It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, an old music hall song penned back in 1912, was made popular by the Connaught Rangers, an Irish regiment assigned to the British Army, who marched to its lyrics while deployed “over there” during World War I.
Sans helmet, rifle, mess kit and backpack, the intrepid “band of merry media” — 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to document a portion of its Treasures of Ireland journey — are now a good bit away from Cashel and its world-famous “Rock of” in Co. Tipperary.
Gliding down the N72, our sleek Mercedes motor coach passes through the Golden Vale — the Emerald Isle’s prized dairy region, where contented cows graze, butter churns and cheddar ages — slips into Co. Kerry, known for its majestic landscape, and makes its way towards today’s final destination: Killarney, the country’s most tourist-friendly town.
Eugene, our pilot (aka The Quiet Man), brings the 2 hr. scenic cruise to a full stop in front of the Plaza Hotel, our four-star digs for the next two nights.
Before we hop off the motor coach, Big Mike, our larger-than-life storyteller/tour director informs us that we’ll gather down in the lobby at 7:00 for dinner on Insight’s euro. He also suggests to the ladies that they won’t be out of place in Killarney if they slip into their “little black numbers.” The gals giggle, but there’s nary a peep from the guys. We already know the drill: “Just come as you are.”
Given a spacious, top-floor room at the Plaza with a great view of the town, I quickly shower, put on a clean shirt — it’s Saturday night after all — dab a bit of cologne on to keep the banshees at bay and head back downstairs.
Like choosing up sides for a hurling match, the “band of merry media” is divided up into three groups of six and sent off down Killarney’s High Street to three different restaurants. It’s what Insight calls it’s “dine-around experience.”
One group scores Italian, another French, and my party of six, along with our Insight “chaperone,” gathers around the table at Treyvaud’s, an award-winning international kitchen with an Irish twist overseen by brothers Paul and Mark, who just happen to be the sons of Ireland’s very first Master Chef, Michel Treyvaud.
Sipping a glass of Les Folies Landiers, a dry, aromatic French muscat from the Loire Valley, and nibbling on homemade artisan brown bread with a healthy spread of Kerrygold butter on top, I make my selections a la carte — there are no fixed menus when traveling with Insight.
I drop a line into the Atlantic and select an all-fish dinner.
For the starter, the house’s fabulous fish cakes in a wholegrain mustard and chives garlic aioli. Delightful.
For the main, baked Irish salmon in a rustic tomato and herbs sauce. I savor every bite.
And, for dessert a creamy-smooth lemon posset. I cannot tell a lie, I lick the bowl clean.
For complete information on Insight’s 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary where superb dining awaits, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
See you tomorrow, well after the rooster crows first light, as we enjoy a relaxed start to yet another fab day on the Emerald Isle.
Oíche mhaith (Good night).
©The Palladian Traveler