Category Archives: Ireland

Top Destinations by Travel Writers for 2015

Check this out! Top Destinations of 2015 picked out by travel writers from an Australian Publisher! Both Ecuador and Ireland were on the list! Both were the places I went to in 2014.

This is great read for those who have places in mind to go to this coming year, but cannot seem to make a decision. My only comments are that:

Ecuador: Has so much more than the Galapagos Islands. I was so so

Jamu Lodge
Danielle and I at the lodge int he Amazon

disappointed when I had to chop up my trip and had to give up going there this time. I had to use my time extremely wisely. I fell in love with the country though! I will go back to see the Galapagos someday, but there is plenty that Ecuador has to offer! For one thing: the Amazon is in desperate need of support so the oil mongers do not tear it down. Some of the tribes we met were under the impression that if they had more tourists perhaps the area would be valued more and not torn down. And visiting Puerto Lopez and the humpback whales was one of the most influential and best experiences I have ever had overseas.

Puerto Lopez
Humpback Whales!

Ireland: Many Irish folk told me “Relax. Don’t try to see too much. Have a pint” and while that advice is all well and good, there is SO much to see in Ireland. We spent 11 days driving the coast from Dublin, over to Cork, and up the Wild Atlantic Way to Connemara. If we didn’t keep moving like we had, we would’ve missed some of the

Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

best sites I have ever seen. The country is beyond beautiful and the history overfloweth! My best advice is to push yourself a little bit. Not to the point of not having a good time, but try to keep at it. It is well worth the effort!

Traveling Vegan in Ireland

My mother has never particularly enjoyed meat. Chicken yes. Fish….definitely yes. Other than that, she has never really had a desire to eat meat. So it should not have been a surprise to me that she decided to become a vegan around her 50th birthday. Although, we had just booked our tickets to do our road trip through Ireland around the same time. It was a large concern for me to make sure she still was eating delicious and authentic Irish cuisine, and also to not restrict our plans around finding her food all the time. I wanted it to be as easy as possible for her (and us) while traveling. photo 5

I work with an Irish restaurant group in Chicago. The owners are Irish. They hire Irish management. We take in J1 visa students every year, and some of the staff is Irish. When asking my colleagues about vegan-ism advice in Ireland, I was mostly responded to with a hearty laugh or huge grin. “Vegan-ism is basically non-exisitent” they would tell me. I was prepared to use some creativity. I researched the restaurants in the cities we were aiming for, for a couple of months. I found several places (mostly ethnic) that already had designated vegan dishes. I tried not to include so many Indian and Asian places, since those were the ones with the most vegan dishes, but the least authentic to Ireland. Surprisingly (especially after the reaction I got), I found a lot of authentic Irish places with vegan options. There were only one or two, but that is comparable to what you might find in the U.S.

I wrote an itinerary for our 11 days of travel and after the facts about the city and each site we might visit, I wrote out a number of restaurants with vegan dishes as an option for us to check out.photo 1 photo 2

 

 

 

 

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In Dublin, we found Cornucopia which was all fresh vegan or vegetarian foods in a cafeteria style adorable vintage building.

In Kilkenny, we branched out with a tapas cuisine styled Wine Bar called Lautrecs. They had a beautiful arrangement of options for vegans with photo 2hummus, sweet potato wedges, and Mediterranean olives.

In Galway, we stopped at The Quay Street Kitchen and they had an amazing vegan burger with vegan cheese and roasted red pepper and arugula….and I had the best meat burger I have ever had! photo 4

Ireland’s cuisine is not as closed minded as I thought they might be. In fact, Ireland is extremely up on the scene of fresh produce, complex flavors, and quality of food. I am glad I was prepared for nothing, because when I found the surplus amount of vegan options as we did….it was like finding a pot of gold!

You Cannot Fail

imageimageWhile in Vienna, we were having a hard time finding our way around. (I did in Japan as well, but that was just a list cause) it was mostly hard in Austria because there was no hope of even sounding out any of the street signs or words. We could barely sound them out. So when asking for directions from the lovely people of Austria it would sound something like “ah yes well take a right shinvikalaneesven the straight by gothoyoubokschnitzel and turn left on fruescbxredgjop.” This wonderful woman who we stopped said the above looked at both of our blank faces and said with a smile “you cannot fail.”

in the past few days we have had quite the similar encounter with the friendly and lovely people of Ireland. There are hardly any street names here. Our hotel reception girl enlightened us this morning that when the English ruled the area the created jobs by having folks randomly create roads…many of which had little purpose. So when asking for directions it’s a lot of “go straight through two roundabouts. One is very small. Right on the road. Through the next roundabout. Pass the traffic lights. Go through two roundabouts one is very large, and on the next roundabout exit the first exit” (actual directions we were given). It’s not their fault that it’s so silly, and my mom and I have found it pretty funny in the end.

we have heard everything from “you can’t miss it” (when it was down a hidden path and behind a building) “it’s easy” (when the path you are meant to follow is dirt and going through someone’s backyard) or my favorite, “you can’t go wrong” when the directions bring you to a one way street. I never knew that life is really catered to me with clear road signs. And how lucky I have it!! I will never give an Irishman a hard time for getting lost…