Mrs FOMOist and I are not uber romantic. Neither of us get sucked into the hype of Valentine’s Day, we rather eat a nice meal than buy each other flowers and we rather spend the money on doing things when travelling, rather than splash out on 5 Star accommodation.
But, earlier this month, we threw away the rule-book and treated ourselves to a luxurious stay at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore. I would have never even known this place existed, if it wasn’t for the casual hallway, front-of-the-coffee-machine chats with a workmate. Mrs FOMOist and I were exploring a few possible destination options for our second wedding anniversary when this workmate suggested going to Waterford in Ireland. Since moving to London we have been gallivanting around Europe, however there has always been a slight pang of guilt for not making the most of the UK and the neighbours.
So we took the advice, booked our tickets, landed in Cork, picked up the rental car and drove to this infamous hotel. After driving in the wrong direction for 10 minutes and then finishing the hour drive, we stopped in front of this hotel, perched on top of a cliff like the crown on Her Majesty’s royal head. Once stationary, we were greeted by the lovely janitor, who offered to park and unload the car. Just digressing a little here, the reason I am giving all these details is because I don’t want to forget this royal treatment anytime soon. Valet parking, for our rental Renault, really?
Anyways, once inside the reception, we were greeted by magnificent panoramic views of the ocean stretched out as far as eyes could see. We were early to arrive so we left our bags at the reception, grabbed a couple of umbrellas (yes it’s Ireland and it was raining and very cold, yes) and set for a stroll around the Ardmore village. To our slight disappointment, the entire town was closed, but for me it added to the serenity, even if my rumbling stomach didn’t agree. After walking around the town, twice, we agreed to have a
light lunch at the only open restaurant – White Horses Restaurant. The “light” lunch started with a main each and ended with a dessert, tea and coffee. While the meal was delicious, we instantly regretted the decision of stuffing ourselves at 2.00pm, because we had a 6.30pm meeting at The House – one Michelin star restaurant at our hotel. So to burn off the calories, we checked into our room and admired the expansive coastal view from the floor to ceiling wall of our room.
This is possibly the only time that we have spent so much time indoors on a holiday, except for when we went on a cruise and Mrs FOMOist almost died of sea-sickness and me of cabin fever! But this was different. This time we were caramalised Jack and Rose on the edge of Titanic, with uninterrupted views of the imposing coastline, all from our room! I have never enjoyed looking into nothingness so much before. It was a view of a cliff trying to embrace the infinite ocean, while failing miserably.
Now to the dinner. We went to the restaurant punctually, still full from dinner, and decided on a la carte. I initially was determined to have a three-course meal, but after the freshly baked bread and the three different amuse-bouche, quickly changed my tune to get a main each and finish with beautifully fluffy souffle. Without
bragging boring you with the blow-by-blow account of events, below is a quick list of highlights from our trip:
- The hotel we stayed at must be a local’s secret because 90% of the guests were Irish.
- People in Ireland are so polite and friendly. Apart from the ones in our hotel who were just as bad as Londoners, trying to avoid making eye contact at any cost and trying not to smile in case they get wrinkles (that could be the only rational explanation really).
- Irish know how to work their magic with potatoes and I mean it in the most sincere way! I don’t think I’ve ever had roast potato, mash, chips or any other form of potato worth writing about.
- I discovered the joy of walking around in wellies so I can walk into a puddle without worrying about the mess.
- People do genuinely love their stout in Ireland! May be we were surrounded by tourists but I remember seeing a lot more Guinness on tables than I ever have before.
- The cathedral in a place called Cobh is breathtakingly beautiful, towering over the town, looking down on us mortals. When we got to Cobh, we thought we were going off-the-beaten-path but that illusion was shortly shattered when we found out that this was the last port of call for Titanic and the town was full of tourists, donning their maps, exploring the beautifully colourful streets.
Now that we’ve had the taste of Irish hospitality, Mrs FOMOist and I are determined to return and visit Dublin while we are in this part of the world. Watch this space!