Rachel Gaffney's Letter from Texas - Experiencing Ireland

Rachel Gaffney

The famous foodie who’s flying the tricolour for us in Texas finds that some of her wealthy clients understand better than most the value of rural Ireland, and the appeal of a farmhouse holiday.

In the last few weeks I have been working with some new clients who are going to Ireland for 2 weeks. A family of 7. Parents, grandparents and grandchildren.

After an hour or so chatting with one of the ladies it became evident that what they really want is to experience Ireland. They do not want to merely visit Ireland.

We sat at a bistro table outside a Dallas coffee shop, armed with freshly brewed coffee, my trusted and well worn map of Ireland (scribbled on and sellotaped) and my clients' newly purchased guide to Ireland. I do of course have plenty of notes, brochures, books etc but I really don't need any of these at this stage as I am really trying to ascertain who they are, and where I think will work for them.

History was and is very important to them. Each time I sit with clients, history and culture top their lists, but what I have discovered is that one person's love and desire to learn about the aforementioned topics are not the same as the next.

There are, of course varying degrees and levels of interest. Some are content to drive by somewhere like Malahide Castle for example, stopping to snap a photograph, and others will want to research the history prior to visiting and then spending hours at the location once there.

This family have asked to stay in locations that will help teach their children about life in Ireland today and in the past. They do not want to stay in any standard hotels or chain properties.

In fact they have specifically requested to stay at Farmhouse properties, Country House properties and guest houses.

I realised that this was indeed the first time that I have been asked for farmhouse properties. The only time I have ever visited farms was perhaps as a child visiting my aunt’s farm outside Clonakility, Co Cork.

These experiences matter a lot to people. They want to learn and they want to experience life in Ireland in a way that I know I took for granted, through no fault of my own.

They want to learn about our agriculture and our food systems. These people have the money and the means to stay in 5 star properties but they do not want this. They have explicitly told me they want local people looking after them and want local people to guide them.

I am now in search of farmhouse experiences and think perhaps I may need to visit a few myself when I return to visit Ireland in June.

I would be very grateful if anyone could share their suggestions or experiences with me please.

Rachel Gaffney's Real Ireland


: Rachel Gaffneys Real Ireland
Follow me on Twitter: @Rachelgaffney

Email: Rachel@Rachelgaffneys.com

Watch 'The Irish Kitchen' now on HULU


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