As part of our Home Collection, we thought we’d share a delightful story about homes in Ireland from our Chief Experience Officer, Ward Gahan.
Ward's Irish Home Experience
I stayed in a thatched cottage in Donegal one time in January. We got it on AirBnB and drove up from Dublin Airport stopping several times on the way and I may mention it was getting dark.
The GPS coordinates took us to a farmhouse under construction on the side of a hill. The owner who lived in Belfast wasn't answering the phone and couldn't give us any assistance. We went into town to the local grocery shop and showed them pictures from AirBnB.
"Ah sure I know where dat is...follow me up the road...." said a very helpful customer. She got in her car and off she went like a bat out of hell. They do Rally Driving in Donegal, and this lady must have been a fan because my co-driver and navigator would have bitten the head off me if i drove like that,
As she drove up beside us, she said, "It's down that boreen (little road). And before we could thank her she was off! Rally Drivers from Donegal are truly nice people.
When we finally reached our destination, we had anticipated this grand romantic feeling of a turf fire with the lovely sweet smell of the turf smoke curling up the chimney. Making a nice cuppa tea on the hob over the fire, but the reality was a little different. The old cottage had three-foot thick walls that were amazing during the summer but cold as an Atlantic Breeze in January. It would take a week to warm up the house if we had that much heat from the turf fire.
I was in my thermal vest and bottoms under my wool Aran Sweater and one of our lovely wool hats. Sitting in front of the fire, my face and chest were roasted and me Arse was frozen.
We went through a lot of turf and thankfully the thermal blanket on the bed was amazing. Oh what memories and stories we had for the week.
The power was out one morning but we had the fire. The roads were covered in snow which was unusual for Donegal. "No way we're staying here - the car has a heater - lets go explore " says I and off we went to visit one of our suppliers. You have to adapt to the conditions.
The Wi-Fi is awful in rural Ireland and especially in The Gaeltacht of Donegal. So we went down to the local pub to see about using the free WiFi. The place was mobbed at 2pm on a Tuesday. The locals would turn and check us out, looking at you for a while finally asking us where we were staying and finally- "Why would you come here in January?"
They thought we were in the witness protection program or something. But the banter back and forth was amazing. Especially from the guy in the Big Long Duster; He could have been from Montana not Donegal; Wyatt Earp they called him except that he didn't have a horse outside.
- Ask if the house is heated by electric convection or radiators - few houses in Ireland have central air.
- Check in before dark
- Ask about Wi-Fi especially in rural areas
- If on a hill in winter you may want to get a SUV
- Bring a sense of humor
- Get out and visit the local pubs in the middle of the afternoon
- Ask for directions from anybody - they will LOVE to help the Yanks!
- Bring layers and a flashlight
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