While we were in our castle hotel in Ireland, we did more than just sit in the lounge, sip bourbon and read books on our Kindles (though we did do a whole lot of that, too). I don’t care how lazy you are or how much you try to convince yourself you’re “on vacation” (and thus can justify imitating a sloth)—you can’t stay in such a gorgeous setting and not want to get out and explore! Plus, we had one of two pretty days during our whole time in Ireland while at Dromoland, so we definitely weren’t going to waste it.
I mentioned that there are several activities on the castle grounds that guests can do, but one of the complimentary ones is bike rentals. So we started our day by borrowing a few from the activities center.
There are a number of different paths to explore around the perimeter of the castle, some flat and easy, others a very steep incline. We tried to stick to the flat when we could.
This was a complete flashback to my childhood days: My mom has always been overly active—I think this “superhuman energy” as SVV calls it might just run in the family—and so she always liked to get Kari and me out on our bikes as kids. We even rode to and from school sometimes once they finished the sidewalk when I was in elementary.
It had been many years, though, since any of us had done any cycling other than in the gym—and er, remember the last time I hopped on one after a long hiatus? this happened—so I was glad the saying “like riding a bike” held true (at least this time).
After what seemed like forever—but was only, realistically, a little more than an hour—we returned to the golf shop to turn in our bikes. While I only started taking golf lessons last year, I have never wanted to be a golfer more than traveling around Ireland and Scotland—so many plush, verdant courses to play. Though I wasn’t jealous of the guy who had to dig through the swamp to find his ball!
There were some gardens to explore, so we meandered about, killing time until our next and only other plan of the day: dinner.
Meals at Dromoland are no quick endeavor. They take place in a formal dining room, and you need a reservation to eat there (even if you are a guest). Even though we only had two courses each night—and, OK, copious cocktails—we were never out of there in less than two hours! And while dinner isn’t cheap, the decadent dishes they whip up there were worth every penny (or rather, Euro cent) we paid.
If our experience was any indicator, this castle stay was the perfect family vacation in Ireland. Children, adults, golfers, Disney princess wannabes, archers, loungers—I think everyone would enjoy this gorgeous spot in the countryside of the Emerald Isle. I mean, really, how could you not?