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O'Connells, Donnybrook
Treasures of Ireland:
A Donnybrook of a Feast
(Dispatch #3)

Story and photos by Tom Weber


enturies 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.

Horse 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.

O'Connells, Donnybrook

Under 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.

Tom O'Connell

"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."

menu at O'Connells

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.

fresh salads, cheeses and smoked organic salmon pate at O'Connells

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.

Tom O'Connell with his dishes: roasted leg of lamb, rib of beef in a three-day gravy, charcoal oven-roasted breast of guinea fowl and fish pie

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 a three-day gravy ladled out by Tom O'Connell himself, charcoal oven-roasted breast of guinea fowl and, my fave, a delicious fish pie.

Lil O'Connell's traditional sherry trifle dessert

And, to cap this epicurean donnybrook, a hearty helping of Lil O'Connell's traditional sherry trifle dessert. Mmm, mmm good!

Insight Vacations brochure

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.

Kilkenny Castle Park

See you tomorrow morning, well after the rooster crows first light, as we enjoy a "relaxed start" and head south to Kilkenny and Killarney.

Oíche mhaith (Good night).

Related Articles:
Dublin and the Book of Kells; Treasures of Ireland: Prologue; Ashford Castle: Regal Elegance Wrapped in Irish Charm; Our Irish Dream Vacation; The Long Good Bye to Ireland

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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