Breakfast in Ireland

“My next door neighbor smokes the salmon,” the owner of a seafront B&B in County Wexford, Ireland said. “And the eggs are from the hens out back. Laid yesterday.”

She placed a basket of hot toast and thick slices of brown bread on the table alongside our breakfast. With a satisfied nod, she scurried back into the kitchen.

We were the first guests awake in this bed and breakfast in the southeast of Ireland a couple days before New Years Eve. The night before wind and rain pelted the seafront house, but the morning light was bright over the sea and classical music played softly from a radio in the corner. A teapot was steaming and the butter was a rich golden hue. Slicing into the poached eggs on my plate, this felt like the first genuinely peaceful moment I’d had in months.

Even the most ardent salmon hater would have devoured the specimen on my plate. I’m guessing it was cold smoked, without even a trace of the sometimes-slimy texture that can turn people away from smoked salmon. We cleaned our plates over the next few silent minutes, mopping up the bright yolks with fresh bread.

There was this breakfast, an electric blanket warming the bed when we returned for the evening, a comfortable living room with a peat burning fire — the simple pleasures of a B&B done well. Though I’ve spent significant time in Ireland, I found myself dreaming of an extended trip exploring the country’s quiet corners, spending the days in a peaceful whirlwind of driving, walking, and warming up by the fire.

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