Folks, I got invited on my first ever bloggers trip last month. Needless to say, I was excited and delighted to accept the invitation.
Now before you all think I was whisked off to an exotic beach…. you could be right. However, the truth is I was invited to attend the Taste of Carlow event, which was even better than a day at the beach.
Yes, another Midlands county that kind of gets by-passed by all the tours and tour operators. It is a fate that befalls pretty much all the Midland counties of Ireland. Tourists land in Shannon, or Dublin, and off they go…. all around the coast. Now I am not saying that our coastline isn’t wonderful…. in fact, I think the Wild Atlantic Way is a wonderful initiative, and I just love some of the promotional stuff…. but could we maybe have a Meander the Magical Midlands initiative?
(I just thought that up now…. it isn’t half bad…. should I patent it?)
Anyway back to my trip to Carlow.
We were blessed with a beautiful day. I had an early start, out of here at 8 a.m., leaving Alfie in charge of our AirBnB guests – Martha and Emmet – who were very understanding of my rude early departure.
Our bloggers day consisted of history, scenery, food (lots of it), gardens… really a mix of everything…. something to suit all tastes.
We did so much I could be posting forever…. but let me tell you about my highlights… which are in no particular order.
Our Carlow Guide :
Bianka of Carlow Tours….. what a treasure. She told us so much about each place we visited, and had such interesting snippets to share, to make the stories more real. Seriously, if you are heading to Carlow make sure to book a tour with Bianka.
Historical Carlow :
I just loved Duckett’s Grove Castle. The Castle suddenly seems to appear before you, with a magnificent drive up to it. We walked around the Castle and Gardens, and, of course, stopped at The Tea Rooms for tea and the most delicious scones ever.
Browneshill Dolmen…. now how on earth did they arrange those stones without modern day lifting equipment?
Huntington Castle…. this place is totally amazing! We had a quick ramble around the beautiful gardens, walked along the Yew Walk, before doing the tour of the Castle. We were also shown some of the more private rooms…. believe me this is an amazing family home. Then, of course, it was time to stop for more tea…. this time in the magnificent courtyard.
Loved the colours and vibrancy of these flowers on display from The Flowerfield at Huntington Castle.
A little detour was arranged to take us to Mount Leinster. In typical Irish weather fashion, having had glorious sunshine all day as soon as we got to the top the rain came down…. but we could still all imagine the magnificent views.
Taste of Carlow:
What can I say about the food we had throughout the day? There were those delicious scones at Duckett’s Grove, the magnificent picnic lunch arranged for us by Carlow Farmers Market, the treats bought at the market, the trip to Malone’s Fruit Farm where I was completely taken by the Smoked Garlic, sips of Elderflower Champagne and Sloe Gin from Mary of Blackstairs Eco Trails – there was a danger that Lisa of Isle Magazine and myself might have stayed there for the afternoon! The day culminated in an absolutely delicious meal at The Step House in Borris where Chef Alan Foley truly pulled out all stops. My personal favourites of our tasting menu? The Salmon, the pork and the duck were so so good.
Major, major thank you to Dee and Susan from Green & Vibrant for organising such a magnificent day….. they’ve kind of thrown down the gauntlet for me to figure out a way to invite them over this side of the Midlands :) And thanks must also go to fellow bloggers who made the day such an enjoyable one – Lorna (Irish Farmerette), David (Beyond the Wild Garden), and Sophia and Lisa from Isle Magazine.