Ireland is still treating me very well. Last night, I ate at my first Michelin-starred restaurant, Thornton’s, which incidentally, is in my hotel, the Fitzwilliam Hotel. I had probably the best meal of my life. Four courses PLUS wine. Whew. And they kept trying to feed me! I was like “STOP GIVING ME FOOD!” LOL The Irish are food pushers.
Anyway, I started with an amazingly wonderful scallop. I forgot how much I love fresh seafood until I bit into that. There was also a tomato basil bread roll that was very very good. That was followed with an appetizer beet salad that was also quite good. My entree was good old-fashioned beef and potatoes, but, obviously, done up in a high-scale way. Usually, these sort of meals are small portions, but this alone might have filled me up.
But I kept on eating, because dessert was a chocolate creme brulee that was so divine and had some crackling coconut cream or something over it that was really cool and tasty. The chocolate truffle in the middle was also glorious.
At that point, I was full. I’d also had a glass of Chianti. But nooooooo…. they brought me chocolates to end my meal. And I tried, I really did, but I couldn’t finish them. I had to cave after two pieces.
I went back to my room and took a nice long soak in the large bathtub in my room. I fell asleep quickly after that, but woke up around 1 a.m. Apparently, I wasn’t really awake, because I got up to use the bathroom, stumbled back to the bed, where my mind was convinced I was at home and attempted to get into what I thought was “MY” bed (not the hotel bed) and missed the bed by a few inches. I fell and banged up my knee.
After finally convincing myself that I had not, in fact, broken my knee cap, I went back to sleep, although the bruise on my knee made it painful to bend my leg. Fortunately, by morning, it was much better. But this is just an example of the wonderful joy of my clumsiness.
I also woke up again at around 4 a.m. Why? To take notes for my next novel. I kid you not. I was awakened by Alex Grosjean who insisted I change some things around and re-write a few scenes and set up some other scenes. I got up three times to make notes because when inspiration hits, there’s no stopping it.
Eventually, I went back to sleep. And woke up at 9 a.m., which is late for me. But I pulled myself out of bed and went to a coffee shop and got a scone and coffee. After that, I took the train to Malahide.
Okay, here’s a story about how lovely and nice the Irish people are. At the station, one of the attendants walked me over to the ticket machine, walked me through the process and helped me get my ticket. Not only that, but then he escorted me halfway to my train platform, making sure I knew where I was going.
Seriously, these people are nice. The train took me to Malahide quickly, where I hopped on this extremely touristy train/car thing that went to the castle. The tour guide was a hoot and told me a story about a rich family named Barron who lived in the area some time ago. Of course, a light bulb went off above my head. My grandmother’s name was Barron. Apparently, not only am I descended from a king, but there’s nobility on my grandmother’s side of the family. Who knew?
Malahide Castle was extraordinary. There was one of those creepy paintings that had eyes that followed you around the room and I heard some wonderful ghost stories, including one that occurred in this room, where a jester, aptly named Puck, hung himself after being spurned by a woman. I seriously got the chills in this room. It was colder than the rest of the castle.
The castle itself isn’t huge, but it’s quite lovely, as are its grounds.
I wandered all over the grounds after lunch at the Avoca Cafe (I had the chili salmon, with vegetable salads and potato salad, which was SO good). I walked so much that, obviously, tea and dessert was in order afterwards. I went for a chocolate eclair and a cup of tea. So very UK of me.
After that, I got back on the touristy train thing, all the while chatting with the driver. Because people, the Irish love to talk. And they are very friendly. They seriously never meet a stranger. For me, traveling alone, that’s always nice. And it’s unlike anything I’ve previously experienced in my travels. Even if this country itself weren’t gloriously beautiful, the people are what make it worth visiting.
Tonight, I have tickets for a Dublin Fringe Fest theatre show. And of course, there will be dinner.
For more photos of my visit to Malahide Castle, visit my Flickr.