Centuries ago, in a small village along the high road just outside Dublin, a two-week-long event took place annually in late August that captured the attention of Ireland and beyond, but for all the wrong reasons.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comHorse and livestock traders, fortune tellers, wrestlers, bare-knuckle boxers, dancers, performers, musicians, magicians and hawkers selling just about every kind of regional food, drink and elixir, were drawn together for one of the rowdiest, noisiest festivals in all the land: the Donnybrook Fair.

Noted primarily for its non-stop, high decibel levels, it was the legendary, whiskey-fueled, after-dark brawls involving sticks and fists that eventually signaled the demise of the fair, leaving behind in its riotous wake a word that lives on to this day in the English lexicon: donnybrook.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comUnder the cloak of darkness and sans shillelaghs and bruised knuckles, the “band of merry media,” 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample its Treasures of Ireland journey, takes its place around the table to enjoy a riot of traditional Irish fare at O’Connells in, you guessed it, Donnybrook.

“We’re a respected, farm-to-fork restaurant,” notes soft-spoken Tom O’Connell, owner of the family-friendly business in the heart of the village-turned-suburb, “committed to the highest quality Irish produce from around the Emerald Isle.”

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
The bounty plated before us, around carafes of red and white wine, is expertly prepared from recipes passed down through the O’Connell clan since the late 1800s.

To start, a buffet of fresh salads, cheeses — including Irish mozzarella — and smoked organic salmon pâté are there for the taking at the Small Irish Food Producers counter.

Piping hot main dishes are aplenty as our choices nearly stretch all the way to Co. Cork. There’s roasted leg of lamb, rib of beef in three-day gravy, charcoal oven-roasted breast of guinea fowl and, my fave, a delicious Irish fish pie.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comAnd, to cap this epicurean donnybrook, a hearty helping of Lil O’Connell’s traditional sherry trifle dessert. Mmm, mmm good!

For complete information on Insight’s 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary where you’ll never go hungry, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you tomorrow morning, well after the rooster announces first light, as we enjoy a “relaxed start” to our journey down south to Kilkenny and Killarney.

Oíche mhaith (Good night).

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

3 comments

  1. The article is pleasant for the mind and tantalizing photo shots of the food. But, its encouraging to know to this viewer that each and everyone one of you in the eighteen is enjoying the palatable cuisine and visually enjoyable scenery.

    1. Being from Dublin, I’m ashamed to admit I had no idea of the origin of the word “donnybrook”, even though I lived less than 2 kilometres away from its eponymous suburb! Great blog and appetising photos. Orna

  2. The Irish Fish Pie sounds intriguing! Thanks for this post, I can almost smell all the delicious food you mentioned. You are really having a grand time of it touring Europe. Accidenti!

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