Sans drivers, irons and putters, but ready to wield knives, forks and spoons, the intrepid “band of merry media,” 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Treasures of Ireland itinerary, steps down off the motor coach, following a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry, and heads straight up the drive to a family-run B&B that’s just a lob wedge shot away from three of Killarney’s championship golf courses: The 19th Green Guesthouse.
“Céad míle fáilte! One-hundred-thousand welcomes,” a smiling Freda, the hostess, and hubby John Sheehan, the chef, announce while sons Dean, Ryan and Rocco present us with plates of small bruschette drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and topped with melted goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes along with glasses of sparking wine.
We’re here at the 19th Green to be schooled in the art of classic Irish cooking, and not to improve our putting grips and stance.
Jovial John, a real cutup in the kitchen — he could do stand-up comedy if he ever decides to hang up the apron — gets down to business straight away, entertaining this captive audience clutching cameras.
“Irish cooking, authentic Irish cooking,” John explains, “begins with the freshest of ingredients grown, raised and harvested right here on the Emerald Isle.” He adds, “We call it farm-to-fork.”
From the darne of salmon, the beef in the homemade vegetable soup, the mushrooms in the béchamel, the toasted barley oats in the cinnamon crumble and the creme fraiche are all stamped: Products of Ireland. Take my word for it.
John demonstrates and narrates tonight’s dinner menu and when class is dismissed we “tuck in,” as the locals say, and enjoy the fruits of his labors. Care for a virtual nibble?
For complete information on Insight’s 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland, where there’s always room at the table for food and craic, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
With a relaxed start on the agenda for tomorrow, I’ll see you at nine bells on the motor coach when Eugene, aka The Quiet Man, pilots our way through more of the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, while Big Mike, our on-board concierge, will, no doubt, narrate more tall tales as only an Irishman can.
Oíche mhaith (Good night).
©The Palladian Traveler