When traveling in Ireland, you must decide: How many days in a row can you eat a full Irish breakfast without popping? This traditional, delicious feast consists of the following: Sausage, bacon “rashers,” black and white pudding (pork, oats, and pork blood for black), fried tomato, potatoes, and eggs, all cooked in butter and graced with a heap of Irish soda bread, tea, and orange juice. Wow!
As a proud glutton, I ate a full Irish breakfast six out of the eight days of our Ireland road trip. (Subsequent research suggests that only actual farmers eat a full Irish breakfast every day, and regular Irish folk indulge only once a week, but oh well.) One of the best Irish breakfasts I devoured was at a four-star hotel called The Lodge at Ashford Castle (click here for availability and rates), in Cong, County Mayo. This hotel, built in 1865 but maintained meticulously, also boasts a visual symphony of color and design that left me cooing.
Take, for example, our hotel room. As you can see below, it shone with jewel-toned, ornate decorations unlike any I have ever seen. Just look at that cow-pattered lounging divan!
Meanwhile, the rest of the hotel bursts with color combinations that are different at each turn of the corner. I’m a huge fan of this salmon-and-gold medley here. And where did they get those amazing chairs?
Now, it is important to note that The Lodge at Ashford Castle is not INSIDE the famous castle, but it shares the lush green grounds and lake. Alas, when we visited, the castle itself was under construction and was literally covered from head to toe with sheeting (hence no photos), but word is that it’s finished now, and guests can once again sleep inside a castle from the year 1228! We may not have gotten to stay inside Ashford Castle, but don’t underestimate the luxury of The Lodge.
A special commendation goes to the very helpful front desk staff at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, as they were able to arrange a vetted, quality babysitter for the evening so that for the first time in a week, Colin and I could have our first adult dinner. You know — the kind of dinner where you don’t get scallops thrown in your hair, but rather can leisurely admire how they are arranged on a seashell.
The night was restful, and in the morning, we eagerly trotted back down the hall to Wilde’s Restaurant, so named because Oscar Wilde himself used to frequent the area! As you might expect, I ordered the full Irish breakfast. Never did I expect I would develop such a lust for pork blood, but that black pudding has really captured my mouth and heart, chums!
Lest you think that Ireland only offers Irish breakfasts, I assure you that we took full advantage of the expansive rest of the menu. Colin ordered pancakes so delectable that I put a dent in the table from stabbing my fork across it. There was also a buffet which, alone, would be four stars, featuring smoothies, freshly baked pastries, and fruit.
As you can see, Ireland treated our stomaches and eyes well! It’s beautiful to see how the country is innovating in food and architecture, while preserving the best of Ireland’s long history… including my favorite: black pudding!
So what do YOU think? Have you ever had Irish breakfast? Would you prefer that, or the pancakes? Or both? Does the decor of this hotel move you, as it did us? Do share!
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We were guests of The Lodge at Ashford Castle, but all opinions and black pudding adoration are my own.