Last year, I planned a wedding in Dublin, Ireland and it was quite a taste of different culture! The Irish tend to have 12 hour events versus the 6-7 hour events we have here in the states. They party a little harder than we do here as well! So imagine how pleased I was when I was invited back to Ireland this year by the Board of Tourism & Michelle McDermott of Dream Irish Wedding to visit Shannon Ireland and some amazing towns in Western Ireland. We were blown away when stepping off the plane to see such a welcoming sign as the one above! During our stay we visited a few gorgeous castles and tons of historical landmarks and great locations for you to bring your family & friends to celebrate! Take a look at some of my iPhone shots and see all the fun we had for yourself!
We started our tour at about 9:00am (4:00am EST) at The Lodge at Doonbeg. While this property has the look and feel of a historic castle, it was only established in 2006! A 5 star property with gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean, and 2, 3 and 4 bedroom suites that are too die for. A nice thing about Doonbeg Lodge was that they allowed for you to have your event anywhere on property that can house a tent. Also, it has some of the most amazing gold courses you have ever seen!
I stayed in a 3 bedroom ocean view suite, along with a full kitchen living and dining room.
Our next stop on the tour was to visit a few of Ireland’s “Must See” attractions, located within an hour of Doonbeg Lodge. First stop was the Cliffs of Moher; you can read a little about the Cliffs here. Though the weather was amazing during our trip, it was FREEZING directly above the water (note to visitors), but such a gorgeous view if you climb all the way up to the top of the tower. We also visited the town of Burren, and tasted some of the world famous smoked salmon from Burren Smokehouse , which is also available at Dean & Deluca. If you like salmon, you MUST check it out, the taste is divine! Then we had lunch at the Roadside Tavern, where we listened to the owner tell us old stories about the town. He’d be considered a Shanna-Key, which means Irish story-teller.
Day 2 – We left Doonbeg Lodge and headed to Dromoland Castle; yet ANOTHER fabulous 5 Star property. Gorgeous grounds, breathtaking scenery. Prior to our stop at Dromoland, we did a bit more sightseeing and visited the Wedding Castle at Knappogue and enjoyed some Mead. Mead is the Drink of the High Kings of Ireland and also a traditional Irish drink that they serve in Bunratty to Newlyweds to help with fertility. The castle is a bit older, but if you are looking to have a REAL Irish medieval style wedding, this would definitely be your venue! This was followed by a trip to Bunratty Village, where we did some shopping and visited some fun historic medieval landmarks, while we sipped on tea & scones made on an old fire pit.
My suite at Dromoland Castle was amazing! I believe it might have been the best suite there, it was a two floor suite with a HUGE jet tub- Definitely the envy of all of my fellow travelers!
The next day we visited the town of Limerick, which is where our host, Michelle McDermott of Dream Irish Wedding resides and works. We visited King’s John’s Castle, had REAL Irish coffee at Paddy Frawley’s Pub and did some more shopping.
Our final destination on this amazing trip was to the Adare Manor. Upon diving up to the property, I was seriously blown away. It was really an amazing property inside & out and the banquet space was just phenomenal. Upon arrival we got to take a quick tour of the property, followed by lunch and more shopping in the town of Adare.
I lucked out yet again and stayed in the favorite room of one, Ms. Catherine Zeta-Jones & her hubby Michael Douglas, as well as Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne (shared some pics below).
We wrapped up with a look at the main banquet space all-set for an event. The space was pure perfection, from top to bottom, lit with candles, set with chairs & flowers, this space was just perfect & ready for your intimate affair!
Lastly, we had such a great dinner at Adare with the General Manager and The Marketing Lady, (follow them on twitter to stay on top of all the goings on at Adare) followed by drinks & live music in the Tack Room Bar downstairs. The highlight of the evening was learning to pour & drink a pint of Guinness the proper way, not the way we do it in the states!
Check out some images from a Magical Adare Manor Wedding Shoot here, to get a different feel of the space!
All and all it was quite an experience. We tasted traditional Irish food, we drank TONS of Guinness (slowly weaning my way off of the stuff), we visited some amazing venues and made some great connections. If you are looking to have a destination wedding or event, and are interested in trying something other than the obvious warm sandy beaches of the Caribbean, I think Ireland would be a GREAT location. It offers your guests the opportunity to see, taste and learn new things, while allowing you the opportunity to create a memorable experience for everyone. Another thing I should mention is that all the venues we visited were extremely accommodating. They never said no to any of the questions we asked, and said that if they couldn’t, they would figure out a way that they could, and that goes for everything! Additionally, in the summer months, the sun stays out till as late as 9Pm, this allows for gorgeous outdoor events at any time!
A huge THANKS to Michelle McDermott of Dream Irish Wedding for putting together the trip with Ireland Board of Tourism, as well as O’Shea Travel and our sweet drivers Tom & Seamus, the kind folks at The Lodge at Doonbeg, Wedding Castle at Knappogue, Dromoland Castle and Adare Manor for their unparallelled hospitality and for spoiling us with all the wonderful gifts, as well as owners at Paddy Frawley’s Pub, Cornerstone at Home, Michael at Pat Collins Bar, Burren Smokehouse and The Roadside Tavern. I am SO looking forward to traveling back to Shannon Ireland with future clients!