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At the moment, travel is off the table—but that's not going to stop us from having a staycation inspired by our favorite places. We've given you tips on how to recreate a Parisian day at home and how to bring London right to you. Next up? Why it's Ireland, of course!
While we desperately wish we could transport you straight to the elegant Belmond Grand Hibernian, which would whisk you across lush green countrysides whilst bundled up in a tartan blanket, physical travel is currently on hold. So, instead, we're going to bring the delightful Irish culture right to you by way of delicious meals, iconic music and film, a serious page-turner, and—of course—a good bit of Guinness. (Just don't drink too much, or else you'll wake up banjoed, in rag order, sick as a plane to Lourdes, etc.)
Because we wouldn't offer you advice without an expert's input, Departures spoke to Mark Nolan, General Manager at Dromoland Castle, an American Express Fine hotels & Resorts property, about how to have the perfect Irish day at home. First things first: what to wear. "My at-home fashion could be described as pretty simple and repetitive!" said Nolan. "[But] being in Ireland, a good coat is a must and I love to go walking so a Barbour coat is a great investment for anyone in Ireland." ($415, orvis.com)
"The authentic Irish vibe is easy-going and up for a laugh! It’s been harder than normal in this environment, but to be truly authentic you need to try and look on the bright side, and raise a glass to the good times ahead," said Nolan. "Sláinte!"
Enjoy a Virtual Cooking Lesson with Clodagh McKenna
Every day, award-winning Irish chef Clodagh McKenna features an IGTV on her Instagram of one of her favorite recipes, so you can cook and learn right alongside her, while she moves about her stunning countryside kitchen. Order one of her cookbooks—we love Clodagh's Suppers ($9, amazon.com)—pour yourself a tipple of whiskey (try Teeling Whiskey, $33, totalwine.com), and get cooking.
Listen to Some Classic Irish Tunes
Read Normal People by Sally Rooney
Fair warning, you may just spend the whole day curled up with this book once you're a few pages in ($9, amazon.com). Normal People (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2018) follows the gripping friendship of two young Irish people, Connell and Marianne, as they grow from teens at school in County Sligo to young adults together at Trinity College. (The book has recently been adapted into a series on Hulu.)
Happy Hour: (Otherwise Known as Guinness O'clock)
"We are lucky enough to have some wonderful Irish cheeses, seafood, and meats that will always lend themselves to a good charcuterie board—and Guinness," said Nolan, about the best lineup for Happy Hour treats. "Smoked salmon on brown bread is a must here!"
Enjoy an Irish Film Fest at Home
Cozy up with a hot cuppa tea and watch an Irish classic like Waking Ned Divine, The Commitments, or Once. If you're feeling especially game for a laugh and a bit of fictionalized history, check out the Irish television series Derry Girls on Netflix, all about a group of cheeky teens living in Northern Ireland during the political unrest of the 1990s.
Travel to Ireland Virtually
"If there is any silver lining to this experience, it’s that people have become so innovative and creative," said Nolan. "We have been challenged like we never have before, from a hospitality and tourism perspective, but I am so impressed with the response. Even from our team alone, we have created all kinds of masterclasses, from cooking to arts and crafts. The Cliffs of Moher offer a virtual tour online, which is so beautiful (minutes from Dromoland Castle). The Wild Atlantic way can be viewed on a virtual tour from south to North. You can even catch a virtual mass at the local parish church!"