IRISH SCONES/ What the Guide Books Don't Tell you

. . . . about Ireland.

The Emerald Isle is as beautiful as they say and on a recent trip to my ancestral homeland, my husband and I discovered many things not in the guide books and travel websites. Such as:

Irish music is scarce in Ireland. No kidding! The young Irish generation does not like Celtic music.

Irish Pubs play 70’s music and folk singers belt out tunes from American musicians such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles and Van Morrison. Brown Eyed Girl was a big favorite!

Ham hocks and pork belly were common menu items. There was plenty of fish & chips but no baked potatoes. Servers do not leave your bill at your table until you ask for it.

There are lots of Italian restaurants and gelato shops … yum!

There is an O'Connell's Pub in every town. Good thing!

It doesn't always rain in Ireland; we had only one day of rain out of 14. May gave us a mix of sunny and cloudy weather, no crowds and temps from 48 to 78 degrees F.

The Irish are very happy and friendly people, like the Kiwis in New Zealand.

When we checked into hotels and asked about bad areas to avoid, we were met with perplexed looks from the clerks who replied … 'there is no crime in Ireland.'

Not everyone has an Irish accent; many are from Australia and Americans attending Irish colleges for a mere $3,000 annual tuition.

There are unisex bathrooms at a crowded and touristy Cliffs of Moher. Stay behind the safety barriers, skip the selfies and purchase a post card; we witnessed two tourists slip and nearly fall off the cliffs.

There are major highways connecting cities but most country roads are beyond narrow with no shoulders, prickly shrubs, stone walls, blind curves and high speed limits. We unwittingly drove Conor Pass along craggy cliffs with barely a lane and fog … it took a year off my life!

We stayed in 5-star hotels yet electrical outlets and mirrors were scarce. None of our seven hotels had a bathroom outlet; blow drying my hair was a challenge.

Most hotels have elevators (called the lift), but we often had to schlepp our luggage up a short staircase after getting off the elevator.

Leaving Ireland to fly home, Dublin Airport has two security checkpoints: Irish and American plus U.S. Immigration and Customs. Many Americans are unaware and miss their homebound flights. Pack your patience and plan to arrive at the airport 4 hours ahead of your flight. There are nearly two dozen European airports with this system.

The Irish Scones were the best and my favorite breakfast with clotted cream and jam. I whipped up my first batch ever for this Irish lass.

1/2 cup Butter (1 stick), chilled
1 Egg
1¼ cups Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 cups Flour

Cut cold butter into squares. Keep cold in refrigerator. Stir egg and cream with fork. Set aside.
Whisk sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Add butter and toss to coat. 
Using fingers or pastry blender, work butter into flour mixture until pea size.
Make a well in center. Pour egg and cream mixture into well. Mix all ingredients with fork until shaggy dough forms
(may look dry). Do not overwork dough. Lightly knead dough in bowl until it comes together.

Turn out onto floured surface and pat into square one to two inches thick. Cut into wedges using bench scraper.
Place on baking sheet. Brush dough with cream (optional) and sprinkle with sugar (optional).

Bake until golden brown for 25-30 minutes at 375. Makes 12-15 one-inch-thick scones or 8-10 two-inch-thick scones.
[This is the Best Cream Scones recipe at Bon Appetit]

Serve with soft butter and raspberry jam or ....

... with lemon curd



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  1. This was all fascinating info to me, Joan. Ireland is high on my list, and I now feel a little bit wiser after reading your post (which I will pin). That's sad about the lost Celtic music. I wish I'd have known about American students going to college in Ireland - wow.....$3000 for tuition? Maybe I can get my son to transfer, lol. I love scones. These look delish!

    1. Thank you, Amy. I will look forward to your beautiful photography from Ireland. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. I enjoyed reading your information about Ireland. =)

    Your dessert photos look delicious!

  3. I love scones and these look easy to make. Thanks for the recipe. Stacey

  4. Hi Joan, Good information on Ireland! Thanks! We hope to get there eventually.

    1. Hi Laura, You will not be disappointed. Ireland is an amazing place.


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