I love how when I originally wrote my 100 List, I specified that I must stay at a B&B with Mark. Who else would I stay with?
On our recent vacation to Ireland and England, we stayed in a lovely B&B up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, near the rock formation of the Giant's Causeway. We found it on Airbnb, a website we've often used for travel, where users post their spare rooms or empty houses/apartments for rent. That's a whole other post by itself, which I swear I'll get to someday (spoiler: we love it). Portrush happens to be a major golf destination, home to one of the best golf courses in the world. I didn't know it was such a popular little place when I booked it -- I actually just looked at a map, found the Giant's Causeway, thought Portrush looked near it and decided we'd stay there. Little did I know we'd be surrounded by posh golfers!
We drove up to Portrush from Galway, which is on the west coast of Ireland. The drive took nearly five hours, but driving through Ireland is definitely the way you want to see the country-- stone fences, lots of sheep, and beautiful green hills! Really, Ireland is SO worth your time. I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did. We visited the Giant's Causeway before heading to the B&B, and by the time we got to Portrush in late afternoon the sun was trying to come out. We upgraded to a water view for five pounds (necessitating driving around Portrush for a while trying to exchange euros for pounds, since we'd exited Ireland for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland uses pounds).
The B&B was cute and accommodating, a welcome reprieve from a five-hour car ride and traipse along the Giant's Causeway. They had a tray of tea fixings and an electric kettle waiting in the room, a perfect way to unwind from the day. The owners recommended a lovely restaurant for dinner where we had what I thought was the best meal of the trip. I had the sea bass with a chili aioli and roasted red peppers atop a sweet potato gratin. Yes. It was amazing. And of course some wine! The restaurant was where we found all the posh golfers vacationing with their families. I kept expecting to see my boss any minute!
A B&B stay wouldn't be complete without breakfast. That night the owners had us fill out a menu of sorts where we basically requested what we wanted for breakfast. Can someone do that for me every day, please? Cook me breakfast to order? It was all delicious, and such a wonderful experience. Northern Ireland has had a bad reputation through the years (and for good reason) but the environment has changed a lot and it's worth a visit. Even in Belfast, our destination after Portrush. I have nothing but good things to say about Belfast too, but that's another post.