Ireland Day One

Ryan and I arrived in Ireland in the early afternoon on Friday. Despite a severe lack of sleep on my flight to London, I felt rather energetic when Ryan met me at the London Gatwick airport. I was so excited to see him and get our vacation rollin’!

We had a couple of hours to kill in the airport before we flew to Dublin together around 10 a.m. and we spent all of that time talking about what we planned to do in Ireland. (I thought it was so interesting that we sat in a common area until our gate was announced just 30 minutes before our flight as opposed to waiting at the gate like we do in America!) Our flight to Dublin wasn’t very full and I was able to stretch out and sleep for 45 minutes which felt glorious.

Once we arrived in Ireland, we rented a car and threw our bags in the trunk, ready to make the short 35-minute drive to our hotel.

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Or so we thought.

When our GPS told us we were 1.8 kilometers from our exit, we hit traffic. Bad, bad traffic.

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It took us four hours to travel less than four miles to our hotel. An entire section of the N11 highway we were on was completely shut down due to weather and flooding. It was unreal.

People were running out of gas left and right and we didn’t move an inch for three of the four hours. At one point Ryan got out to help a man move his car out of the mud and came back to our car absolutely covered in dirt. His fleece, jeans and sneakers were a mess.

When we finally made it to our hotel it was much later than we anticipated (5 p.m.) so the day we had planned at the Powerscourt Gardens and waterfall was a total bust.

Even though it was quite gloomy outside, Ireland was still looking beautiful as we drove up to the hotel and we were once again excited to have our whole vacation ahead of us.

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Here is where the fun really began!

We checked into one of the most impressive hotels I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Ritz Carlton Ireland

The incredible Ritz Carlton Powerscourt was absolutely breathtaking. I only wish I could’ve photographed it in the sunlight, but even in the drab weather, the hotel was stunning.

Ritz Carlton Wicklow

Ireland Ritz Carlton lobby

The lobby was luxurious but cozy (there was a fire roaring in the fire place) and it was incredibly elegant. Ryan and I were invited to be guests at the hotel for one night by the public relations manager a week or so ago and we could not have been more grateful and thrilled. I cannot say enough glowing things about the staff we encountered throughout our short stay. When news of the traffic jam surfaced, we were able to correspond with them constantly and receive updates about the progress on the roads. When we arrived and Ryan was all muddy, they took care of his jeans and fleece and returned them to our room the next morning. It was unreal!

And then there was our room!

Ritz Carlton Ireland Room

We were greeted with water and a fruit plate which we promptly inhaled. So fresh!

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The decor in the bedroom was light and airy while the bathroom was crisp and elegant. Shiny white marble and mirrors everywhere!

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And get this: The bathroom floor was heated. I couldn’t get over it! It was such a neat feature and one that wasn’t lost on us since it was so cold outside!

Once we put our bags down, we immediately threw open the curtains to check out the scenery. (And when I say “threw open the curtains,” I mean we pressed a button to open them because they were remote control curtains. Yes, really. Everything in the room was remote-control operated, including the lights. So cool!)

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Even with the rain and intense cloud coverage, it was beautiful!

Though our plans for the day were tromped by the traffic and rain, Ryan and I still wanted to get outside and made hot tea in our room before heading out to walk around for a bit.

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It was so green and I loved looking around at the mountains and talking with Ryan about the days to come and the other towns and sights we plan to see during our vacation.

Eventually we decided it was time to grab a drink at McGills pub.

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The bartender let me sample a few different Irish beers and I immediately liked Smithwick’s.

Smithwicks

That beer hit the spot!

Once Ryan and I finished off our beers, we went back to our room to change for dinner. We had reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurant and after reading about it in a few of the Ireland guidebooks I got from the library, I must admit I had rather high expectations.

Gordon Ramsy's Restaurant

We immediately ordered our drinks and my glass of Bava Barbara d’Asti Libera red wine was perfect.

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When Ryan tried a sip of my wine, he was immediately sold and ordered a glass as well. It was wonderful!

For an appetizer, Ryan and I decided to share the scallops. Our waiter, Marc, was so friendly and knowledgeable and when he recommended the scallops to us and described the flavorful bacon consommé that was poured over the scallops, our mouths started watering and we placed an order for them immediately.

gordon ramasy's scallops

They were fork-tender and perfectly cooked.

For my main course, I selected the John Dory, a white fish that I had never tried before. It sounded great on the menu and the sides that came with it intrigued me (parsnip puree, pearl onions and romanesco).

Gordon Ramsay's John Dory Fish

The fish was wonderful, especially when I made sure to dip it in the sauce it was served in.

Ryan got a steak with the most fabulous peppercorn sauce we’ve ever tried. (Apparently they use green peppers in it!)

When it came time for dessert, we decided to share two sweet dishes. One was rather light and included a fluffy meringue while the other was inspired by “traditional Irish foods.”

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That little white pillow to the left of the above picture was potato ice cream… and it was fabulous! Who would’ve thought!? It was sweet with a slightly salty aftertaste that somehow totally worked. The chocolate mousse to the right of the ice cream was served atop a brownie and wrapped in Guinness jelly for a little Irish flare! It was a winner.

Though our first day in Ireland began on a rather rocky note with an intense traffic jam, it ended with an incredible dinner and we went to bed feeling incredibly happy and excited about the days to come.

See ya in a bit with a recap of day two!

Comments

  1. says

    OMG I want to be there. It looks beautiful! All that green makes me so happy! I feel so bad for you guys since you had to sit in that traffic. I would have been so ticked off! But looks like you’re havin’ fun! Be safe:)

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  2. says

    I visited Ireland last spring but could only make Dublin and left rather disappointed. I have to say, this post rekindled my excrement about country and makes me want to go back and see the countryside this time!

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  3. says

    Awww I love Dublin! My husband and I were just there in October of this past year. Make sure you save time to check out Trinity College and walk around the campus a bit, it’s so cool. And the guiness factory of course is a good one and there’s an amazing view of the city at the rooftop bar :)

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  4. says

    Wow, your pictures are absolutely beautiful! I love how GREEN everything is. As a Minnesotan sick of our dreary winter weather, it’s hopeful to know there is beautiful greenery somewhere in the world! :) Have a wonderful trip. You and Ryan are adorable!

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  5. Becky @ TheBexFactor says

    I found that interesting about the airport in England as well!

    Can’t wait to hear more about your trip. It was 2 years ago now that I travelled there but it feels like yesterday and I wish I could go back! It’s so beautiful.

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  6. Sammy Jean says

    Wow, what an experience! I’ve always toyed with the idea of going to Ireland, but now I’m SOLD! Even though the weather is less than ideal, it looks amazing. I’d like to stay in a castle on my now future visit, but we will make sure to spend at least one night at that Ritz Carlton! Awesome. Thanks for sharing!!

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  7. says

    Glad you’re having a great time after all the traffic problems! I love Smithwicks, and just wanted to let you know they sell it in the States, too! A family friend had it about a year ago, and I thought it was great! Have a great trip!

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  8. HilJo says

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!! that scenery is SO PRETTY. And GREEN! We are still stuck in brown/yellow/grey here in Indiana….and oh.my.gosh that hotel looks like the fanciest place I’ve even seen pictures of. wow.

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  9. says

    Sorry to hear about the traffic but at least the second half of the day was great and it’s only the first day of what is sure to be a super cool vacation!

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  10. says

    WOW. 4 hours!? That’s insane!! I’m so sorry you had to start your trip that way. But how AMAZING about staying at the Ritz!! One of my fav restaurants in Dublin = Rolys a little down south. AMAZING FOOD. Also, O’Neills for a GREAT traditional Irish buffet, and Messrs McGuire right on the Liffy for local brews!

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  11. says

    Have just started reading your blog in the last few days. I’m from sligo, north west Ireland! Funny was just commenting earlier and saying how sunny and lovely Florida always looks! Now you can see why! Those 5am starts are a bit harder here. Enjoy the trip. Hopefully the weather won’t dampen your spirits!

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  12. Marie says

    Sorry about that traffic! I have to ask…my husband and I are going to Ireland next month (so I can’t wait to see where you go!) and we are also renting a car. Is it crazy hard to drive on the other side of the road?! I’ve heard some horror stories about driving over there! I’d love to know how you guys made out, thanks!!

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    • says

      hi marie! ryan is actually doing all the driving (we rented a manual car and i can’t drive stick) and said it’s really not that bad once you get used to it. the hard part is when you find yourself on really small winding roads. it’s definitely unnerving (even as a passenger!!!) but worth it because you can see so much and stay on your own schedule. i’m so glad we rented a car since we’ve already needed to change the itinerary we created due to weather. i hope you LOVE your trip!!!

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  13. says

    When my parents came back from Ireland earlier this year they talked about Smithwick’s, too! They bought a 6 pack of it here, but said it just wasn’t the same! Glad you are having fun despite the weather!

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  14. says

    Wow!!! I cannot believe that traffic. So great of Ryan to help out though. That hotel looks amazing…as did the food. I think it’s so interesting how all the trees have no branches at the bottom. Were they made like that, or is that how they grow?

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  15. Liz says

    That hotel looks incredible!!!!!

    I love how you are always so positive, making the best out of all situations! Enjoy the rest of your vacation, you and Ryan will have great memories to bring home :)

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  16. Kelly says

    I loved Smithwick’s when I was there too! As nerdy as it sounds I felt so Irish ordering it when I was there :) Also, I love love LOVE how green Ireland is- everyone says it’s green but until you’re there you just don’t really understand. Have fun, so jealous!

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  17. says

    Looks like you guys are definitely making the most of your trip!! I’m envious of your high spirits despite the cold!!…I’ve had enough of the weather in the UK now, seeing your photos though are making me think I shouldn’t get so down about it…both of your smiles are infectious! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip…London is amazing! x

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  18. Brittany says

    Ireland sounds amazing. You guys are real sports for keeping a positive outlook after a few setbacks. Looking forward to the rest of you adventure, all though I must admit it is making me want to book a trip to Ireland today!

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  19. Brittany says

    I would’ve opted to running to the hotel at that point! Good grief! At least your evening made up for it! My fiance’ and I will be staying in the Ritz in May in Buckhead, GA…not as breathtaking as your residence-I’m sure-but I’m looking forward to it.
    Love the scenery and look forward to seeing more!

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  20. janet says

    My bladder would have not waited four hours for sure! (Did you nap then???).
    Meal looks awesome: given that the meals at Ramsay’s start at $300 a PERSON it should have been celestial. Or orgasmic. Holy heck! Can’t imagine to room rate then. 😉

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  21. Katie says

    Julie while you’re in Ireland try our famous potato chips! They’re called “Taytoes” and can be found in any newsagents/supermarket. The original flavour is cheese and onion or you could try salt & vinegar or smokey bacon, they are great and are the main food item that those who emigrate long for!!
    Also the chocolate mousee/brownie in your Irish foods inspired dessert looks like “black pudding” which is another Irish delicacy you should try! It is similar to Scottish haggis and usually comes with a full Irish breakfast and is delicious!
    I live in Limerick and can’t believe you and Ryan are travelling so close to me! Enjoy your visit.

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  22. says

    Welcome to Ireland! How fab is that hotel!? The N11 was nuts on Friday. It’s ashamed you arrived here with such bad weather ;( Hope the weather picks up for the rest of your trip!

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