Treasures of Ireland:
Dinner in Killarney
Story and photos by Tom Weber
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
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 two-hour scenic cruise to a full stop in front of the Killarney
Plaza Hotel and Spa, our four-star digs for the next two nights.
Before we hop off the motor coach, Big
Mike, our larger-than-life tour director/concierge/ storyteller, 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 its "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 (the celebrity chef) 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 past sunrise, when
we'll enjoy a relaxed start to yet another fab day on the Emerald Isle
that'll begin with a jaunty car ride through postcard-perfect Killarney
Oíche mhaith (Good night).
Rock of Cashel; The
Kilkenny Way; A
Donnybrook of a Feast; Dublin
and the Book of Kells; Treasures
of Ireland: Prologue