With just 48 hours to go this good friend plans a trip to Ireland for his impulsive friends! Where to start? Who to see? What to do?
It has been by far the most unusual trip I have had to plan to date. These guys had booked their tickets from Los Angeles to Cork, via Reykjavik. Friends since early childhood, Jake McDorman and Cole Evans had decided on a whim that they wanted to escape Los Angeles and Austin for a week. My first question was “When are you leaving. “
“In 48 hours” was the response.
Jake McDorman, appears as Avery Brown, Candice Bergen’s son in the sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’. He is also known for his roles in the movie "American Sniper" with Bradley Cooper, ' Live Free or Die Hard 'with Bruce Willis, star of the CBS tv series "Limitless" playing Brian Finch and in the tv series "Shameless" with William H Macy he played the part of Mike.
Meeting people and having conversations with them before planning their trip is a crucial part of my process. There must be a dialogue first. I need to know who they are. They reveal clues and answers to questions which helps me tailor the trip for them. As their personality unfolds, I immediately think of people around the country they should meet. It always starts with the people. Usually, I have months and sometimes weeks to plan, allowing me time to get to know them, but this trip, as I mentioned previously was unusual. I had 48 hours to get this started.
They were now on their way to Reykjavik, and I was planning their route from Cork to Kerry. Then it happened. During the night, I received a text message to say they had been delayed in Iceland and the flight would be diverted to Dublin now instead of their original destination of Cork. Fantastic. There went my itinerary.
Where to start? Who to see? What to do?
'The Taste of Dublin' was in full swing at Iveagh Gardens. I knew that Cavan’s own Neven Maguire was one of the many culinary heroes performing and I thought if I reached out to Neven, then I could take it from there. He welcomed Jake & Cole with the same warmth and kindness he naturally extends to everyone. An excellent start for their first day and night in Ireland. They sampled some of the finest food and drink from Ireland and I know from their feedback that it exceeded their expectations.
It was Friday, June 16. I was looking ahead to the weekend. Corks, Long Table Dinner was scheduled for Sunday, June 18. A dining table that would seat 400 people in the center of the city, with 12 of the city’s finest restaurants and chefs showcasing the food and drink from the county, it was the perfect way for them to interact with the locals and get a feel for the character of the city. I reached out to none other than fellow Cork woman, Claire Nash, owner of Nash 19 www.Nash19.com to help me with these two guests. I was working with a 6 hour time difference, limited cell phone service and was quite literally planning this trip on the fly, trying my very best to work a day or two ahead wherever possible.
Claire Nash is now filed away in my mental Rolodex of ‘Go to people’. Some people find reasons why something cannot be done and then some people just ask, “what do you need” These are the people I go to again and again. They always offer a solution. Jake was interviewed by Mary Kennedy from RTE’s Nationwide while filming the Long Table Dinner. It was aired in August and can be viewed on RTE’s Real Player.
Sunday night at the Imperial Hotel Cork was now taken care of, but I was still a day behind. I had yet to arrange the Saturday night. It was now Friday afternoon in Dallas. Meanwhile, back in Dublin, Jake and Cole were having a wonderful night on the town with my good friend, Ray Ronan, an Aer Lingus captain. Ray is a writer.
Ray co-wrote Seconds to Disaster with Glenn Meade and is the author of Bombay Blood. I knew these three would have a lot in common, all with creative and inquiring minds.
My next go-to person had to be, Aisling O’Callaghan, proprietor of Longueville House, Mallow, Cork. Her response was prompt. There was a wedding that weekend, and they were fully booked. Within half an hour, she returned with the most wonderful news. She had spoken with the Bride to be and not only did they have two rooms available, but the bride invited them to be guests at her wedding.
Jake McDorman and Cole Evans were about to attend their first Irish wedding. All I will say is that I received a call from them the following day to tell me they were singing with the wedding party at 3 am in the grounds of Longueville House around a fire pit.
The next afternoon, following a walk in the orchards with the O’Callaghans dogs, they set off for Cork.
On Monday morning, I was on a Texas road trip with three friends. We were spending a few days in San Antonio and the remainder of the week at the beach in Port Aransas. Jake and Cole had booked a 2-night stay through Airbnb in Ballydehob, West Cork. This was the perfect solution as it bought me enough time to plan. Through people they had met at the Long Table dinner, they were invited to spend a night in Crookhaven. They were truly experiencing Irish hospitality at it’s best.
I wanted them to visit Killaloe, in East Clare. A place I was smitten by when visiting a few years ago. I remembered the activities on offer would appeal to the adventurer. Located on the River Shannon and packed full of history.
Several phone calls, text messages, and direct messages through Twitter later, Jake and Cole would be guests for the night at my friends home in Killaloe. Now, my friend happened to be in Dublin during their pending stay but still wanted them to be his guests. They have a guest house, and a family friend lives in this guest house.
She would welcome them. And so she did. Oh, and how she welcomed them. They had expressed the desire to canoe or kayak wherever she would recommend. She recommended they venture out to Holy Island on Lough Derg. She brought them to the shore's edge and warned them that it was imperative they row around the island 3 times before disembarking. This was crucial as the bad luck that would befall them would follow them for a lifetime. Eager to comply, they managed to make it around the island once, but by now they were arguing with each other.
Jake lost his Polaroid Camera overboard and so they each went their separate ways. By now, on his 2nd turn around the island, Jake decided he had enough. His luck was so bad that it could not possibly get any worse. He dragged the boat up, so as not to lose it. He stepped into a pile of cow dung and was greeted by a herd of, as he described, “the most curious cows ever” They walked right over to him, and it was at that point that he looked over and saw his pal Cole walk across soaking wet from an unscheduled dip in the Shannon.
Later that evening, they soon discovered that three times around the island was, in fact, a wicked prank! That night they ate outdoors with this very same lady and listened as she told them all about Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf. The following day they climbed the Brian Boru tree, the oldest tree in Ireland with my friend, who had now returned from Dublin and were joined by his children.
They stayed in Killaloe another night.
It was time to meander back to Cork but not before stopping in Adare village and dining at 1826 Adare, owned and operated by one of my favorites, Chef Wade Murphy. Contemporary Irish food served to you in the most beautiful thatched cottage is an experience not to be missed. A warm welcome always awaits you from Chef Wade and his wife, Elaine. 1826 Adare has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand Award for three years in a row.
Jake and Cole wanted to return to Longueville House for their last night in Ireland as it now felt like their home. They were longing to walk the dogs, wander the sprawling grounds and enjoy another glass or two of their famous cider!
Their crop of Dabinett and Michelin apples are harvested in late October, once picked the apples are crushed and pressed in the Cider Mill on the estate. The pressed juice is naturally fermented, taking place as a result of the action of the wild yeasts, which are particular to the orchards and environs of Longueville.
O’Callaghans Cider is now available in the USA, so that should make Jake and Cole very happy indeed.
Longueville House was beginning to feel like home now. Unfortunately, It was closed for the night, and they were hosting their annual staff party. But, the family are always welcome. Jake McDorman and Cole Evans were invited to join the family at Longueville House for their last night in Ireland. And what a night they had. I will leave it at that!
Where would you send your friends on vacation in Ireland? Let us know in the comment section below.
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