tv First Look NBC January 15, 2023 1:03am-1:33am PST
some say that you can see into the future by looking at the past, and ireland acts as a land bridge between both. this forward-thinking country has taken the concept of modernized tradition to create a destination full of exploration that somehow feels familiar. it's so welcoming. the second you get here, you feel like it's home. [music playing] lauren scala: our journey begins in dublin, part of ireland's ancient east where there's so much to see and do.
and after hitting the streets, you may be surprised by the abundance of nature surrounded by historic landmarks and luxe hotels. what is it about dublin that makes it such a special city? dublin is defined by its people, and that gives it its vibrancy and the immense sense of history and culture that we have here. lauren scala: but i took the road less traveled to the liberties. known for being the home of guinness, this is one of dublin's oldest neighborhoods while also being the site of what's to come for future generations. what makes this neighborhood so iconic? when dublin, a very old medieval city, was expanding, the areas outside of the old city wall were free of the rules. so they had certain liberties that the city didn't have, and turned it into a thriving area of craft and innovation. the liberties are just abuzz, home to a new wave of distilleries. anyone who comes to ireland is just blown away by the hospitality. i think it's been built in towards irish in terms of just-- we're so outward going and so sociable.
[music playing] why are pubs synonymous with irish culture? man: you have to think of what the pub means. just even the words, public house, it's a place to go to meet friends, throw in some great music, which dublin is famous for. [music playing] do it over a great pint of guinness or great irish whiskey. and then you get that great irish word. you get the crack. [cheering] lauren scala: and supplying the fuel for tonight's crack is teeling distillery, which is leading the way for a new crop of whiskey makers in the liberties. you're in the heart of the teeling whiskey home.
and this is where it all begins. i'm not much of a whiskey girl. but i did come to ireland for an authentic experience, so i am really excited to be here today. man: we've taken your standard irish whiskey, and we have deconstructed it into its individual components. so hopefully, there's something in our range that you'll enjoy. it smells so good in here. what am i smelling? the yeast eating the sugars, creating the alcohol, but also releasing co2. this is a very different style of irish whiskey. it's called our black pit. and it imparts a very distinctive smoky flavor onto the whiskey. sláinte. oh, yeah. i like that. man: we're very well known for using different barrels that would have different spirits. you create a very unique flavor. and then we bottle out a slightly higher abv or a 92 proof, capture all the natural flavors. and we have a tasting floor where you can taste a whole range of different things. and of course, you can fill your own bottle of whiskey, and-- you can fill your own bottle?
yes. that's fun. also, there's a story to tell of the liberties of where we are. and the liberties is a very unique part, a hidden part of the city, and had its own unique heritage. it was an old medieval market square. so we aren't bringing something new in. we're just reviving something that had long associated with it. [music playing] lauren scala: most people don't know that dublin is a coastal city. a quick drive east, and you're in the village of howth. the terrain here was once traversed by foot, but has been made more accessible with e-bikes. yeah, you guys are good. good. good. good. good. lauren scala: and while it may be easy to get around, you need to know where to go. and today, shane o'doherty is leading the way. shane, how do the area so well? since i was an infant, i've spent my life walking these trails and loving it. i had no idea that we could come do things like this in howth. and the visitors really get a buzz out of it, but we get a buzz out of sharing something that's so precious to us.
shane, are you kidding me with this view? this is one of my favorites, i have to say, and ireland has become identified with the lighthouses. and it used to be the shamrock. then it was the harp. it now seems like the beacon is a new symbol of ireland. there's another one down in the harbor. and maybe, we'll have a spin down there and have a look at that. - let's go. let's go. [music playing] oh, my goodness. you live in the most beautiful place. shane o'doherty: you'll see kayaks, you'll see yachts, you'll see motor boats. every kind of craft or activity that you can enjoy on the water goes through the mouth of this harbor. this is such a great escape not only for visitors, but for the people who live in the city center of dublin, which is what, 35 minutes away? shane o'doherty: yeah, about 35 minutes. and your entire company is the community, right? you hire are local people to give the tours? shane o'doherty: yeah. when we started this, the point was to protect this place by sharing it. we know the restaurants. we know the cafes. all of our, kind of, partners are
all also our childhood friends. lauren scala: i love getting to visit places that are so rich and deep in history, so getting to step on this kind of soil where so much has taken place is really special. when you get out and about here, you're in the footsteps of 10,000 years of the human story. and now we have these electric bikes that we can hop on into the future. and we'll head off up the hills, and they'll give us a little bit of extra help when you. lauren scala: that was amazing, shane. shane o'doherty: it's great to be doing it with you, lauren. [narrator] everyone needs quality health insurance, even if you're healthy and active. covered california is a free service to help you get covered. 90% of members have received financial help. and every plan offered is comprehensive, covering preventive care, doctor visits, emergency care, and more. regardless of your income, check today to see how covered california can help you. and if you have questions, there's free assistance every step of the way. covered california, this way to health insurance. enrollment ends january 31st.
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lauren scala: when you travel to northern ireland, be prepared to embrace a giant spirit that inspires and awakens. lauren scala: with craftsmanship and innovation being part of its heritage, today's belfast has emerged as a world class city full of wonder. it's also home to a little show called "game of thrones." [music playing]
the stage where it all happened has become an experience that welcomes visitors from around the globe to westeros. and sir meryn trant, himself, actor ian beattie, can't resist to be just one of the fans. what was it like to play sir merryn trant? he was an evil guy. he was awful. i mean, he had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. i can see i have my work cut out for me. and it was such fun. i loved every second of it. "game of thrones" captured the imaginations of people all over the world, myself included. what is it like being in the epicenter of all of the fandom here in northern ireland? fantastic life changing. "game of thrones" put northern ireland on the map, not just in terms of a location, but in terms of a tourist attraction. there was no downside. lauren scala: and this was actually a studio where scenes from "game of thrones" were filmed. oh, they killed me here.
epic scene, by the way. there's a lot of fake blood. 10 gallons, i believe. it was a long, sticky day. [music playing] man: it's amazing to see when guests walk in for the first time. their faces just light up. the realism that they're standing in winterfell in westeros. everything you see was the original set. you get to see stuff like the wildlings, the white walkers, castle black, dragonstone. a small piece of valyrian steel. this is the catspaw dagger? the actual one that maisie williams used to stab the night king oh my goodness. this tour really gives you the flavor and the smells, the sights, the sounds of what this series brought to the screen. and the fact that so much of the filming of the series was done in this province-- we now have camera crews, sound engineers, artisans who are at the top of their game, thanks to "game of thrones."
lauren scala: not too far from the obvious attractions lies a hidden gem on the shores of ballymorran bay. lauren scala: tracey's farmhouse kitchen is a destination where one can drop in for a taste of old irish country living. we have some amazing irish soda bread on the table. go ahead. grab a big slice. as we say, stretch or starve. so i've made this, but you're going to be making your own. lauren scala: here, tracey's husband, joe, takes you paddleboarding while tracey, herself, welcomes you back with a warm kitchen full of traditional favorites. take a big handful of flour into the bowl. this is very different from baking. baking is usually measured down to the t. yeah. and you know what? you have dainty little hands, so you need to go again. ok. how is this experience unique to northern ireland? we're connecting with the loch and the landscape with homemade food and drink and the warmth in our home. lauren scala: wow. this is gorgeous. joe: as you know, the loch's just on our doorstep here. and it's just such an idyllic location for it.
doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are. you can get out on the board. really easy to get started, you know? i think when you think about bread making and paddleboarding, i don't know. they don't really seem to mix well. well, you work up an appetite. yeah. i love the bread, so i need time to work it off, you know? you're going to scoop out your dough onto the table. then what you're going to do is you're going to pretend you're tucking the sheet in below a mattress. that's it. this dough is so sticky, i think i'm taking some back to new york with me. yeah, i think you are. it's almost like glass. i don't think you could find somewhere that's not got a good view, you know? everywhere you look is different, and it's just really stunning, you know? i'm going to leave this sitting on the griddle. and it will rise 50% more than it is at the minute. [music playing] there are vegetables and crops that will grow here, our kumara potato. we've got spring onions, fantastic root vegetables.
tap it. when you have a nice hollow sound, then it's cooked on that side. and then i'll cut it open, lather it with butter and jam. yes, please. these are the kinds of experiences that people never forget. come in as a guest, and maybe as a friend. you are so friendly and so welcoming, that i might never leave. well, you can stay as long as you want.
bro, one more time. for healthy-♪♪oking skin. worth of drip, but... ( inaudible rapping ) jif peanut butter. it's that jif'ing good, ludacris changed his flow for it. lauren scala: after a beautiful drive west across the country, you'll find yourself in the town of galway. situated in the wild atlantic way and known as a fishing port, its colorful buildings and coastal views are a signature of this county. but venture out a little, and you'll witness the cliffs of moore and county clare at the edge of mother earth. lauren scala: but why drive when you can fly?
ok. are we all set? let's do this. and showing us around is captain chris shiel of executive helicopters. wow. i have never been in a helicopter this big. i mean, this is beautiful. how many shades of green can you see from up here? i don't know, you tell me. so when you come up and you fly by helicopter, you can see the whole country east to west in a day pretty much. lauren scala: and after 20 minutes, we're at the cliffs. wow. look at this. yeah. incredible. lauren scala: the cliffs of moher are one of the world's most iconic travel destinations, attracting over a million visitors a year. and at 13 kilometers long with the atlantic bashing the cliffs beneath us, we soon reach o'brien's tower. lauren scala: is this a special place for you, chris? this is a really luxurious way to experience the cliffs. how often do people charter you for the day
and then have you drop them off at another experience? one of the benefits of traveling by air in ireland is the ability to be dropped off just about anywhere. and landing in this field put me steps away from ireland's michelin rated pub, the wild honey inn. chef aidan mcgrath sauces his ingredients from local vendors to create his own take on traditional irish pub fare. and when you walk in, it feels like you're coming home for supper. when foreigners think of food in ireland, we think of pub fare. we think of stews. but there's a lot more to irish cuisine. there is. and there's been a bit of a movement over the last 10 years, really. a lot of young irish chefs have come home to roost and brought back a lot of ideas with them and started to look for ingredients that is now grown in ireland that would have been forgotten about.
i think it's nice as a visitor that we have the option to step into a pub and have those traditional meals, but also experience things like what you offer here at wild honey inn. aiden mcgrath: well, there's nothing wrong with the old style cooking either. if everything is done nice, and is kept simple, and kept fresh, it's going to be good because the ingredients we have in ireland are absolutely stunning. i like the tartness of the granny smith. so what i want you to do is just dice up a small dice of apple like that. so you own the only michelin starred pub in the country. it just evolved. it was totally by accident. we opened up a regular pub, but we found ourselves in a michelin world fairly quickly. is that consistent on your menu? do we see a lot of traditional pub fare that's elevated here? aiden mcgrath: i suppose i've developed my own style of cooking. i use a lot of the classics. and i just modernize them a little bit in my own way. i've got the apple in. we've got the mayonnaise. and you just mix that around lightly. you don't want to mix it too much. put two spoons. [music playing] this is my version of a crab cocktail. oh, my goodness. so good. i use a coffee tamper then, just to tamp it down.
it's a gazpacho floater on top of white crab meat that's mixed with granny smith apple. you just drizzle a bit of that on top of that. i do love basil. aiden mcgrath: and there's a little bit of a bread crisp for crunch. for me, this is summer in a glass. lauren scala: how often does the menu change? every day. every day? every day. sometimes all of it, sometimes 90% of it. the way i see it is ireland has got its own natural artery. by and large, most of the food is as organic as you get. can we get into that tureen? mm-hmm. sure. what's the best way? just chop into it with the knife. lauren scala: so a dish like the tureen here, how many local purveyors did you go to to get the ingredients for it? all in all for this dish, seven different producers. there's a lot of people in that place. i'm on a mission to find out why irish butter is the best in the world. it just is. it is what it is. aiden mcgrath: we're not a posh food destination. we're an irish pub. i think wild honey inn can be an example of what people can achieve in a pub in ireland. well, i'm a big foodie.
and having this experience is something that i will never forget. sláinte. thank you. sláinte. lauren scala: this segment is sponsored by tourism ireland. you've always wanted to go. visit ireland now. [narrator] everyone needs quality health insurance, even if you're healthy and active. covered california is a free service to help you get covered. 90% of members have received financial help. and every plan offered is comprehensive, covering preventive care, doctor visits,
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the coastal cliffs may leave you in awe, but the rivers truly bring you into nature. captain of our own vessel, we travel down the river shannon, the longest and most famous waterway in ireland. lauren scala: our journey begins in portumna, a gateway market town, which is populated by gardens, shops, and a castle that dates back to the 17th century. lauren scala: it's also a major port for riverboat companies like le boat. once the thing starts moving, it's like driving a car. yeah, it's a lot of similarities to driving a car. some of the best captains that we've had have walked in the door with zero experience. that's going to be me today, brian. and after getting my bearings with our boat skipper, brian, we were off to explore some of the unbeaten paths. i just want to kick my feet up right now. can i do that? is that legal? sure. yeah. lauren scala: i really like remote activities. like, i like when there's not a lot of people around. and this is the perfect thing to do. brian: it's just nature as you work your way up along there.
and the engines on these are pretty quiet. so you pass by some of the nature swans, and birds, and animals in the fields. they don't look twice. i do spend a lot of times around the coast. but it can be quite a lot of tourists around there. but up through the center of the country, which we call the hidden heartlands, you'll be going through some tiny little villages. and you will be the only tourist there, i can guarantee you. lauren scala: this is kind of a choose your own adventure. you get the boat. and then you have it for a certain amount of days. and then you can make all kinds of stops, right? yeah, very much so. and it's something i always say to people is don't make any solid concrete plans if you like because we'll go through the map with you. and we'll show you all these beautiful little villages for you to stop at. some of the favorite places that i like to stop in are killaloe, if you make your way down to killaloe, you'll surely find a storyteller to tell you some of the stories of brian boru and the vikings. this is very old school for us these days, an actual map. yeah. lauren scala: after docking and terryglass, a gentle pedal around this tranquil village will give you a glimpse of the heartland of this country. it is so pretty here.
this is, like, the perfect fall foliage. brian: agriculture really is the backbone of the community here. you won't find too much tourism here, so any tourism is greatly welcomed. some of these small places along the way can be little hidden gems. just over to our right, one of the wells over here that terryglass is famous for. so if you're having problems with your vision or headaches, it's supposed to cure it for you. does it work? brian: of course it works. you're telling me some of these stories aren't real or true? come on. so what else is terryglass known for? well, just back there was the monastery. originally, that would have dated back to the year of 500. so that was kind of the main drag right back there? you saw it all. yeah. as we say here, blink, and you'll miss it. lauren scala: while the banks of the river shannon provides a relaxing escape, there is nothing like sipping a hot tea while being told a story. i've heard that there is some real amazing storytelling here in killaloe. absolutely. killaloe steeped in history. lauren scala: the charming town of killaloe,
the last port in the southern end of lough derg, and other sites like the rock of cashel were once the seat of power for all of ireland. lauren scala: and local historians like una curst and john cash help preserve the tales that define its history like that of brian boru. he's truly the only king of munster to ever become high king of all ireland from 1002 until 1014. is munster the province? munster is the province, yes. and this area of north munster would be called thomond. ireland was just going through a second wave of viking invasion. this wave was more ferocious and more frequent. and those vikings tried to get right into the heart of ireland to plunder. had to come by killaloe. man: he actually formed a small navy here in ireland to actually meet the vikings on the water. lauren scala: so this is the actual place that brian boru was coronated. yes, you're probably standing right where brian boru would
have been standing when he was actually crowned king of munster. right here on this rock? yes. during brian boru's reign, it was the only time where we could say that irish people were united as one. lauren scala: it is truly incredible that we're standing amongst almost 1,400 years of history here. and i'm sure the stories that people could tell about this place go well beyond that. whether you find the city's energy bursting in the east or discovering new and old kingdoms in the north, diving into inventive and comforting flavors in the west, or taking in tales of the south with friends, from end to end, ireland makes every moment magic. [music playing]
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