With all the nice sunny weather, my husband and I decided to try a cycle adventure in the South East of Ireland where as you can probably see from my recent blog posts, we are total obsessed.

The Waterford Greenway, Ireland’s longest “off-road” experience, is a spectacular 46km cycling or walking, (or for those really fit-enthusiasts running), trip along an old, disused railway line between the Viking city of Waterford and lovely Dungarvan.

How we started our tour was by driving to Waterford City from Dublin and parking the car and then hiring bikes to begin our expedition! We also brought our sambos and coffee for a small picnic along the way. There are so many things to see along the road along with fabulous views of the Comeragh mountains. One highlight I must mention is that for those who like gardens you can take a break and visit a world leading garden on the Mount Congreve estate that dates as far back as the 18th century! I adore gardening so this was a treat to be around such beautiful surroundings. I also managed to take some really novel ideas back home for my own garden! Then continuing on the Greenway once more, what was great to see was all the different types of people taking part, just enjoying the scenery. Some locals and some tourists, but everyone with a smile! Lucky for us there was no rain or wind, just glorious sunshine. I do believe Ireland is unique, and one of the reasons why it makes us such a popular destination for Europeans and Americans is our willingness to engage with anyone from all walks of life! There is a genuine warmth and openness that I just haven’t come across anywhere else in the world…and believe me, I have travelled extensively.

As we progressed to the end of the cycle and Dungarvan was in our sights we were simply exhausted! Now all we could think about was food! However with so many options on offer we had to narrow it down; we could have been very upmarket and dined in “The Tannery”, one of Dungarvan’s gourmet restaurants but since we were staying at Lawlors hotel we decided to dine there. Let me tell you, what a treat. First of all, it’s one of the few genuine Irish family run hotels still operating in Ireland that strives itself on not being your typical large impersonal hotel. Michael Burke, the owner, has constantly upgraded and extended the original small hotel and can often be found greeting and chatting guests as they arrive to check in! I chose the fresh poached salmon, seared scallops, seasonal vegetables and Dungarvan strawberries with a dash of cream. Simply delicious and very reasonably price too! My husband tried the fresh garlic crab claws and Dungarvan bay oysters, washed down with a pint of Guinness, he was obviously very satisfied!

Michael was very kind enough to also give me a recipe that’s one of his customer’s favourites, which I am going to report back on in my next blog. I will also make a trip to the County Wexford, visiting the opera house and some serious eating at some gorgeous local Wexford restaurants. After that, I shall give the Ancient East a rest for now and over the coming weeks I am going to wander around the west of Ireland and in particular Lisdoonvarna.