I remember gazing longingly at perfect pub hotels when travelling at 20 – and very occasionally staying at a cheaper one. We would splurge on afternoon tea at the Great Russell Hotel when we went to London. Coming down the stairs to the lobby as a grown-up guest (at special bargain rates for one night) has always been a source of delight. Today we are staying at the Smugglers Inn – right next to the Giant’s Causeway. It is in one of those places with a view that you can’t make up – and pub food to match. The perfect pub inn in the perfect place on the perfect sunny day.
This afternoon we sat on the deck and drank coffee and tea and watched the water. This is a favourite family pass-time when we go home to the Argyle Shore – and the view here is much the same. The sun was glorious, the laziness luxurious, and the feeling of being born under an incredibly lucky star was beyond imagining.
Eventually, we dragged ourselves away from the view to walk the cliffs before dinner – starting at the remains of a castle first built in 500 BC., and then spotting a bothy (hut) for a paddling route around the cliffs of the north-east of Ireland, hidden in a spectacular cove.
Dinner was steak and Guinness pie with the flakiest puff pastry in the world, topped with crispy fried leeks (you can’t imagine!) perfect mash with cheese and bacon, and a salad. It is a good thing we spent the day outdoors in the sun, because the portions are large and the food too good to waste.
The bath tub is deep enough to drown in…and there is Bushmills Whisky in the pub for a night cap…distilled in the village down the road.