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We are embracing winter this year! If you’ve been reading/following me on social media, you might know that summer is far and away my favorite time of year, and I have a really hard time dealing with dark and cold.

Last winter and recently I have read articles on the Danish concept of hygge, the idea of coziness and a positive state of mind and mental well being. Hygge is about the feelings that come from creating a cozy space and positivity, and I am trying my best to keep this concept in mind.

After a very busy work week, we had a quiet Friday night in by the fire. Friday happened to be Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas in Irish. This is celebrated as a day for women, who tend to do much of the Christmas shopping and cooking, to relax. And relax I did! My husband waited on me with our favorite Indian takeout as I sat with sparkling wine by the fire. We watched The Missing (so good!) and went to bed early.

sparkling wine by the fire  

With hours of cozy sleep under our belts, Saturday morning was full of energy, and we walked to our favorite Irish bakery, Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village for giant cups of tea and a shared chocolate croissant. Hearing Irish spoken in Boston is always a delight, and we soaked up the homey atmosphere before walking a bit more in the snow and deciding a proper brunch at Lucy’s, also in Adams Village, was necessary!

Greenhills Bakery

Look at that biscuit!

The food at Lucy’s is delicious, and with snow falling outside, there was such  cozy vibe inside. We lingered over our meals, not checking phones, just talking and watching the snow fall before venturing out for our beautiful winter wonderland walk home.

 Lucy's Dorchester

snow day

  After another quiet night in, we decided that Sunday should be for hiking at World’s End. We should have brought our snowshoes, but instead laughed and trudged through the drifts to get to high points, where we enjoyed amazing coastal views. It was SO fun.

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham

Hiking always works up an appetite, and especially when it’s snow hiking, so we headed to nearby Hingham Shipyard to try Trident Galley & Raw Bar. They had live music, an incredible brunch menu, and excellent service.

Trying to be a little healthy, we shared a beet salad and the short rib hash, which was a spot-on recommendation. It was amazing.

short rib hash

I love splitting plates like this; we were full but didn’t feel awful, and we got a taste of a couple of great dishes. The live music was a nice touch as well. Covers of old favorites, not-too-loud, and uplifting, it was a lovely addition to brunch.

 

Trident Hingham

 

Hingham Shipyard

After even MORE outdoor wandering at the Shipyard, we decided we needed a little bit more time outside, and stopped at the Milton Yacht Club on the way home to capture the setting sun and beautiful late afternoon winter light.

Milton Yacht Club 

I thawed out with a hot Epsom salt bath before pouring a glass of Navarra wine and whipping up Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup (with kale).

chicken bacon stew

It was the perfect weekend. I realize I can either hate this time of year or spend more time being grateful for all I have to get through it – food, shelter, warmth, love. I think if I can keep that focus, I can make it to spring!

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Tags: brunch, cooking, Dorchester, hiking, Hingham, Nature, New England, outdoors, recipes, snow, winter

I know. I know. I should probably change Travel, Wine, and Dine to A Blog about Ireland and Sonoma, because I am fully obsessed with both places and could blog about them day in and day out. One of the reasons I decided to do away with paid blog ads was because I just wanted to blog about what I wanted, with the hopes that someone would find it interesting. Spilling my heart and camera and iPhone into a blog post and being able to share favorite places makes my day, so I hope you don’t mind a couple more Ireland posts. There’s a lot of healthy cooking on its way. . .

Today for Travel Tuesday, I thought a drive through the West of Ireland countryside would be a nice little getaway for the brain. It’s going to be 20 degrees for the high in Boston today, and I am certainly thinking of travel.  Sit back and enjoy some views from Connemara, Westport, and Barna, all places I recommend visiting when you base your Ireland trip in County Galway.

Keane's Pub

{Keane’s Bar, at Maam Bridge}

 

Keane's Pub Maam Bridge

The booth at the front of Keane’s Bar, located in Maam in Connemara, is the perfect spot for gazing out over the hills with a hot whiskey after a long hike in the Irish countryside. red berries

Connemara

{Driving through Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Connemara {Foggy Connemara, where the sky meets the mountains}

Barna {Barna beach day}

 

O'Grady's Barna Pier {O’Grady’s Barna}

Thatched Cottage {Thatched Cottage in Barna}

    Connemara Beaches

{Beaches in Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Matt Molloy's Pub Westport

{Matt Molloy’s Pub, Westport County Mayo}

 

Barna

{A sunny day in Barna}

O'Grady's Barna

{Lunch views from O’Grady’s in Barna}

seafood chowder Ireland

{Seafood chowder at O’Grady’s in Barna}

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Tags: Barna, Connemara, Galway, Ireland, Nature, outdoors, scenery, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday, views

Horses near Renvyle

Horses near Renvyle

Happy almost weekend! I am totally dragging today, but working from home tomorrow which is fun and helps to break things up a bit! Had a great dinner at dbar here in Dorchester this evening, which I will post about someday soon. I am excited to share more of our Ireland with you so without further adieu. . .

Back as promised with a post on Connemara, the mountainous, seacoast West coast of Galway, Ireland. If I had to pick one place in the world as my favorite, it would be here. While I could probably write forever about Connemara, I have decided to pick a few places that write about, and if you are interested more please feel free to email me.

Cleggan

Cleggan

We typically stay in my in laws house in Galway and take one of two roads out to Connemara, either the road through Oughterard, a charming little fishing town that is the gateway to Connemara, or out the Cois Fharraig, the coast road which I usually prefer because of its breathtaking sea views, and a glimpse at the Aran Islands if it is clear (And don’t be mislead by the bad reputation – Ireland can have really horrific weather, but I have been there more than once for a week of straight sun! The November we got engaged we had 10 straight days of sunshine and 60 degree temps!).

For a good workout and some great air, head to Máméan, a sheep-dotted mountain that houses the Shrine of St. Patrick and provides a medium level hike, along rock formation stations of the cross. At the top you will see a statue of St. Patrick and wonder how it got there (helicopter) and the curved rock that is rumored to have been St. Patrick’s bed. The top of the mountain doesn’t take long to reach from the parking area- maybe 40 minutes, but you can see for miles and miles from here, and all that you can hear is wind and intermittent baaaah’s. The hike down is easier and quicker, of course, but stop and look around. There is nothing like this in the world.

Mamean

 From Máméan I would suggest either heading to the majestic and woodsy Ballynahinch Castle for lunch by the fire in their pub or to the fishing village of Roundstone, probably most famous in America for being the set of The Matchmaker with Janeane Garofolo. In Roundstone, O’Dowd’s is a fantastic spot to try some local smoked salmon with brown bread, seafood chowder, and a perfect pot of tea or an Irish coffee.
roundstone
From Roundstone, drive along the coast to Dog’s Bay and then on to Mannin Bay and Ballyconneely. The beach here is particularly special because it is where we got engaged in November of 2005. It is also the place I brought my father’s ashes in 2003, and a place where I hold a lot of love and peace. The seemingly endless beaches and bay are perfect for picnics, running, long walks, and kayaking if you have brought a kayak along. Again, you are welcome to walk on land that belongs to farmers, but ensure to respect it in every way possible. I love the no borders way of life out in the country and hope that people respect that so that it doesn’t change!
Ireland can look down right tropical!

Ireland can look down right tropical!

engaged!
Mannin Bay/Ballyconneely are a very short and bumpy drive from the town of Clifden, that is quickly becoming a city! Stop here for petrol, to stock up on snacks at the grocery, or to grab a coffee or an ice cream. In itself, Clifden is a charming place surrounded mostly by still untouched countryside.
Be sure to make your way back in to Galway city in time to watch the sun set on Galway Bay and to hear traditional music at the many many pubs that offer it nightly.  I could keep writing for the next hour about Connemara, but am ready for bed. I am sure there will be more Ireland posts, as there will always be more Ireland. I leave you with a photo of the valley that my husband grew up in. Enjoy, goodnight, and I welcome any questions or suggestions!
Eric's home

Eric's home

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Tags: hiking, Ireland, Nature, Travel. Food

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