In my estimation, there's nothing as wonderful as a European getaway. Not only is it transporting, it's a chance to observe and absorb another culture and way of life. I spent the past week in Ireland with 23 family members. The group, outfitted in matching rain jackets and hats, included two combine families and the trip amounted to an incredible time. The reason for the visit to Ireland was twofold- it was an homage to family heritage and a hardcore golf enthusiast destination vacation. Much to my surprise it did not rain every single day as I was prepared for, but we were lucky enough to have some sunny skies to experience the picturesque verdant countryside and the area known as the Ring of Kerry in Southern Ireland. Although I am not Irish and never really have the chance to perfect my swing, I enjoyed being with my family, smiling Irish eyes, their incredible wit, and welcoming hospitality (that included local pub cider as Guiness is not my thing). All in all, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be with family doing what they love, and what could be better than that?
The view from our hotel, The Butler Arms in County Kerry, where Charlie Chaplin stayed when he visited. It was his favorite vacation spot, and the beautiful beachside locale made it clear why.
The view along the craggy coast. Look out and you see Waterville House, the yellow building in the distance that is a hotel and stunning spot.
My nephew and I walked to our fly fishing lesson. The trees in the distance have grown at an angle from the unforgiving winds that blow off the Atlantic.
The entrance hall of Waterville House, an 18th- century manor house hotel that sits on 40 green acres
The river running through Waterville House, where I tried my catch and release technique with my nephew. It's one of the best areas for avid anglers in all of Ireland. The little white house off in the distance can be seen for miles. Against the vivid green backdrop it is just so picturesque.
We stood here for fly fishing lessons, next to the stone arched footbridge and hilly surroundings
The entrance to Waterville Golf Club, a links course with a following among those in the know. As you can see, not every day was sunny.
My favorite dinner was at Smugglers Inn. The restaurant, located in a 19th-century stone farmhouse across the street from Waterville, felt like it was in another world. The charming stone building was located right on a stretch of pristine beach, and we lucked out with a clear evening and an ocean view for as the eye could see. The just-caught seafood was delicious and on par with the view.
A wide swath of grass and a mountainous view in the lifting fog outside Smugglers. It was pure magic.
Another view from Smugglers Cove. Because we were in the southernmost part of the country, we enjoyed daylight until 11 pm.
A bird took advantage of the night sky
The golf course view from Smugglers