an idyllic irish summer
With grassy meadows and unspoilt country charms, Ireland is a serene country waiting to be explored
A warm and sunny country with its fabled countryside and idyllic charm, Ireland is best experienced on wheels. Our long-time friend and guide, Leo, swung out his Volkswagen SUV right onto the county roads, etching a wedge between the rolling hills and lush pastures.
The first county that we explored, Kildare, is home to the iconic National Stud and Japanese Gardens, set in verdant expanses of well-tended paddocks and grassland. The nerve-soothing Japanese Gardens, rated as the finest in Europe, are a natural repertoire of rare flora and little streams, complete with the quintessential red-arched Japanese bridges.
We also sized up the Irish National Stud paddocks, home to highly prized bloodstocks and handsome steeds like Amadeus Wolf, Celtic Swing, Indian Haven and Jeremy, all winners in their own gallop.
By the time we reached County Westmeath, night was setting in and the magpies had already settled around the inland waterways. We were put up at a country boutique accommodation, Wineport Lodge in Glasson.
Driving around the western Irish countryside gave us enchanting glimpses of the Atlantic between dramatic rock formations. We see-sawed on heather-fringed country roads right into the hinterland of County Connemara. Its thick marsh groves ran all the way to the scenic Cashel and Roundstone.
Roundstone’s deserted coastline and flat sand beaches, inhabited by occasional leisure boats, lent themselves to fine oil canvas paintings even as sheep and cattle speckled the grassy meadows.
The weather played truant all afternoon, as we made our way to Bushypark and to the magnificent Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Here, the Pullman Restaurant offered us it’s unique regal fine dining ‘train’ experience in actual Pullman-Orient Express coaches. Over hors d’oeuvres and Piemonte Gigi Rosso 1999 Spumante, we watched golfers in action on the 9th hole, as log shadows cast a golden glow.
Further down, nature’s awesome spectacle awaited us: the cliffs of Moher. Here, land plummets about 600 feet down to the Atlantic, throwing up foam and frenzy. Relentless waves hammer the raw rock facades, the echoes of which can be heard for miles and miles.