The capstone of our Irish adventure one year ago was a two-night stay with my in-law’s dear friends, Kevin and Dena O’Malley. The same Kevin O’Malley who has been serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland in Dublin for the past two years. The Ambassador’s official residence is called Deerfield, and it is located within Phoenix Park (the public park in Dublin, roughly a bit larger than New York’s Central Park). Here is a cool New York Times article about the residence from 2009, and here is Wikipedia for all you nerds out there like me who appreciate political history and ambassadorships.
Take a moment to let that sink in. We. Got. To. Stay. In. This. House. Where. Presidents. Have. Stayed. And Bing Crosby. In twin beds, nonetheless! Next door to where President Kennedy slept!
I should back up.
The origin of our trip to Ireland came from Brian and I wanting to take a five-year anniversary trip abroad, perhaps to Ireland or Scotland, coincidentally around January 2015 when Kevin and Dena took residence in Dublin.
Editor’s Note: Kevin and Dena have been close friends with my in-laws, Dan and Kathy, for more than 40 years beginning with Brian’s mom Kathy and Dena attending nursing school together. Here is a cool St. Louis Magazine article about their journey and life now as an Ambassador family — it relates to many of the photos you’ll see below. Everything in the article is true, but couldn’t fully prepare us for the experience of staying somewhere that uses china with President Obama’s official seal and has 24-hour security circling the property. Surreal understates it.
It was especially exciting that Kevin became the Ambassador to Ireland somewhat unexpectedly and invited visitors to stay whenever schedules allowed. Talk quickly escalated about us traveling with Brian’s parents so they could visit their friends while Kevin was in office, and making the trip a 10-day excursion of places we all wanted to visit while celebrating Brian and my 5th wedding anniversary.
So we planned. We watched The Quiet Man to prepare. We planned some more. We coordinated with Dena for the best time to visit. I can’t be sure, but we probably ate some Irish meals just to get us more excited. Our final itinerary had us touring the entire country traveling clockwise around the coast and ended with a two-night stay with the O’Malley’s in their quaint cottage in Dublin during the last two weeks of July 2015.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change any of our destinations; I really loved being in the Irish countryside and traveling through smaller, awesomer cities. But, the Jameson in my ginger ale was ending our trip in Dublin with family friends in a residence where a select few people ever get to stay, a place with amazing American/Ireland history attached to it. It was too wild for words. Did I mention a that Jean Kennedy was also an Ambassador to Ireland? Well she was. So there.
There is a whole album from the photos I took during our two nights at Deerfield with the nicest family on the planet if you want to check them out (with captions of what you’re looking at!); below are just a small selection of my faves. I got to spend about an hour roaming the 62 acres alone while the rental car was being returned and a tour can be found through the link above.
This concludes the seven Sláinte Series posts. Feels good to finally have them complete; a year later is better than not at all. If you’re heading to Ireland and need some suggestions, I’m your lass. Sláinte!