My co-writer, Laura, and I recently attended Tourism Ireland’s annual LA event.  They often vary venues and presentations, which I always appreciate, but in this crazy-so-far-for-me year, I was happy that it was a luncheon at The Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills for the second year in a row.   It was close-by, lovely, and easy.

Karen Salkin's tribute to Ireland on her hands! Photo by INAM staff.

Karen Salkin’s tribute to Ireland on her hands! Photo by INAM staff.

So I donned my best greenery, including bracelets, rings, new sparkly earrings, nail polish, eye shadows, dress, and even bra, (while Laura just added a green scarf to her black attire,) and off we went to the Best of Ireland Media Luncheon.

I loved seeing who else was fun enough to wear green, and all the different ways they decked themselves out with that hue.

This time, the networking portion of the day was in the hallway leading to the small ballroom where the luncheon was, rather than in the actual room. We got to chat with the various “Irish Travel Ambassadors” who all told us about the highlights of their country. Laura explains that situation like this: “They were set-up at small hi-top tables, which made conversation easy. It was a more intimate setting than last year. The experiences we learned about included hotels and tours.  Some of the reps even gave-out small treats. The Savoy Collection gifted us petite mints in a tin; they looked sort-of like elegant Pez candies, which is one of my favorites.” I adored the tiny airplane keychain doled-out by none other than…Aer Lingus, of course. That one little item made me want to fly that airline now, as soon as possible!

The musicians. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The musicians. Photo by Karen Salkin.

And all the while, we were entertained by Irish musicians playing the perfect music for the occasion.

After all that, we moved to the adjacent bigger room to enjoy a lovely, and for the most part, healthful, lunch. The main dish was salmon with potatoes and cabbage, and Laura liked that the food was “on brand” for the event, adding, “It was delicious, of course.” I had eyes for only the spot-on-for-the-occasion dessert, which was cheesecake flavored with Bailey’s, which is the only alcohol my alcohol-hating self doesn’t mind having a small taste of! And the whipped cream on top was both literally and figuratively the icing on the cake!

The delicious dessert--Bailey's cheesecake! Photo by Karen Salkin.

The delicious dessert–Bailey’s cheesecake! Photo by Karen Salkin.

We sat with two lovely reps from Ireland, who also spoke as part of the presentation to tell us about their regions of their beloved country. Ghilian Campbell told us all about the apple orchards there, and then we learned about the Afternoon Tea at the Bishop Gate Hotel in Belfast. I’m sorry, but I forgot her name because whenever I hear about Afternoon Tea, my mind wanders off to how much I want to have it!

The organization usually gives away just one gift, (Waterford crystal,) at their events, but this time they added a couple more, with a trip to the Emerald Isle being the big one.  (And no, neither Laura nor I won.  Otherwise we’d start taking Riverdance lessons pronto!)

The presentation seemed much shorter than usual, but it actually went almost an hour longer than planned!  I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Laura says, “This was my second time attending the Best of Ireland Media Luncheon.  I have never been to Ireland, and both times that I have been to this wonderful event, I left wanting to book an immediate flight to this beautiful country that has so much to offer.”

Now that I’m out in the world again, I hope that Tourism Ireland has a press junket soon, so I can let you know about everything the country has to offer, (with a concentration, of course, on all their mouthwatering Afternoon Teas!)

In the meantime, Laura and I are off to another one of their lovely events next week. And this time it’s lunch and a screening. What fun!

I’m just hoping that someone there can tell us how to properly celebrate the upcoming St. Paddy’s Day. There must be something special we can do for that holiday, besides jigging our way over to the green beer bar!


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