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Ireland is always one of my travel highlights for the year. If you missed my 2016 travel recap, you can read it here.

When we visit Ireland, it’s always to see family and friends and favorite places in Galway; it’s a city you just can’t miss, and surround Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way are dear to our hearts for many reasons. We also usually try to take a side trip, either in Ireland or somewhere else in Europe. In the past, we’ve done Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, and others, in addition to stays in Connemara and Sligo in Ireland. On our November trip to Galway, we headed north to Achill Island in County Mayo, and it was just the little getaway we needed.

Our home on Achill was the absolutely lovely Achill Island Hotel (Óstán Oileán Acla in Irish), situated in a place with 360 degree mountain and sea views. It was a simply stunning, quiet, peaceful location.

Achill Island Rooms were cozy and comfortable, country-style decoration with all of the modern conveniences you could want, including WiFi and a great big soaking tub, which I took advantage of after our drive from Galway through Connemara. 

Achill Island Hotel We visited Achill in November, which is sort of off-season, so one of the attractive features of the Achill Island Hotel was a restaurant on-property. It meant we didn’t have to search for what might be open when we arrived hungry in the evening!

seafood casserole

Not only was it convenient, but it turned out to be incredible. Compliments to the chef for some really delicious meals that utilized Irish ingredients like famed local seafood in my seafood medley dish. It was chock full of flavorful seafood atop mashed potatoes, maybe the best I have had.

Even in my stuffed state, I had to have an Irish coffee to finish the meal. It’s kind of an unwritten rule when we visit Ireland.

Irish Coffee

With full bellies, we decided to head out into the cool night for a walk along the main drag in Achill, which was quiet, with only a few people out and about. The most noise we heard was from sea birds in the sea next to the hotel, feeding at low tide. A few locals were putting Christmas lights on the stores, and it was just a very peaceful and good feeling all around. It also helped immensely to get some fresh air.

Before we retired to our rooms for a couple hours of chatting, we headed back to the hotel pub to try their local beer.

Achill Island Hotel

Brewed with seaweed, this Achill beer had a nice richness to it, and of course that hint of sea salt on the finish. It was really good, and it’s always fun to see what local products are being made around Ireland. Craft beer has really picked up, as has craft gin. 

Achill Irish Beer

After our cozy night in, we woke up to a stunning, calm day on Achill, with the below views out our bedroom window and the windows of the hotel’s breakfast room.

 Achill Island IMG_0276

Clew Bay

We stopped and admired the views for some time before checking out and taking off to explore Achill and more of the breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way for the day.

Achill Island is less than two hours from Galway and very near to Westport, another favorite town in the West of Ireland.  It will make you feel like you are a million miles from everything.

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Tags: Achill Island, coastal living, County Mayo, food blogger, Ireland, Mayo, Travel, travel blog, wild atlantic way

The beer scene in Massachusetts has become so great that we rarely drink beer that’s from outside the state! While we should expand our horizons outside of our beautiful home state, it’s hard to when we have places like Dorchester Brewing Co. right down the street.

Recently our travels took us to lovely Acton to visit friends. We met at True West and discovered even more great Massachusetts beer.

True West Acton

True West is a beautiful, airy space that was perfect for lunch with the most adorable baby. Who doesn’t love a kid-friendly brewery?!

beer flight  True West beer

I found it impossible to decide on a beer flight at True West and asked them to send out whatever they thought would be best. They did a great job of giving me a diverse lineup to taste. Being a fan of darker beers, I loved the Dubbel the most, but I really enjoyed all of the beers, including the Ruckus, which was a super balanced IPA. I am not always a fan of IPAs, so it says a lot when I like one! I also liked their pumpkin beer, which I haven’t been able to say in a while. Most pumpkin beers end up tasting like potpourri to me (not that I have ever eaten it), but this had a nice blend of spice with a touch of sweet.

True West beer

Tasty pub food paired well with the beer and chilly day. I went for the turkey BLT and the homemade tater tots.

BLT The BLT was on a great, hearty white bread and was well-stacked with bacon and turkey, and the tots. . . well just look at them! They were huge and homemade, served with a great house ketchup. I usually don’t like to veer away from Heinz, to be quite honest, but this was so flavorful and the perfect dip for their tater tots.

homemade tater tots

Everything from the space to the beer to the food at True West flowed together really well and made for a great drinking and dining experience. I hope we have more opportunities to visit in the future, and if you find yourself in Acton, definitely stop in.

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Tags: acton, beer, Boston blogger, brewery, Food, food blog, food blogger, local beer, Massachusetts, weekends

My “A Day in Dorchester” post is long overdue for an update! Years have passed, and we’ve moved to a new neighborhood, not to mention, Dorchester has grown as a dining and drinking destination in major ways over the past years. It’s at the point where we don’t leave Dorchester all that often as we have everything we need right here!

Lately, we have been going on a Friday night date that starts with a pint of Guinness at the delightfully Irish old school Eire Pub. Last week, we followed that with dinner at the newly opened Landmark Public House across the street.

Landmark Public House took over the space occupied by Gerard’s, a local favorite and a great spot for breakfast.

Landmark Public House

One of the first things we noticed inside were all of the odes to the neighborhood and to Boston on the walls and menu. Dorchester has such a neighborhood feel, especially in areas like Adams Village, and I am so glad they honored that when creating this space. It was filled with families, dates, people out after work. In uncertain times in the world, I am grateful for this little place we call home.

 

Landmark Public House

{Photo via Landmark Public House}

Landmark Public House

While we waited for our table, I ordered a delicious Gerard’s Old Fashioned, and we took in the cozy space and cheerful vibe of the restaurant. We quickly decided it would be a place we would want to spend more time, especially this winter when getting out will save our sanity.

Gerard's Old Fashioned

Not long after we ordered drinks, we were taken to our table by one of the very friendly staff members.

Landmark Public House

We had a hard time deciding on what to order as we were interested in just about everything, but once our decisions were made and shared with our lovely server, we were brought homemade chips and onion dip to snack on while we waited.

They certainly know the way to my heart! I am not one to go for a bread basket, but put chips and dip and a cocktail in front of me, and I don’t even need dinner. The pairing of the snack and Old Fashioned was like the perfect little cocktail party.

 homemade chips and dip

Because I am *trying* to be good (and because in the weeks after the Chicago Marathon I ate junk and drank way too much beer) I started with the Kale Salad with  roasted beets, quinoa, goat cheese, and citrus vinaigrette. Sometimes I find raw kale really tough, but the citrus dressing definitely softened it in this salad and added tons of flavor. It was a hefty portion, and with the goat cheese and quinoa could have been a meal in itself for me.

kale quinoa salad

And since I am not quite that healthy, I had to go for the Short Rib Grilled Cheese, the perfect fall or winter comfort food, and a sandwich I have been dreaming about since. Tender short rib and buttery sourdough. . . and pickles and fries. . . it really doesn’t get much better. I will dream about this sandwich on long runs going forward.

short rib grilled cheese   

We felt so comfy and relaxed that we lingered over another cocktail before heading home again. I am so excited to have yet another great Dorchester restaurant and that it seems to be very crowded from the get-go. Landmark Public House, welcome to the neighborhood!

 

 

For additional posts on Dorchester spots:

Dorchester Brewing Co. – A new favorite

Lower Mills Tavern

Boston Harbor Distillery

Chill on Park

Cafe Polonia

Lower Mills and Ashmont

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Tags: Boston, Dining out, Dorchester, food blog, food blogger

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