21 March, 2012

A Weekend Getaway, Part 1

After weeks and weeks of being cooped up at home, and with a long weekend ahead of us, thanks to St. Patrick's day and a Bank Holiday, we decided to jump ship and head to Ennis, Co. Clare for a little retreat.

We left home on Thursday, and headed north. The drive was good, and we had some lovely weather along the way. Once we arrived in our hotel, The Woodstock Hotel, we got settled in and went to have a dip in their pool, soak away the day in their jacuzzi, and finally to turn to pudding in their sauna. An amazing way to end the day, and start our weekend!

The next morning it was raining, but we broke out our umbrella and went into town to walk around anyway. A little rain never hurt anyone.

We decided on breakfast at Cafe Aroma, mainly because we were just hungry and this was the first place we came to - but I have to say that I'm very glad we stumbled upon it.

I had their "Mini Irish Breakfast" and it was just perfect.

It also came with some fried hashbrown triangle thing, and some toast but, I opted not to eat them, though they looked delicious. Gotta stick with this quest to lost the weight!
Their card machine turned out to be down, so while V ran off to the ATM, I chatted with a cute older local lady who recommended that we check out Knox's for dinner and suggested Cruises pub for Irish music afterwards. Sounded good to me! It was officially "the plan".

After breakfast, we found some local sights and took touristy photos...

and visited the Clare Museum...

After that, we hit up the second hand shop (how could I resist!) and I ended up bringing home a new (to me) Gap shirt, and a really pretty Vera Bradley bag for €4. Woo!
The rain finally seeped into our shoes and up the hems of our jeans, so we decided to call it an afternoon and head back to the hotel for a few hours.
We brought our George Foreman grill and bought some salad makings at Lidl first, then V worked some magic.

This was the single most amazing salad I have eaten in quite a while, and it was so simple! We bought some shaved chicken breast that was seasoned with cajun spices, grilled it, sliced it, and put it on top of a simple leaf lettuce salad with some sliced bell pepper. I put a little yogurt dressing on mine, but V didn't on his and he liked his salad too!

All in all, I think it worked out to be about €2 per person, including a little glass of champagne each...  and we were full! MUCH cheaper than eating out at €8+ per person, not including drinks.

We played a board game called Agricola  for a little while, and just relaxed.

V went and had a little swim in the pool, and I had a quick nap, then it was time to go to Knox's for dinner!

It was our first time out for dinner in several months. We don't go out often because whenever we go out, we try to choose something economical and non-extravagant - and I'm guessing this is why what I'm about to say next is true - but the food is usually not impressive. For instance, we went to a mexican restaurant in Cork and the Mexican food I make at home was far superior (especially my refried beans and salsa thankyouverymuch). Sad to say, we aren't really willing to shell out more money for a night out, unless someplace has excellent reviews. It's just not worth it to us.
Well the old lady in the cafe said this place was really good and really affordable... so we took her on her word. 

Knox's was pretty empty when we arrived. I actually kinda like an empty restaurant, so that made me happy. We sat down next to another couple who arrived at the exact moment we did, but we paid them no mind and chatted together, took some photos, as well as played Dominion (a very fun card game) on my iPhone together while we waited for our food to arrive. 

Look at this skinny face!!! Woo!

Funnily enough, the other couple's food arrived, was eaten, and they were gone before ours even got to the table. It wasn't a long wait - maybe half an hour - but I thought it was funny.

I ordered a steak and salad. V ordered Baby Back Ribs - both came with chips (potato wedges, really) and I had to ruin mine so I would stop eating them. I poured mayo, mustard, salt, pepper... everything on them and had to push them away. I love chips, but they're SOOO starchy and BAD for you! haha!
Silly me, I was starved and dug into my food before I remembered to take a photo - but flashy, dimly lit food photos aren't pretty anyways, so there.

Once we finished dinner, we headed down the street to Cruises, to have a pint (we took a shuttle from our hotel... such a great service) and enjoy som live Irish music.

We sat in a cozy little area with a peat fire and started chatting with some of the couples around us and having a great time! Before we knew it an hour had flown by and there had been NO music! The band was an hour late! I was a little sad, but I know it happens to the best of us. We were able to listen to about 10 minutes though before our shuttle picked us up.

At the hotel, there was a singer performing Irish songs, so we decided to drop by and have a listen. The singer wasn't great, and even with our ages combined, we were still the youngest in the room by far, so after about 20 minutes, we went back to our room.

It was a very fun and full day! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the end of our trip and photos of the St. Patrick's Day parade in Ennis.


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