Is there a single word that describes Ireland at this time of year? If so, that word would have to be “color.”
Everywhere you turn there’s color whether it’s in the green of lush fields, or the brilliant yellow flowers on gorse bushes, or the soft colors of daffodils blooming along roads and in yards. There are colorful houses along the waterfront in Roundstone and in towns on the Beara Peninsula. There is color everywhere.
And if there is a second word to describe Ireland in the spring, it would have to be “lambs.” Their sweet faces and playful antics make you smile as they leap and run and generally express their delight at being part of our world.
Ireland in the spring also means tourist attractions, hotels and B&Bs are clearing out the winter dust and ramping up for a busy season ahead. Sadly, this is not a normal spring, as we all know. Covid-19 has crippled Ireland and shut down the country for the time being.
When the virus is under control and Ireland is open again, hopefully visitors will especially remember the small, independent businesses that have suffered so much during this crisis.
Just one example is a very nice farmhouse B&B near Shannon Airport that counts on income from guests as do many others. We have always enjoyed staying at Cahergal Farm B&B where Michael and Noreen McInerney are so welcoming. If you leave without trying Noreen’s scones, you have really missed something.
In the small, family-owned hotel category, Lough Inagh Lodge in Recess, Connemara, Co. Galway, jumps right to the top of the favorite list. Maire O’Connor, the owner, has assembled a great crew there and whether it’s Thomas regaling you with tales in the bar or Veronica serving in the dining room, everyone is completely focused on you and your comfort. Food is great, rooms are spotless, the staff is extraordinary and many guests return year after year.
We hope our readers will support small, privately-owned shops and restaurants too.
If Clifden, Connemara, is your destination, be sure to stop Whistlestop on Market Street and the Clifden Bookshop on Main Street. Have a meal at Mitchell’s or stop in one of the friendly pubs.
These are just examples from the West but there are many businesses in towns and cities across the country that will be adversely affected and will need support when travelers return.
More of our favorites are up the road in Westport: O’Reilly & Turpin, a lovely gift shop, and Seamus Duffy’s Bookshop. And, if you travel a bit past Westport, be sure to visit The Beehive on Achill Island for lunch and shopping.
Hard times are certainly ahead for all these small, independent concerns and we hope they’ll be able to weather this unexpected storm and will be there when we can travel again.
In the meantime, stay safe and well and enjoy the spring weather.