The Garrick Bar in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sorting through my photos from my day trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, a year ago, I found this image of The Garrick bar on the corner of Chicester and Montgomery Streets in Belfast.

The Garrick pub on Montgomery Street, Belfast.

The Garrick pub on Montgomery Street, Belfast.

I was rushing back from visiting the Titanic Museum, trying to find a bite to eat in the city center before I caught the last train back to Dublin.

Leaving the museum, I asked for walking directions back to the city and recommendations on where to eat. The very friendly woman at the museum provided a few suggestions, one being a great place for Mexican burritos. I wonder if it was the shop right behind the street light that she suggested? I did walk up to the window of a burrito place, peeked inside, remembered that I live in California and can have excellent Mexican or Cal-Mex food every day at home, and moved on to the next item on my list – sampling Short Cross Gin. That isn’t available in California!

My friend Mrs. O Around the World had suggested Short Cross, and as Mrs. O is a fellow gin lover, I needed to listen to her advice. I saw The Garrick and decided to stop in for a gin and tonic.

I did not have much time before my train, as the walk back from the Titanic Museum took some time as I enjoyed the late afternoon sun after experiencing a rainy start to the day. I went inside The Garrick and asked the bartender if they carried Shortcross – they did – and in short order I was drinking Shortcross Gin, “Northern Ireland’s first premium craft gin,” per the Shortcross website. It did not disappoint!

Shortcross Gin and tonic at The Garrick, Belfast.

Shortcross Gin and tonic at The Garrick, Belfast. (Note the top of my head in the center of the mirror).

The bar was somewhat full, and I wish I had more time to stay and mingle (and have another Shortcross), but I needed to catch the train as it was the last one to Dublin. I quickly paid my tab (£1.95 for the tonic, £4.95 for the Shortcross = £6.90), and gathered my things for the train station. When I stepped outside to take a photo of The Garrick, I noticed the quote on the side of the building:

“A nation that keeps one eye on the past is wise.

A nation that keeps two eyes on the past is blind.”

A sentiment we should all keep in mind, but particularly apt, perhaps, for Belfast and Northern Ireland. In searching for the source of the quote today, which seems to be unknown, I came across this post from David Ross, who visited Belfast again in July after twenty years away.  He provides an interesting perspective of what visiting Belfast was like during, “the troubles,” assuming you would visit, which many people did not, and what the city is like today, when he returned.

While I do not have his perspective, I do hope that I can return to Belfast, and Northern Ireland, and spend longer than a too-short day-trip exploring. A visit to the Short Cross Gin distillery would definitely be in order!

Note: I traveled to Ireland with Brendan Vacations, but my day-trip to Belfast was planned and paid for by me.

 

 

Dreaming of Poached Eggs and Bacon at The Malton Hotel

On Saturdays, following a tradition from my childhood, I have eggs for breakfast. This morning, when I awoke I had a hunger pang for poached eggs. But not just any poached eggs, the poached eggs and bacon from The Malton Hotel in Killarney, Ireland.

I stayed at The Malton when I visited Killarney in March of this year, and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by participating in the parade.

The Malton is a short walk from the Killarney train station and about a five to ten minute walk from the central part of Killarney. It is a perfect place to stay while exploring the area.

Malton front dark

Entrance to The Malton Hotel in Killarney, Ireland.

Entrance to The Malton Hotel in Killarney, Ireland.

The dining room of the Malton is beautiful with high ceilings and big windows that look out on the gardens behind the hotel. White linens cover the tables and proper silver is at each place setting. I was fortunate to be seated right by a window and could look out and enjoy the sunshine on a lovely clear day.

The dining room at The Malton.

The dining room at The Malton.

There is an ample breakfast buffet, but all I remember is the wonderfully amazing poached eggs atop English muffins with perfectly crisp bacon.

Poached eggs, English muffins, crisp bacon, grapefruit juice and a sunny view.

Poached eggs, English muffins, crisp bacon, grapefruit juice and a sunny view.

It was just perfection. I do not think I have ever had bacon cooked like the bacon here. Crisp and crunchy without being overdone. And. The. Eggs. They had a beautiful orange-yellow yolk, like nothing we have in the United States. Ahhh.

The poached eggs were so wonderful I ordered them two days in a row!

The Malton Hotel Killarney Ireland breakfast of poached eggs and bacon

Another day, another order of poached eggs and bacon

Sadly, I only have eggs in my kitchen – no English muffins or bacon on hand – so I could not attempt to recreate the delicious breakfast from The Malton today. It is probably for the best as I am still feeling under the weather due to my persistent cough (and am planning to visit the doctor this afternoon), but I have a smile on my face thinking about the wonderful breakfasts that started my day while visiting Killarney!

Breakfast at the Malton Hotel, Killarney Ireland with poached eggs and bacon

Another view of the beautiful eggs and bacon.

I was a guest of Brendan Vacations, but my opinion and review of The Malton Hotel are my own.

Pinterest The Malton Hotel Killarney Ireland dreaming of poached eggs and bacon

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Going Green For St. Patrick’s Day

Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is the center of all the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. Since I arrived late afternoon on Tuesday, the city  has turned more green as it prepares for St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 17th.

The city started celebrating early with the St. Patrick’s Festival on Saturday, with cultural events held throughout the city continuing through Tuesday.

Everywhere I turned, there was green!

The streetlights were green, lights over the streets were green and even the Westin Hotel turned green.

Many of the buildings are lit in green too. It definitely feels more festive.

The department stores are green: Brown Thomas, Clery’s and Penney’s.

All of the city’s large, iconic buildings are green.

If you’re in Dublin already, or on your way, you are sure to be greeted with green wherever you go. And if you’re not in Dublin, or Ireland for that matter, Tourism Ireland, with the help of actor LIam Neeson, is encouraging everyone to #GoGreen4PatricksDay with this video

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!