Top destinations for a perfect honeymoon in Ireland
Spectacular scenery, luxurious hotels, and some suprises.
Last December I married a fine Limerick man, John Mooney, whom I met in New York five years before. We decided to honeymoon in Ireland and had the best vacation of our lives.
We were quick to discover that a honeymoon in Ireland in mid-winter warmed the heart, offered spectacular scenery, luxurious hotels, and some suprises.
The decision to honeymoon in Ireland in December was a risky one.
Ireland is known for its erratic and cantankerous weather so the decision to spend a week driving from the bottom of the country to the top and back again was one we hoped wouldn’t require divorce papers before our marriage even got a chance to take off.
Our honeymoon kicked off in the Belfry suite of the Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney-(www.muckrosspark.com).
The hotel, one of the oldest in County Kerry, is located on 25,000 acres of magnificent mountains, lakes and streams, and is the ideal romantic setting. It was part of the original Muckross House Estate owned by the Herbert family, who were in such good social standing that they enjoyed a visit from Queen Victoria in 1861.
The hotel complex is home to the G.B. Shaw Restaurant, named in tribute to the playwright who spent the summer of 1923 here, writing Pygmalion (the play that became My Fair Lady).
It is also features Kerry’s famous Molly Darcy’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant, where lunch, followed by a late night of beverages with friends, provided the perfect start to our honeymoon.
Our next stop was The Hotel Europe and Resort, (www.theeurope.com) which offers breathtaking views of the Lakes of Killarney.
A multi-million-dollar renovation has brought Hotel Europe to a level that few hotels in Ireland can compete with.
We were shown to our suite by a fine gentleman named Padraig and took a few minutes to revel in the fine linens and magnificent view of the lakes before exploring the hotel.
The lobby has massive floor to ceiling windows and a fireplace in the center where we sat and enjoyed a drink.
The following morning, my 31st birthday, John breakfasted in bed, while I got pampered in the spa.
Una, the masseuse, welcomed me with warm towels and then soothingly transported me into another world.
An hour or so later, I had to be pried from the relaxation lounge with its views of the lakes as John had our bags packed ready for our journey up the country.
Let the road trip begin.
After a quick trip to Killarney town for a spot of unnecessary shopping, we settled into our midsize Ford Focus car (rented from Dooley Car Rental at Shannon Airport)- www.dan-dooley.ie for a two-hour trip to County Clare.
I had heard about Americans spending endless weeks exploring Ireland’s castles so a stay at Dromoland Castle (www.dromoland.ie) was a must on my birthday night.
A lovely drive up through Kerry and Limerick brought us to one of the most famous baronial castles in Ireland – the seat of the O’Briens, direct descendants of Brian Boru, and resident here until 1962, when financial difficulties forced the 16th Baron to sell to Bernard McDonagh of West Virginia who converted the castle and grounds into a luxury hotel and resort.