Ireland — Arrival

I’ll eventually finish the RWA recap, but I know you’ll all be thrilled with the substitution: Nora’s Ireland travelogue.  Here’s Part the First:

We had the smoothest flight over the Atlantic I’ve ever experienced. An excellent start. Zipped through the airport in no time, and walked outside to a bright and breezy day. Took a nice, deep gulp of Irish air and said ahhhhh.

We rented the biggest SUV available, and when BW pulled it up in front of our mountain of luggage (four people, two weeks. And we’re American), I wondered if it had an expansion option like my suitcase.

Our Kat claimed this was no problem, and proceeded to arrange big-ass suitcases, smaller duffles, camera cases in the back. To my eye this was never going to fit. To Kat’s there’s always a way, and indeed she made it work.

She claims it’s Tetrus skills.

It’s a straight shot from Knock airport to Westport, and with BW at the wheel, off we go. Blue skies, puffy white clouds on one side, thick gray on the other above lush green countryside. The green changes hues as the clouds shift. Bright, then deep, then dreamy. Lots of cottages, flowers blooming. Hydrangeas are plentiful, and I catch a big swath of wild purple loosestrife on a little slope.

With those shifting clouds we drive into rain, and a few minutes later, drive out of it again to arrive at our hotel in under an hour.

Our home for the next week outside of the busy little town of Westport is a spreading Tudor-style building with wonderfully lush gardens. Inside the big lobby lots of people, and many young children are out and about. I see they’ve had a wedding.

We’re far too early to check in, but they take our luggage to store. We wander around a bit, settle in The Drawing Room. We’re very quiet, all playing on various devices, but the gentleman who’d been in there alone heaves a mighty sigh and departs. Now it IS loud in the lobby. Lots and lots of excited post-wedding morning conversation, lots of kids running around, but we were quiet. LOL.

One of the suites comes ready, so we’re shown up to the second floor.

It’s a lovely space, all that wonderful light pouring in big bow windows that look out over the gardens, the bay and onto the impressive mountains. We have a little kitchen area so will buy some supplies in the village later. I especially like the two glass doors. We can walk right outside and into a garden area. It’s so beautifully quiet.

And convenient as the bar is close through the maze of corridors that will take me a day or two to conquer.

In the bar we settle into cozy sofas, order some drinks and a light lunch. The adorable bartender brings the drinks, tips the tray just a big. Over goes my glass of champagne, soaking his pants and the table. He brings another, and mopping up tells us it was his birthday yesterday, and maybe he over-celebrated.

Jason and I split a lovely salad, BW and Kat both have the soup. Revived, and with the other suite ready, we head up, directly above our suite to Jason’s and Kat’s space. It’s wonderful, too. A fabulous view, with that extra height of Clew Bay and the mountains, and a HUGE tub Kat will make good use of.

BW and I go down to unpack. I absolutely overpacked, knew it, but on packing day I had Fried Brain due to unexpected reality complications and pushing to try to finish the first draft of the wip before I left. Plus, you never know how many layers you’re going to need in Ireland.

BW and I opt for a walk down to Westport while Kat and Jason take a nap. Ten minutes from the hotel by foot, first through a lovely green tunnel of trees, down a steep slope, then a sidewalk along the busy road. It feels just marvelous, the sun, the air–warm and bright and a little gift. We’ve hit summer in Ireland which can often last about five minutes.

There’s a little river with a stone bridge, the walls decorated with hanging flowers, the water decorated with happy ducks. Pretty, pretty, and shady. We’re scouting around for restaurants, pubs, shops. See a pizza place that will likely suit us for our first dinner.

And I see her–or BW sees her first.

She’s so beautiful, so unique. A lady in a soft-looking wide hat, a lovely flowered dress, holding an open book in her two hands. She stands in a shop window, and speaks clearly to me. I think I would have bought her on the spot, had her shipped home, but she deserves a proper place. I have to think of that proper place first, make sure I have it for her at home. I’m pretty sure I’m going to MAKE that space.

 We hit a Dunne’s for sodas, wine. Don’t buy too much as we’re walking back.

And that walk back is STEEP. I actually get hot–this may be a first over here. My quads feel it, too, and I figure it may be a pretty short walk all in all, but I got in a decent workout without breaking out my DVDs and yoga mat.

 We’ve heard there’s another wedding today, and see the bride and groom drive by in their decorated antique car, with some of the wedding party blasting horns behind. I suspect they married in the pretty church I spotted in the village.

 We make it back, plop down, me with my Ipad, finally figure out the TV remote. After a bit I have to wander outside, take some pictures with my phone of the flowers. They have some hydrangeas here in a deep, deep rose pink. They’re glorious, and some are ten-inches across (BW measured).

 I want some for my own at home, hope to find them next spring.

 I text Kat we’re up and about, and down they come. They’d been watching a Brit show called Tumbled. Sort of Dancing With The Stars, gymnist version.

 It’s fascinating. The celebs are paired with a professional, train, then do a routine. This week was floor work and the big ring. It’s pretty impressive what these actors pull off. And we feel the judges–Olympians–are far too hard on most.

 Time for dinner. The wedding reception is in full swing as we leave to drive down. The village is much quieter now, and we find a parking spot a block from our pizza target.

It’s a fairly big place, smells great. The walls are all hand painted with sketches of Italian figures, little sayings, bigger words like PIZZA. It’s clever, creative, attractive.

 We all get individuals–me with my purist cheese pizza, Jason with the addition of pineapple as he’ll save half for his breakfast LOL, and Kat and BW each with combos with all manner of toppings.

 We dive in. It’s really nice pizza, just the thing. A happy restaurant, happy food, happy us.

 The moon’s up and full, sailing in a sky where the clouds are few as we head back. I try for a picture. Jason gets one infinitely better. We hang out for a short time, but BW’s nodding off. So it’s off to bed.

 I slept like a rock until nine. I never sleep until nine–even with the change of time. Feel great! BW headed down to breakfast, and just got back.

Today we’ve going to take a nearby adventure once we all get up and about.

It’s another bright and breezy day. It may stay that way.



32 thoughts on “Ireland — Arrival”

  1. Wish I were there with you, Nora. It sounds fabulous. I keep hoping I win that trip to the Irish Castle. Your books on Ireland describe it so beautifully that I would love to be able to go there. Have a pint for me. Enjoy your trip

    Gloria Maxwell
    Greenfield, MA.

  2. Nora, you’re so generous, to share your wonderful vacations with us. Hope you have a wonderful time! Looking forward to the pictures!

  3. I love eading these stories. I live in N. Ireland and there’s such pride in hearing the way Nora describes my home. I wouldn’t wish to live anywhere else <3

  4. Trip to Ireland – I am eagerly awaiting a phone call that I won the trip for 2 to Ireland – from the Witch series……has a winner been announced yet?

  5. We are going to Ireland (a lifelong dream…next year….and I’m in my 60’s.)….I’m following with anticipation! Btw….I wish I was your personal publicist!

  6. Thank you, Nora, for gifting me with a little vacation to Ireland. I’ve been briefly to Wales and a couple spots in England but enjoy my virtual travels though you blog almost as much.

  7. I so look forward to these travel journals. If I never make the trip to Ireland, I will still think I’ve seen some parts of it thanks to Nora.

  8. Oh my gosh, your description is so real! It takes me back to our time in Ireand 10 years ao…4 glorious weeks. We spent 3 or 4 nights in Westport. The little bridges are exactly as you described. (i have pictures:-)

    We stayed in a B&B right on the edge of Westport. (En suite of course :-). We were on the 3rd floor of the house with a lovely view of Croagh Patrick.

  9. Thanks for sharing Day 1 of your Irish vacation. So looking forward to each day’s posts. Sounds like a beautiful place. The lady in the window, holding the book, sounds intriguing. Hope you find a spot for her in your home, or maybe at TTP?? Let us know! Be safe.

  10. I love that bridge in Westport and the hydrangeas there were amazing. I had to stop taking pictures of every shade and color…We stayed there after a lovely stop at one of Grace O’Malley’s castles nearby…

  11. Thank you for a look at Ireland you tell it well just as you do all your books. I have always wanted to go to Ireland
    my maternal relatives are from there. My mum passed when she was 40 and I 19, and my youngest sister and I want to travel to Ireland some day. Until then we will take a virtual tour with you lovely words.

  12. I have never been out of The United States but would love to go to Ireland one day because you describe it so beautifully. Thanks for your updates and have a wonderful trip

  13. My, my! These travelogues NEVER get old! First, let me say, my sons call me Tetris for the same reason. I’ll make it work. So I hear ya, Kat!
    I am currently visiting my family in Colombia (South America) for the first time in eleven years. And my favorite morning radio show hosts are in Ireland at the moment, documenting via Instagram as well. I’ve TRAVEL on my mind!
    I am completely taken with the scene thus far. I am particularly curious with the views from the hotel suites. Would it be too intrusive to ask for a shot from one of the windows?
    Cannot wait for more! So lovely!

  14. Sigh, makes we want to go back… always wanted to go back. Enjoy and stay safe! And if you get to Croagh Patrick, tell him i said Hi before you head up! 🙂

  15. Your Irish travels sound fabulous. My friend, Barbara Talbot has been there for a month, fabulous pictures on Facebook. I opted out in favor of (Disney), Macchu Pichu and France this fall. Hope I didn’t make a mistake. Have a wonderful time. Think wonderful thoughts! Betsy Babbington

  16. Love this snapshot of Ireland! My niece lives just outside of Westport and I can’t wait to visit. Thanks for the preview.

  17. I feel like I have just been there. It’s dark cold and miserable here, but for a short while I was somewhere warm and wonderful with lovely people. Thanks Nora and team

  18. Welcome to Ireland Nora. You have come to one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland, the west. Rugged landscapes touched only by nature and scenery that is ever changing. It’s truly inspirational. I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

  19. Thank you for sharing and welcome to Ireland
    Who or What is the lovely lady reading the book in the floral dress ?? Very interested to know, a painting? a dress? a mannequin? a doll? mmmmmm makes me wonder….
    Anyway happy holidays from one of your many Irish fans xx

  20. How lovely that you take the time to share your reflections and your experiences! We can live vicariously through you in yet another way! My favorite way to spend a summer day is in reading – or re-reading! – one of your glorious trilogies, Nora! Have a fabulous vacation! You so deserve it!

  21. Welcome to Ireland hope u bought some good weather with you at the moment in Roscommon its cool and breezy where else are you visiting while u are here Donegal is also a beautiful county to visit especially up the north of Donegal the beaches are beautiful and the scenery is so rugged enjoy ur visit

  22. Looking forward to visiting Ireland especially after reading your books that take place there and your vivid descriptions. However I am fascinated with the beautiful lady you saw in the store window. I have such an image of her in my mind. Hope we get to see a picture of her soon.

  23. Nora, welcome to Ireland! I’ve been living here for two years and a half, and it is mainly because of your beautiful descriptions! Hope you have a good stay here in the Emerald Island… Hopefully I’ll meet you somewhere out there… 🙂 Enjoy your stay!!

  24. Just a lovely first travelogue review. I feel like I am delving into one of Nora’s book when I read them, thanks Nora for doing it for your fans, we love you to bits. And thanks Laura for passing them along.

    I had to have a cup of earl gray and a cranberry scone to eat with this read, yum.

    P.S. I too am a pizza purist. Just cheese please. Hahaha

  25. Nora, I love to read about Ireland and your books are some of the best. I am half Irish and dream of someday travelling there and exploring my genealogy, finding some relatives would be a joy. I sit and surround myself on the weekends with my Tommy Makem music, my Nora Roberts books (I own about 60 at this time) and a meal of Irish Stew and Soda Bread, Can’t get any better than that!
    I have an author friend, Holly Jacobs and she tells of the wonderful times she has at conventions and getting to be with authors like you. Hope to someday get to meet you – any plans for a book signing in San Diego?

  26. Delighted to see our airport knock been used by such wonderful people, welcome to Ireland Nora and your family no doubt there’s a plot been thought out, love your books!

  27. This all sounds lovely. I made my dream of visiting Ireland come true a few years ago. A friend of mine is a doctor there and I went for a visit. I didn’t get to write about it though, like I would have wanted, but maybe I will go back. In the meantime, I look forward to reading the rest of your day’s logs in the most beautiful country.

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