On the road again…A gorgeous drive to a smoky place…What is food costing us in Ireland?…

It was thrilling to see white sandy beaches with little to no debris and few people.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“The Celtic cross and shamrock are
both associated with Ireland, but the national symbol is the harp.”

We’d come to a point where it was time to get out when finally there was an isolated sunny day. It’s tricky driving on the winding, hilly roads and the thought of driving more than three hours in a single day is daunting.

With the necessity of keeping my legs up when I am not walking in order to keep the swelling under control (swelling impeded healing), the idea of driving for more than a few hours doesn’t make sense at this juncture.

Could this be a mating pair of sheep?

The healing of my legs is going well, but visible only in tiny increments when we clean the wound, add the cream cream, add a new moistened gauze ending with bandages and clean compression socks every two days.

When we did this last night, I decided to wash and shave my legs in the tub in the upstairs bath with a sprayer. Being cautious with the open wound, I was able to shave around it.  

This has been the most extended period of my adult life when I hadn’t shaved my legs in over four months. In the past, I shaved each day. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  As soon as my legs dried, we began the usual bandaging process. This could continue for a few more months, based on how it’s looking now.

Sheep lined the road’s edges.  Tom drives extra carefully when there’s no fence protecting the animals.

Anyway, early yesterday afternoon, we decided to get out to a location that wouldn’t cause considerable swelling to my legs while sitting stationary in the car. 

The Connemara Smokehouse was the perfect selection. Not only would we enjoy a scenic drive along the open ocean, but we’d also have the opportunity to purchase smoked fish from this fine establishment, raved about by locals.

Once we entered the shop, we were surprised to see there was no official “fish case,” with a variety of freshly smoked fish on ice on display. There were several freezers filled with several types of fish, all frozen and professionally packaged.

Most roads are not tree-lined when the majority of the terrain is green rolling hills and mountains.

(Speaking of professionally, the SmokeHouse’s website is impressive, as shown here at this link).

Why was all the fish frozen? We all have a perception that the best fish is caught in the morning and sold unfrozen a few hours later. When we asked if they had any fresh, not frozen, smoked fish, their answer made all the sense in the world.

Particular with freshness and food safety, the smoking process proceeds as they’ve stated here on their site:

A short time into our drive, we encountered the open sea.

The Smoking Process Smokehouse Ireland
The raw materials used to make Connemara Smokehouse Smoked Seafoods are subjected to meticulous scrutiny, where every step is of the utmost importance in producing a perfect end result. When the fish has reached the ideal weight for smoking, it is harvested from the sea, rapidly cooled, gutted, cleaned, hand filleted and boned.

To add to this assurance of quality, Graham fillets the fish by hand, which allows him to monitor every single fish that passes through our Smokehouse. The whole process is conducted quickly, hygienically, and under strict control to retain the fish’s fine taste, freshness, and natural color.

It is smoked in aromatic smoke from a slow-burning fire of beech wood shavings. Then salt is sprinkled by hand over the fillets. After 8 to 10 hours, it is rinsed off with fresh water and placed to smoke and dry for a further 16 to 20 hours.

For the first time since we arrived on May 12, we encountered sandy beaches.  However, the cool weather in Ireland is most likely to keep beachgoers and tourists away.

This adds an exquisite taste, gives a delicate color, and results in a mouth-watering experience. The recipe used and the timing of the process vary according to the size, desired taste, and fat content of the fish. The Connemara Smokehouse obtains its wild Salmon locally. All the fish used in our products are harvested from the pure, rugged Atlantic waters.” Packing:

Storing Your Products: all products are vacuum-packed and shipped by courier. Whatever the packaging or specification, The Connemara Smokehouse always guarantees the tastiest, best quality Irish Seafood.

Smoked Salmon will be kept in your fridge for two weeks in the unopened vacuum pack and up to 8 months in your freezer, also unopened. However, we recommend consumption within seven days or freeze for up to 8 months, as this is better for the quality. See more about storing your products here.

The pristine beaches were unoccupied other than by a few bundled-up walkers with their children or dogs.

This made a lot of sense to us. Fish spoils quickly. This particular company refuses to run the risk of their carefully prepared products spoiling and possibly causing illness to less-than-careful purchasers. The smoked fish is vacuum-sealed and tastes best, as explained to us if eaten within three days of, defrosting (in the fridge) and opening the package, although it may keep as long as seven days in a very cold refrigerator.

Upon entering the shop, we were warmly greeted by the owner. There were several other shoppers in the store with us. We only waited for a minute for one of their friendly, knowledgeable staff to assist us with our order.

There were plastic laminated menus of products offered in English, French, and German. After perusing the menu and getting a few tastes from our rep, we decided on organic smoked Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and a tub of tuna pate.

Prices were comparable to smoked fish in the US, if not a little more. For all the fish, we spent Euro 76.59, US $86.07, enough fish to last us for several breakfasts when we’ll enjoy it the most.  

Also, lately we’ve been spending approximately Euro 40, US $44.95 a week for fresh-caught, unsmoked fish and seafood, plus all of our general groceries at SuperValu in Clifden.  

After arriving in Ireland one month ago, we’ve spent a total (including all fish) of Euro 1210.17, US $1359.93, which also includes wine and Tom’s Courvoisier.  Dining out, we’ve spent Euro 247.61 US $278.25.  Our grand total to eat in and dine out is Euro 1461.71, US $1628.17 averaging at Euro 48.59 US, $54.60 per day.  

Based on past records we’ve diligently maintained over this past many years, the cost to eat in and out is higher in Ireland than any other country we’ve visited. There’s no doubt that we purchase many organic vegetables and high-quality foods, but we only have a maximum of two meals a day and few, if any, snacks.

It’s the way it is.  As we all know, part of the fun of traveling is dining, whether cooking at a holiday home or dining out.  We admit we haven’t missed out on a morsel of fine food, most of which we’ve made at “home.”

In any case, we had a great time yesterday, driving for a little less than two hours with many stops along the way to take photos. Over the next several days, we’ll continue to share more new photos from our outing. Before we know it, we’ll head out on another sightseeing tour.

Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, June 15, 2018:

      This is a “train” of the African Silk Worm grouping, which returned to our veranda after we moved them away. For more photos, please click here.

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