Drogheda to Callander

For the second time during our Ireland road trip I had booked us in for the hotel breakfast. This pretty much proved my reasons for not usually doing it. I stared at the breakfast menu and wished I was back in bed with some cold water, some paracetamol and a cool flannel on my forehead. However, I’m Scottish and it had been paid for so a full Irish was ordered.

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I did manage most of it and probably the majority of a jug of apple juice too.

With our visit to the D Hotel and Drogheda over it was time to head to the airport. Again my amazing navigation skills were put to the test when we realised that it wasn’t that easy to leave the town as they had avoided putting up a big sign pointing to the M1 at a junction that was otherwise completely insignificant looking…or maybe the mystical sisters from Tí Chairbre (Carberry’s Pub) were using their powers to get us to return for another night in their brilliant wee pub.

Finally, we got to the airport and dropped off the hire car.

get through security without being frisked – check
drench myself in duty free Roberto Cavelli – check
all remaining euros spent on Butlers chocolate – check
fly back to Scotland leaving Ireland behind – sad check

You’d think at this point we’d be heading home to empty the cases, do a wash and put our feet up but oh no, that’s for people that don’t know how to holiday. For us it was straight to Callander in the Trossachs for a wedding!

The wedding was taking place in the Roman Camp, a big, old, posh hotel on the way into Callander. It just so happened that my grandfather had been a gardener there so my mum and her sisters had grown up in Callander, which is a complete coincidence because it was OH’s niece that was being wed. We had tried to book a room in the Roman Camp but all the rooms were booked up so we were staying the night in The Old Rectory Inn on Leny Road. On arrival we were shown to our room and what a great room it was. It had a fantastic view of the River Teith, opening windows, a walk in shower, multiple plug points, an iron and iron board, and 2 little packets of biscuits!!!!

Showered, dressed up, a couple of glasses of wine from the very handy Tesco Express and we were ready for the wedding. Downstairs in the bar we were informed that there was live music on that night. Typical – any other night and we’d have stayed put but tonight a taxi had to be called.

The Roman Camp was a fantastic setting for a wedding. Outside sat two Land Rovers with white ribbons over their bonnets – perfect wedding carriages.  The newlyweds looked beautiful and very happy together.Land rovers

The good and the bad side of the Roman Camp is that there are loads of different public rooms with large comfy couches in front of open fires and guests are free to roam and camp wherever they want. I’m not much of a dancer and find I’m much better at mingling and chatting so I deserted OH and, wine in hand, went to catch up on all the family gossip.

The prices in the Roman Camp ain’t the cheapest and I was shocked to see one of the barmaids pour the worst gin and tonic ever! No ice, no lemon and the dregs from 2 bottles of tonic – all it lacked was some lipstick stains on the glass.  Later on in the evening I witnessed the same barmaid empty one bottle of wine into a glass and then top it up with a completely different bottle – and when I say different bottle I mean not even the same grape. It’s amazing how just one employee can bring down the standards so much, which is a shame because it was a really good wedding.

When ordered, and probably boasting a red wine Joker smile, I returned to the main wedding room and had a wee jig.  Soon it was time to bid farewell to the happy couple and call a cab. It was only a 2 minute drive but we ended up sitting in the taxi for a good 10 minutes talking about my grandfather and his time in Callander – it turned out the driver was a bit of a historian. We were instructed to have a walk around the gardens the following day and to contact the Callander Heritage Society to see if we could trace my granddaddy.

Back into The Old Rectory Inn and we were greeted warmly by the owner. It didn’t take much to talk us into staying up for a nightcap so we ordered a couple of Baileys and chatted with the owner and his barman into the wee small hours.

It turned out that although I didn’t think I had booked breakfast it was included in the price so there we were, the following morning, holding menus once more. At the next table there were 3 young men – one wearing sunglasses, one pushing food about his plate and one downing orange juice like it was going out of fashion. I was pleased to see they looked rougher than we did. They were planning on going up Stuc a’Chroin – a nearby Munro (Munro = a mountain higher than 3000 ft). The one with sunglasses was hoping the weather would close in and they would have to stay on sea level.

After they left the dining room the waitress informed us that they had received a call the night before from the local pub asking if they had 3 male climbers staying with them because they were in the pub and very, very drunk. It was fun to hear what goes on behind the scenes in little villages but it did make me wonder how many people would be talking about me, OH and my gardening granddad that day. After the warning call they had battened down the hatches but apparently they hadn’t been any trouble and just went to bed – we were probably more bother sipping our Baileys and telling them about  adventures in Ireland.

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