Ireland: Days 4 and 5 (Ashford Castle and Enniskillen)

As I’m sure you all figured out after viewing “Bothar,” we were on the road yesterday from Ashford Castle to the Loch Erne Resort near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.  The weather has been much better the last two days…allowing for some outstanding sightseeing.

Ashford Castle

-  Ashford Castle was a pretty spectacular place to stay.  Full pictures are in the photo album(and more of the interior to come once I get a better internet connection), but here are a few to give you an idea.  To address your most pressing questions…yes, it had a moat…no, there was not a drawbridge.  Now that we have that settled, there’s not too much else to say.  We only stayed one night and there were no further unfortunate disputes with the bell hop over bags.

Yeah, we stayed there

-  Loch Erne is another very nice hotel…though their WiFi does leave a lot to be desired.  Our room overlooks the Nick Faldo designed course, which looks really nice.  This is very painful as I don’t have my clubs…nor do I have the desire to get out of bed before 11:30 to actually play golf.  Anyway, all the other facilities are quite satisfactory.

-  We ventured into Enniskillen last night and had dinner at The Crowe’s Nest (Russell was nowhere to be found…sadly).  I was quite excited about this place because the online review described it as “lively and exciting” (or something).  Turns out we were practically the only two people in the place and the only excitement was the waiter singing along to Irish pop songs.  However, the night wasn’t a total loss as the food was frankly amazing.  I had a vegetable pasta stir fry, which was surprisingly good (vegetarian items over here have been pretty poor almost everywhere else) and Michelle had some animal item that she liked.  Dessert was excellent too…warm chocolate muffin with vanilla ice cream.  Shame there weren’t more people there to liven things up as we literally had no one to eaves drop on.

-  Today we drove out to the Belleek Pottery Factory.  This turned out to be a bust as the promised tour never assembled.  Not ones to be dissuaded, we improvised and set out from Belleek on a little castle hunting.  We found two on our way home.  You’ll find out more about this when I release “Bothar Reloaded: Storming the Castle” which is currently in post-production.  Until then, here’s a photographic preview. 

Monea Castle

 The great thing about this place is that it was out by itself (near a kind of neighborhood), there was no one watching over it, nor were there any other visitors.  In other words, no one to bother us!  Basically my sightseeing dream come true.

-  Tonight we tried another pub in Enniskillen for dinner, The Bush Bar.  This was pretty much the flip side of pub food in Ireland compared to the Crowe’s Nest.  Note to self…when you find a good place to eat, stick with it.  Don’t try anything new, you will be disappointed.  In my defense, we pretty much couldn’t go back to the Crowe’s Nest because I left a 32 cent tip last night.  I wasn’t trying to act like a dude with a cell phone on his belt, but I panicked when the guy gave me unexpected denominations of change that left me little choice.  That and the fact that I’m terrible at determining the value of British coinage created the perfect storm.  And before you say, “hey, he wouldn’t have remembered,” re-read the previous blurb and note how many customers were there last night.  Anyway, I knew I was in trouble at the Bush when the menu had items such as a chicken sandwich with bacon labeled with a V for vegetarian.  I couldn’t come up with any explanation for this.  Sometimes I think they label things that could conceivably be adapted to vegetarian, but this one baffled me.  On the plus side, apparently it was divas night on the bar radio (featuring the eclectic mix of Britney, Madonna, and Whitney) followed by a seamless transition to indeterminate Irish pop (with a surprise performance by Rihanna…she is part Irish you know, look it up).

-  Tomorrow it’s onto our last stop in Dublin and hopefully a trip to the Guinness Storehouse.  Safe to say I have been waiting for this day my entire life.

-  Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention our proudest accomplishment so far on the trip.  There’s a group of two couples that are taking the same exact tour as us.  We pretty much have seen them at every stop.  We sat next to them at Nancy Murphy’s in Enniskerry (where we eavesdropped heavily and found out that they are cycling and running fanatics from California), saw them at the Ritz several times, sat next to them at dinner in the lounge at Ashford Castle, ran into them at the Belleek Pottery Factory, and ran into them again last night and tonight in the lobby at Loch Erne.  The accomplishment…we literally haven’t talked to them at all…not one word outside of one “hi” tonight!  How’s that for cultivating an air of inapproachability!?!