Limerick: Christmas 2015

Limerick: Christmas 2015

There’s a branch of Gloria Jeans in Limerick which won me over as soon as I arrived. When I eventually made it in there, we experienced the most friendliest welcome I’d had in Ireland. What’s with the jugs of milk on tables in coffee shops though? I can’t be sure how long it’s been there or what may have dropped in it (in the same way I dislike sugar being on tables in the UK) so I don’t like using it.

So Limerick appeared a little friendlier than Dublin for sure. Maybe because on the Atlantic side of Ireland, Americans come more frequently to spend their golden dollars.

My goal here was to get (Wild) Atlantic side and we picked the one dry day of the week to go on a bus trip to the Cliffs of Moher. The storms that ruined the festive season for so many in the north of the UK were threatening the west coast but we wanted to get there. We felt like we’d hit the jackpot as not only did we have a dry day but sunshine too. The views and just the feeling of getting up there were worth the sometimes traumatic bus journey, thanks to my motion sickness. Even the visitor centre is fantastic – it’s dug out the cliff, you wouldn’t know it’s there!

We did miss out on trips to Cork and Galway. The latter because I didn’t fancy another bus trip as the cliffs one was challenging on my delicate travel tummy. We cancelled Cork the next day as we were both poorly. We’re not sure if it was the burgers or beer (we both had beef and the same drink) at Coqbull or from the pub lunch that the Moher bus stopped for. There wasn’t any other chance for food – that was where the bus stopped and we all dutifully piled into pub and joined the long queue for cafeteria style food. Not a traditional pub then but onto a winner as that’s where all the tourists were bought. On the way back, we also stopped at a little place that had a load of shops and the café in the fabulous Irish department store would have frankly been a great place to eat but we were too full even for coffee & cake!

We knew some of Cork was flooded, and that some shops and services may not be open as it was new year’s eve. It would have meant an early start to grab breakfast and get on the rain for two hours. I was almost back to full health but the bf had it later (did it take longer to get to him because he’s taller?) so I’m really glad we didn’t go. Plus it felt much more wintery by the tale-end of the festive month.

Instead, much later in the morning, we took the 20 minute bus to Adare ‘the prettiest village in Ireland’. I’m thinking the Irish has an odd idea of pretty: Birmingham canals are prettier, along with every little village in the UK and frankly, I imagine Ireland.There was nothing open apart from some pubs – who may or may not have been serving food – we’d already been turned down from one in Limerick as their kitchen were closed till January. But we found a lovely café in Restaurant 1826, and so did everyone else as it was the only place seemingly open. It didn’t take long to get a table though and the place had a great menu and service.

I love reading local newspapers abroad (when they’re in English) and Go Rail, as the name suggests, the free magazine picked up at train stations and the like, gave me the best insight into the country. After my experience in Dublin, I read an interesting piece about real racism from an Irish-born Chinese lady in Limerick in a magazine in our hotel room. I looked at the contributors and hers was the only no-Irish name I could see whereas the same in the UK would be full of diversity.

We had 4 post-checkout hours on New Year’s Day before heading to Shannon airport, thanks to the civilised 12 noon checkout Limerick Strand. This is ordinarily one of my favourite days of the year, I love a fresh start!

We only needed one hour though as everything was shut. I’d checked Brown Thomas was open so assumed the other big departments store would be too. But no. So the other three hours were spent getting properly wet as the only coffee shop was Costa. Or the café in teeny tiny Brown Thomas, where we’d already been once for breakfast, Brioche French Toast. (So light and fluffy and covered in Nutella. It seems ladies that lunch portioned meals are prefect for me).

We headed to the airport an hour earlier than needed but thankfully, a good restaurant was open serving a full menu. We had fish n chips and admired the 1960s feel of this quirky airport where everything kind of works! The plane which had a knock-on effect on the rest of our journey but we were so glad to arrive home at Birmingham airport, 10 minute train ride from home rather than a London airport.

It seemed strange to be in same time zone as the UK during Christmas week since 2004 and we enjoyed are relaxing and slightly extravagant Irish adventure and were even complete prepared for the rain wardrobe-wise. We didn’t get to marvel at any fireworks displays in Limerick but it was lovely not be shaken out of our tree by loud fireworks and noisy revellers all day on NYE like in the previous few years!

Have you been to Limerick or the Atlantic Wild West? I'd love to hear from you @RickieWrites

View from the room: The Maldron, Dublin

View from the room: The Maldron, Dublin

Dublin: Christmas 2015

Dublin: Christmas 2015