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Irish Insiders: Ward’s Top “3” Places to Picnic

by Ward Gahan
1 Comment(s)
Irish Insiders: Ward’s Top “3” Places to Picnic

July is International Picnic Month and typically a very busy tourist season in Ireland. Unfortunately, COVID has essentially shut down the area for would-be travelers. Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be nice to share some Irish picnic inspiration. If you can’t go to Ireland, Biddy Murphy will bring Ireland to you.

  1. Tourism Ireland has put together a wonderful itinerary that they call the Great Gardens of Ireland.  They include several amazing gardens to see across the Emerald Isle. Tourism Ireland has everything mapped out for you, with several stops along their route. (So we’re actually giving you quite a bit more than 3 places to picnic!) If you are starting around Dublin, just outside of the city, you’ll find Powerscourt Castle and Demesne. The Torc Waterfall is also located within the Killarney National Forest and is a beautiful site. (If you ever visit the Killarney National Forest, it’s also the home of the Muckross House and our maker-partners Mucros Weavers. Tell ‘em Biddy Murphy sent you!)
  2. Any lay-by but especially along the Dingle Peninsula overlooking The Blaskets. Once you are off the motorways and are travelling side roads, I’d strongly advise you not only go on what are called secondary roads but go even further onto those little boreens that have the grass growing up the middle of the road. (Boreen is from the Irish Gaelic Bothairin -  little road. BTW the Irish “in” is pronounced een on the end of any noun to make it small. Cailin = Colleen =  little girl.) The traffic will be slower but you can pull into a gateway and hop the fence to enjoy a bucolic pastoral view. One of my favorites is to drive from Clonmel via Powerstown along the foothills of Slievenamon into BallyPatrick and Clooneen looping around into Fethard and stop and see the Fethard Horse and Country Experience Museum. A small plug for my home county. Up Tipp!
  3. The Wild Atlantic Way coastline is a 2 week journey. It can be done in less  -  but why? Start out in West Cork on Sheep’s Head Peninsula and drive into Bantry and Glengarriff. One word - Gorgeous! The Burren is a must see along with the Cliffs of Moher - and then up into Connemara, out to Clifden and Sligo Yeats country -  thank goodness for the walking tours or you’d put on pounds each day with the picnic you’d be having! And as always, stop that night someplace close to (walking distance ) to a local pub; making sure it’s open. Ask about traditional music nights in places like Clonakilty and Clifden.

Okay, that's a few more than 3, but it's just so difficult to narrow it down when there are so many lovely spots across Ireland. Keep in mind that some of these places may not offer tea and coffee facilities. When you go, stop by the local deli and grab some regional cheeses, cured meats and bread. Pair that long with a nice Guinness or Wine. Did you know that California wines are huge in Ireland? So are the Chilean and Australian wines. You’ll have a nice selection. 

Most of these places provide seating areas and grassy areas to bring a picnic basket. The midges may get you so make sure to bring your bug repellant. (There are No-See-Ums, also referred to as Biting Midges or Biting Gnats.) Have your Biddy Murphy Irish wool throw blanket handy for laying out on the grass. You might want to take along a few of our entertaining items like a Caulfield board for serving and our Connemara Marble Whiskey Stones to keep your beverage chilled. And always be prepared for showers with a fine cap for him or her. Remember what they say in Ireland, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”


At the end of it all, you will have found your own favorite spot for a picnic and have made memories that will last a lifetime along your picnic path.


Have you ever had a picnic in Ireland? If so, what’s your favorite place to stop and sit for a spell?


Slan go foil

Ward

by Ward Gahan

POST COMMENTS

Kathleen Christian
Kathleen Christian

Hi, Ward! Or should I be saying Dia Duit?

I traveled Ireland a couple of years ago and it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Some of the places you mentioned in your blog turn on the camera in my mind and playback the memories of when I was there. Torc Waterfall was an early stop in my trip and one of my favorites. Well, truthfully, all my stops were one of my favorites!

I LOVED driving through the Killarney National forest and turned around and did it again…and then again, and yet another time or two. I drove those country roads you wrote about. I ignored the GPS, and found some of those roads with the grass growing in the middle and followed along as the paved road turned into a dirt road and finally into what I would describe as a nothing more than a very rocky goat path up in the mountains. I was completely lost. The only evidence of civilization was fencing and sheep (LOTS of sheep delightfully spray painted in several areas of their wooly bodies in different colors to identify their owners). I was in a bit of a panic, having no idea where I was or how to get back to familiar territory. I was in the middle of bargaining with God (God, if you’ll just get me out of here, I’ll never go off-road again) when a little voice inside said “Kathleen, calm down! Look around you. Really LOOK at where you are!” I was surrounded by fiercely beautiful, craggy mountains with huge boulders scattered everywhere like some giant child had abandoned a game of jacks. My jaw dropped at the beauty by which I was surrounded . I was stunned and amazed and so grateful that I could see this part of the country of my ancestors. As for being lost, the GPS with which I had been fighting for several days guided me back to my B&B with ease.

And, in case you wondered, I was a 63 year old grandmother driving alone through Ireland and had the time of my life!

Thanks for letting me share a few of my memories. Will I go back? I have to! I left a good-sized chunk of my heart there.

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