I fell asleep instantly on the plane in which I was fleeing the island lest Donald Trump came to Clare to build his other wall in Doonbeg around his golf resort there.

When I awoke after two or three hours, dammit if I did not think there had been some time zone error and I was just down the road from home in Killarney on a fine summer day.

It was the jarveys with their smiling faces and horses waiting patiently inside the shafts of the jaunting cars which created that first impression, of course. And the sparkling lakes of silvery water, the clear air, the dramatically soaring mountains and forests.

And the atmosphere about everywhere of craic and relaxation and homeliness. That is what did it.

In geographic fact I was actually in Portugal for the first time. I had reached the intriguing small town of Sintra about a 40 minute drive from Lisbon Airport.

We would relax there for a week and, lads, though it breaks my heart to admit this truth, across the scale of tourism, we here in the Emerald Isle -- even in Killarney -- fall far behind the qualities of this largely unsung jewel of Portugal. It hurts me to admit that but it is the raw truth.

I never saw a drop of rain during the week. The sun never stopped shining, but there was a balmy breeze from the nearby ocean to keep things comfortable even for an Irishman with spindly white legs in shorts and a balding spot atop which I quickly covered up anyway with a cap constructed entirely of cork.

More than that, and a crucial factor for all of us, the prices of everything a tourist needs in Sintra are incredibly cheap by Irish and, I think, American standards.

This Brexit business has clouded the global financial situation but, believe me, either the euro or the dollar go much further in Sintra than at home. We found that a good meal for two, wine and trimmings, cost between €15 and €20, and that is half the cost we are used to.

Your jarvey would nearly bring you back home for the cost of a jaunt around the Lakes and Muckross. An expressio costs mere cents, the typical pack of cigarettes (€11 in Ireland) less than €3, a glass of good Portuguese wine little more than one of the five euros you typically pay here.

But holiday costings are only one element of the equation. I know it can be boring stuff to read about others' travels, but truth is that I am driven to warmly recommend a Sintra break to any of you in Europe soon for a whole host of other reasons too.

The people have a version of the Cead Mile Failte which is as hearty and earthy as ours and yours. Most have better English than I possess, certainly in the services sector. Tourism is the main industry here and they service it to the hilt.

Above all, in more ways than one, a huge and ancient Moorish Castle dominates the skyline high above the town. It was constructed, eons ago, by the ancestors of those Donald Trump wishes to ban from the U.S. and, floodlit at night, is truly awesome.

I stayed in the third-generation Hotel Nova Sintra and, again, cannot praise the standards and staff more highly. (I know this is beginning to look like a PR piece for Sintra but it is not that at all. It is good advice from a precourser of any trip you might be considering).

There is a terrace in front of the hotel where one sits late at night looking up at the Moorish Castle and nearby hilltop palaces of past royalty, and that view takes away the talk from even a bletherskite like me.

And the craic. Mighty altogether.

I saw Ireland beat Italy in a family cafe in the town center. I instantly celebrated by standing up and singing "Danny Boy" very loudly, and the wine came flowing in our direction immediately and there was loud applause.

If I still had an unmarried son I would have brought home for him the vivacious tour guide Rita Lebre who was special and whom I hugged three times daily in the presence of my wife. Her colleague Vitor Hermenegaldo was good craic too, and they slandered and libeled our coach driver Nuno Correia unendingly and very funnily altogether.

From all the foregoing ye will see that I enjoyed Sintra to the hilt, will return next year and maybe meet some of you there and, finally, I wish to thank Donald Trump for, however unwittingly, sending me out of Clare by threatening a visit.

Sintra, Portugal: "I wish to thank Donald Trump for, however unwittingly, sending me out of Clare by threatening a visit."Caty Bartolomew