Fam Trip 2007
On December 06th we (Vivienne Stanley and Niamh O Brien) traveled from our offices here in West Cork to Cork airport for the start of what was to be a very memorable FAM trip with C.I.E Tours International. Having sold these escorted tours for the past number of years we were excited about experiencing what so many of our guests already have and what many more will experience in the future.
On arrival in Dublin we met with the rest of our tour and set off for the Guinness Storehouses. The home of the largest pint in the world, the center of the building is modeled on a giant pint glass said to hold up to approximately 14.3 million pints of GUINNESS. The ground floor included a massive exhibit of the ingredients water, barley, hops and yeast as well as the most important ingredient of all Arthur Guinness. The next step of the tour takes you through the transport of the world famous stout as well as a tasting lab and the cooperage. On the third floor the tour covered the history of Guinness advertising and featured some of the popular and familiar Guinness symbols such as The Toucan and the Guinness surfers.
On the next stage of the tour you get the opportunity to become a Guinness taster with a demonstration on how to taste Guinness correctly. The next and second last stage of the tour includes a look into the history of the building from its construction in 1904 to its formation into the visitor center in 2000. This floor covers the history of the making of this world famous stout.
Onwards and upwards to the final floor of the visitor center, The Gravity Bar, for a pint of “The Black Stuff” with amazing views over Dublin city. We were lucky on this day as we had a very bright and clear morning which made for great panoramic views across Dublin City.
The Malton Hotel in Killarney, formerly the Great Southern Hotel, has welcomed visitors and dignitaries since 1854, it is a hotel of impressive character and the gracious “old lady” of Killarney’s establishments.
Situated in the center of the busy town of Killarney, The Malton Hotel is a landmark hotel and something of an institution in the town. For over 150 years its doors have greeted guests from Presidents and Princes, to business barons, entertainers and sportsmen, at the grand Palladian entrance to the Great Southern.
The old style bedrooms at the Malton Hotel have enough room to cater for large families each having lots of space. Our room had a very large double and single bed, the bedding was very luxurious and we were spoilt with the Gilchrist & Soames products in our bathroom.
Dinner was served in the Garden Restaurant, a great gilt doomed room, with a ceiling decorated with intricate gold leaf tracing and situated overlooking the hotel’s wonderful gardens. The menu was made up of mostly fish dishes which is no surprise as the fishing port of Dingle is in the same county. The food and service was good.
The Innisfallen Spa has an large range of facilities from 17m indoor pool, steam room, Jacuzzi, gym and hydro-massage baths. The Spa also offers a full range of treatments using exclusive Yon Ka products.
The Malton Hotel is a great place to stay for visiting the south west counties. This hotel is also well placed for golfers with famous golf courses close by such as Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and Ballybunion.
Located overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare on Ireland’s rugged west coast the cliffs are one of Ireland’s biggest attractions. On the day that we visited, it had to be one of the stormiest days of the year with winds up to 90 miles an hour. The Cliffs were officially closed on that day due to the stormy conditions. We did venture up a little further in order to get a good view. The blustery weather made for great photo’s, however, keeping upright was a little challenging.
The Cliffs themselves stretch along Ireland’s West Coastline for 8 kilometers and rise up to 214 meters from the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic Edge is the interpretive center open at the Cliffs of Moher visitor center. Set deep in an underground building it explores the 4 main elements of the Cliffs, including Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man. Exhibits & displays show aspects of these elements and their connection with the Cliffs. Meanwhile a central screen shows a view of the Cliffs from the Atlantic side. On moving on through caves you get a view of the cliffs from the edge and you also get an insight into the native sea life and bird life in the area.
Located on the shores of Lough Corrib, and sheltered by over 350 acres of wooded parkland, this 13th Century Castle is a monument to a fascinating history of a bygone age. Once the estate of the Guinness Family, the Castle opened its doors as an exclusive hotel in 1939 and is now one of the most luxurious resort hotels in the World. Ashford Castle is ideal for visiting the counties of Mayo and Galway and is in a great location for touring the beautiful Connemara and West of Ireland area.
Dinner was served in The George V Room and was named after the visit of the Prince of Wales, who later became George V of England. Our dinner of 5 courses was sumptuous, a culinary experience. The menu was made up of Irish and International cuisine offering something to suit everyone, all of which is prepared to the highest standards, from a Michelin Star Chef.
Ashford Castle’s luxury accommodations are hugely spacious and all individually designed, with elegant period furnishings, sumptuous marble bathrooms and all the comforts of gracious living. Each bedroom commands fantastic views either across the graceful gardens, the flowing river or the wide waters of Lough Corrib.
Ashford Castle offers a wide range of activities, from walks within the 350 acre estate, golfing on Ashford’s 9-hole course, to fishing on Lough Corrib. Ashford Castle boasts one of the most advanced Equestrian Centers in the country and has Ireland’s first Falconry School. Ashford also has a health and beauty center equipped with whirlpool, steam room and sauna and a full range of beauty treatments using exclusive Yonka products.
While in Ashford we got the opportunity to take a cruise on Lough Corrib. The largest lake in the Republic of Ireland, Lough Corrib is home to 365 islands of which 10 are inhabited. The cruise began early so there was some great scenes of the sun rising over Lough Corrib. There is some great fishing on Lough Corrib with Brown trout, pike, perch and roach as well as Salmon and eels from the Atlantic ocean. Our guide on the lake, Patrick Luskin, wrote an interesting book on the history of Lough Corrib and the islands. If in Ashford and you have the chance to do this I would certainly recommend the cruise.
For Evening entertainment the Dungeon Bar is a real gem. With an informal atmosphere and great music and song there is something for everyone. The resident pianist and singer were performing on the night we were at the castle and a few of the group got the opportunity to sing also. The ceiling is adorned with family crests down through the ages.
The entertainers at the castle along with the staff make the experience one to remember. The bar tender John always has time for a friendly chat and all the staff are extremely helpful and accommodating. The castle itself, while it is an exclusive resort, is for the most informal with a friendly and warm atmosphere.