“Exploring Ireland” is Peter Sommer Travels’ first Irish itinerary, running only for the second time in 2019. Once again, we are offering a kind of diary of the tour, as we did for Crete and the Dodecanese in 2017 and for the Peloponnese and the Cyclades in 2018. We followed those precedents, not describing every day in detail (just check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com), but picking one image we took on each day, accompanying it with some thoughts or insights.
North Mayo is a region far off the beaten tourist tracks, and it is what we explored today. Our discoveries included a single viewshed near Killala Bay, incorporating monuments from 200 years ago, 700 years ago, 1,500 years ago and 5,000 years ago, all side-by side.
What is this to do with Eggs Royale, you ask? Be patient!
We also saw a stupendous set of sea-cliffs, a deep blowhole and an isolated rock-stack at Downpatrick Head, a promontory associated with Saint Patrick himself; the famous Céide fields, a Neolithic farming landscape from over 5,000 years back, buried under deep blanket bog; and the romantic ruins of a 15th century Franciscan Friary at Rosserk.
Still nothing about Eggs Royale? Hold on, we're getting there!
It wasn't the brightest of days (there may even have been some rain - imagine: rain in Ireland!), so I've chosen a picture from breakfast. As on all our 'Exploring...' tours, we try to present a variety of Irish foods, including the country's world-class seafood and its wonderful dairy produce. There is also superb Irish beef (especially if dry-cured) and lamb, and much more to discover.
The classic 'full' Irish breakfast consists of eggs, bacon (nowhere in Europe produces better bacon than Ireland), pork sausages, back pudding, white pudding and usually a fried tomato. Among the optional extras are baked beans, mushrooms and various speciality accompaniments, such as fried bread, potato farls or even crumpets.
Our image, however, shows my breakfast today: Eggs Royale, a variation of Eggs Benedict (they're also known as Eggs Atlantic, by the way). They are a simple but satisfying dish: smoked Irish salmon placed on buttered toasted brioche, topped with poached eggs and a dash of hollandaise sauce. What a way to start the day...
Tomorrow we head back eastwards across the Irish Midlands to the historically wealthy county of Meath.