The majority of day 3 was spent in the car driving through countryside to Renvyle. After another amazing breakfast at Two Rooms (porridge with caramelized brown sugar, Irish whiskey, and cream, followed by baked eggs with cherry tomatoes, gruyere, Irish cheddar, Parmesan and basil, with homemade bread and thick cut bacon) I began to feel sleepy roughly 3/4 of the drive in. We stopped along the way to check out random castles placed in the middle of towns. We drove through Westport, which was an adorable little town, stopped to stretch, and went into a store where we bought jam tarts. About an hour later, we were in Renvyle... Or so we thought. We weren't quite there yet, and our gps didn't really recognize the hotel at all. We drove through houses (along a dirt road that was really more like two dirt tire tracks through the grass) that dotted the hillside along the ocean/bay, or maybe it was a lake (?). We stopped to try our gps again. This time, it recognized the hotel.
Entry into Renvyle House Hotel was breathtaking, and, as we approached, there was a sign that read "stress free zone". They mean it. Not only is stress not welcome here, it's not even spotted. It's impossible to not relax when you're here. The hotel is on a couple dozen acres (or more. I can't remember), it has a large lake that almost meets the ocean, a small dock for boating, fly fishing, golf, croquet, tennis, gardens, clay shooting (extra fee for that). It's like an all in clusive resort, yet full of charm and has the feel of a quaint B&B. our view as we woke up was absolutely gorgeous. It's around 9:30, and we're heading down to breakfast soon, and then plan to take full advantage (weather permitting, it's kinda windy) of the amenities here.
~ Erika Smith.
Friday, March 8th.
Yesterday, we rented a car in Dublin and drove across the width of the country, stopping every so often to pee, stretch our legs, and look at centuries old castles and churches that are just strewn about in odd little towns... Kind of like Wal*mart's in America. Despite our GPS not knowing where we were going, and my urge to take every road that pointed toward Cavan (lake country, in the North, which I've read has, historically, had a high McGee population), but we had not started as early as planned, and we did not want to be lost on nameless one lane roads, in the dark, once we got out to Connemara. Our desire for adventure seems always at odds with our desire for safety, order, and comfort, and I pray that someday adventure will truly win.
Renvyle house, and the surrounding seaside and country, is beautiful. We got in too late to really explore the area, but the worn brick fireplace, smoldering peat fire, hot seafood chowder, and cold glass of Guinness combined to fulfill the prophecy on the entry sign; "Now entering a stress-free zone."... And brought up memories in my heart of a home I've always hoped to know.
Looking out the window of our room (around the corner, up the stairs, turn right through the door, down the hall, turn right through the next door, up the stairs, then down the hall a bit. It will be on your right), I can see the Atlantic held firm in the arms of the rolling hills, with islands dotted throughout like emeralds sprinkled on a blue steel plate.
Perhaps we've found, at long last, a place where time does not exist... With the notable exceptions of checkout time, tea time, and tee time. It looks like a place where a person could be neither early nor late, but where every arrival and departure happens just when it needs to, no matter when. I could spend a day that lasts a thousand years here, or stay my whole life, and it would seem like an hour.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I have more Celtic music on my iPod than you can listen to while driving from one coast of Ireland to the other.
~ Jacøb Smith.