beach make this course dramatic!

Post play Guinness – it just tastes so darn good! The food throughout was fresh, local and deliciously prepared.


Nothing like kicking off the first night with a 7 course dinner, at the Ocean View Restaurant at Doonbeg.

Accommodations at Doonbeg range from one to four bedroom suites and cottages – perfect for families and golf groups!

Touring in Galway and Connemara with our driver guide, Rob.


Historic grandeur in a 16th century ancestral home to the O’Brien family. Dromoland boasts phenomenal parkland, views, golf and dining. Worth at least a night to feel like royalty!


One of our favorite days was SECRET IRELAND, where we visited several Irish homes for a bit of local culture, tastings and talking to the locals!

A Georgian Manor house that has been restored: complete with dogs, local cheese with balsamic apple syrup, and a story or two….

My mother-in-law takes a turn learning a few steps of traditional Irish dance….


If you are a gin drinker, or even if you are not, you will be blown away with the small batch gin revolution taking place in Ireland – such a fun tasting in a classic shebeen! (Love this definition. Shebeen: an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcoholic liquor and typically regarded as slightly disreputable)

We visited with this lovely man who share the sad history of the potato famine and joined the locals at this happening pub.

Transport throughout this day was made so seamless, instead of long drives, we enjoyed a sleek boat transfer and bubbly.  Great way to enjoy Secret Ireland!

ADARE MANOR, County Limerick –

Completely stunning, thoroughly restored, service galore.  The golf course at Adare is awe-inspiring and the bustling town of Adare is a pleasant walk out the back gate.  A stay in Ireland without including Adare Manor would be a pity!

“It’s prestige without pretense and magic without nonsense.”


The design is classic Gothic meets cutting-edge, with special art and history at every turn.


The Adare golf club is one of the nicest I have been to and walking this course with our caddies made for one of the best days of the trip!

The town of Adare is precious with great restaurants and pubs!

A lovely day visiting the Dingle Peninsula with our driver guide, Rob. Another great way to enjoy your day is by driving (or cycling) one of the Rings.

Tip –  I would definitely suggest the Ring of Beara over the Ring of Kerry if you want to avoid the buses!




A quick stop for drinks and nibbles at Aghadoe Heights on the edge of a stunning national park. The views are killer!


SHEEN FALLS LODGE, County Kerry – 

This wonderful lodge in Kenmare is the place for guests that want to immerse themselves in nature. Where one can walk and cycle some of the most beautiful places in Ireland.  The lodge is a Relais & Chateau with a wonderful restaurant and stunning views of a waterfall.

I fell in love with the Sheen Suite – lots of light, wonderful place to enjoy the complimentary welcome cheese and port, and oh the sound of that waterfall –

Fabulous dinner at the Falls Restaurant at Sheen Falls –


The Town of Kenmare is a jolly place to spend the afternoon after a hike!


Guests of Resort to Laura Madrid enjoy a ride in the classic car into town for dinner!


The Lime Tree in Kenmare is highly recommended.  A cozy place for a great meal out!


Another day I would not have traded was making chocolate in Lorge’s mountain top chocolate shop.  Do not miss having us arrange some time in the kitchen with Lorge!! Spectacular experience!




Resort to Laura Madrid sets up bespoke and customized experiences that suit our client’s interest.

What about a personal tour of the Jamision estate and gardens, with one of the Jamison sisters of the famous Whiskey making family?


Birr Castle, home of the Earl and Countess of Ross, with a private tour and meeting with this fascinating and lovely couple!


Cork is a very fun city for a night or two.  It is a university town with great pubs and nightlife and much to do in the vicinity. We had a lovely night at the lively Hayfield Manor – wish we had more.


BALLYFIN, County Loais

Arriving to Ballyfin – Oh my!! What a spectacular place that should not be missed. Twenty rooms or so in a historic, completely and impeccably restored, majestically decorated mansion. No detail is too small and absolutely all wonderful meals are included.  This is a gastronomic treat and an experience that makes you feel as if you are the countess herself!!


The rooms, antiques, art and design are pure perfection that will keep you amused at every turn. The rooms and bathrooms are stylish and comfortable and so romantic!

Cycling or hiking the property is a perfect way to start the morning.  Perhaps picnic and fish on the lake or whatever activity you fancy!


We could not resist a cycle up to the old tower and then a climb to the top. Breathtaking, literally.


Evenings start with drinks and canapés served to you wherever you fancy.


Evening dinner is an event and can take place in one of two dining rooms or perhaps in the wine cellar or even in room.


THE MERRION, County Dublin – 

Last stop in this epic tour of Ireland took us to Dublin where we were lucky enough to check into the fabled Merrion Hotel which did not disappoint!


What a welcome to commemorate our 21st wedding anniversary!!


The suites and rooms are lovely and very comfortable.  The service speaks for itself!


Dublin has really become such a fun and trendy city.  A pint at O’Donoghues is requisite.


The Temple Bar area is a blast for a few more pints or simply to people watch and listen to some live music!


What a perfect place to have our last meal – the buzzing and delicious Fade Street Social is one that I will insist upon for all guests wanting to relax with the locals in a lively food-forward setting in the capital!

Oh Ireland, you are grand and you make people happy! Grateful!

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