Michael McLaughlin is the owner and host extraordinaire of Desmond House in Kinsale, Ireland. It’s a lovely place, Desmond House. The beds are big and comfortable, the breakfasts lovely, but charming Michael makes a stay special. When the door opened on the dark and rainy Irish night of our arrival, Michael greeted us like long-lost family, hustled our bags up the stairs and made sure we had dinner reservations at one of his favorite restaurants,despite the hour. We stayed out late, shared a bottle of wine and wandered the streets of Kinsale before finding out way back to the house. As we snuck up the stairs to our room, The Mister noticed nautical ephemera on almost every wall and surface. Naturally, The Mister was intrigued… a photo of Bill Clinton at the helm of a boat, charts and maps rolled up and stacked on a desk, tattered flags and other delightful maritime things in every corner. Surely, Michael was a Navy man. Michael barely had time to take our breakfast order before The Mister asked. Michael smiled and wistfully mentioned his disappointment when denied a place in the Royal Navy. Politics were different then. Talk turned to Kinsale, the history of the house, the Irish economy, Michael’s background. I asked about the tattered flag hanging over the breakfast table. Michael’s eyes lit up, he smiled and spoke of his beloved boat, a ferocious storm or two, the glorious sea and his sailing adventure across the Atlantic Ocean. Seems Michael was a sailor after all. On our way out the door, Michael gifted us with something nautical. I can’t tell you what it is, but it makes me think of Michael, his sea stories and his incredible warmth and generosity every time I walk past. We’ll be back, Michael. Have the boat ready.
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