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Hello, Ireland

Hi Friends, you have been asking, so here's a brief recap and a few pics from filming last week on location in Ireland for my TV series.

There is an exciting culinary explosion going on in Ireland, and what they shared with me was their simplistic approach to food. I can't agree more. We can all learn from this approach; getting back to the roots of growing and eating locally grown foods. The thing is, this in nothing new there, in fact they never lost their connection to sustainability and what I experienced of it was impressive and delicious! I tasted great cuisine with a few of Ireland's finest chefs at the Park Hotel Kenmare.

I had an enjoyable afternoon tea, at yet another location with great history, Adare Manor, with mega TV chef and cookbook author Rachael Allen (Yes, the Allen Family from Ballymaloe). Rachel and I shared our foodie stories and the like beginnings in our culinary careers. I also connected with some local food legends & artisans for authentic local flavor.

My stay at the Park Hotel Kenmare was again an incredible experience. Who better to be leading in Irish hospitality than the Brennan Brothers; owners of the five star Park Hotel Kenmare, housing the SAMAS Spa. As experienced hoteliers, they have also become like rock stars, with their successful TV series in Ireland, At Your Service (coming soon to N.America). It's a colorful series presented by John and Francis Brennan, giving makeovers to property owners on how to improve select B & B's, guest houses and hotels. Unlike the screaming chef approach, their's is a more gentler style of delivery with a comedic twist, though the comedy was not intended, they are just funny people.

It seemed there were always larger powers at work, as many wonderful moments graced my path while filming. For example, there was the local parade celebrating a football (soccer) club, with young musicians that greeted us as we toured downtown Kenmare with my friend Will Collins, Irish historian and touring guide. Every turn provided me with new stories of people filled with pride of their craft; whether they made cheese, baked, or played music.

Most of all I enjoyed the stories of pride from the local shop owners, gardeners and pub owners. You have to take time to listen to their stories. One such person was Val Manning from Ballylickey. Yet, another story that stayed with me was from third generation pub owner Mike Collins in Adare Village. He met me with a pint of Guinness and proclaimed with pride that we were the second US TV crew to stop into his pub. He said last year, "Connan O'Brien sat in your very seat drinking a Guinness." Mike then shared with me pictures of three generations of family that has owned that same pub. Oh, and when you go to Collins' Pub you have order the Guinness Steak Pie. 

We also had fine weather and of course golf made the list for great recreation. When in Ireland... I think the word that follows is golf, or is it sláinte(cheers)? Notice below on the green: to help improve your golf game, you putt next to the Abby at Adare Golf Club at Adare Manor, a very convenient place to say a prayer. Every bit helps my game!

more to come...

images: Hirsch Media

For more info on traveling to Ireland: Tourism Ireland

Kenmare Village

Collins Pub, Adare; Traditional Irish Foods

Traditional Sunday Irish Lunch: Bacon and Cabbage, Park Hotel Kenmare

Collins Pub, Adare; Traditional Irish Foods

Local Cheeses: Mannings Emporium; Ballylickey, County Cork

Bakery: Bread Crumb Bakery; Kenmare Ireland

St Tola, Cheesemaker, County Clare

Vegetarian Pastry: Park Hotel Kenmare

Golf: Adare Manor with Pro Gary Howie. Home to the Irish Open & JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am July 2010


With The Naturalist

Who would ever believe just 90 minutes north of New York City you would find a heavenly place like this?

It's an authentic Victorian castle and I admit, one of the best places to experience in America. Hudson Valley's Mohonk Mountain House is like stepping back in time, yet is an enjoyable place for people of all ages. They have a saying when describing Mohonk; "It is the same only better". Very fitting, it never gets old. Mohonk let's you unplug from everyday and rediscover your rhythm with nature at the helm. Spring is that time of year to check in, so join me for a hike, (watch TV segment) and afterwards enjoy their well appointed spa for a good massage. 

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York

images, Mohonk and George Hirsch

TV Segment at Mohonk


George in the Fast Lane

Which producer's idea was it to ride 165 mph? Oh that's right it was my idea. Much thanks to the great team at Richard Petty Experience, Phoenix Motor Raceway for a really fun and fast day.

Enjoy the GH Living it UP! TV Segment 

George Hirsch Living it UP! video: Richard Petty