Where do I begin to describe Ireland? Common sense tells me the beginning, but my $120,000 philosophy education tells me that the beginning is merely an illusory category imposed upon time by the human mind. Knowledge is power!
I convinced a friend from home to fly out to Europe before her job began in the States. Being a major in spontaneity, she jumped on board, and we met in Dublin for a 10 day trip in the Northern Isles.
The theme of our two days in Dublin should be - Parks: The Rich Food Remedy. We thought it appropriate to eat a hearty Irish meal at every meal accompanied by a pint of Guinness. I never knew how heavy Irish food was. We were incapacitated in St. Stephen's Green for 50% of our time in Dublin. Of course, we did the compulsory pub-hopping in the Temple Bar district, heard some Bob Dylan in Temple Bar, toured the Guinness Factory, and talked to some local North Dubliners about Las Vegas and the war in Iraq. Well, I guess I should say that I had interesting conversations, while Gina got constant attention from creepy guys. Score one for the Y-Chromosome!
The key ingredient is pride. Learned that one from Arthur Guinness himself.
For some reason, we found it necessary to break up the bronze lovers...
Turns out the ingredient that separates Guinness from every other beer in the world is water...
After a hearty two days in Dublin, we picked up our ridiculously little, powdered blue Fiat at the airport, and set out for Doolin on the west coast.Did I feel like a man driving this beast...
4 hours later on terrible roads we arrived in Doolin, and we were gonna go check out the coast rain or shine.
And it was worth it...
Doolin is the capital of music in Ireland, so we went to the pub to hear some traditional tunes. Two old men with fiddles strutted in like they owned the place, and started orchestrating sheer awesomeness. But the best part was that people would bring their instruments to the bar and join in unplanned. After a song, they would walk up to the stage, shake hands, and start playing. By the end of the night, we had 4 fiddles, a flute and a guy playing spoons. And God said it was good. Even better than my fish and chips.
The next day we headed out for Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, which, for those of you who aren't aware, are pretty baller.
However, if you lean out over the cliffs with one leg off the ground, you'll kick some rocks off. Or at least that's what I gathered from this.
Galway was good times, and I bet you'll never guess what we did. Yup, ate and chilled in some parks. Galway is a cool city, because unlike Dublin, it's really young crowd. We went to the river and joined about 200 people on the grass to watch the sunset. We met some strange, and I can see with a decent degree of certainty, already intoxicated middle age Danish people. One woman leaned over to me and showed me her fanta bottle, saying "You want a taste?" I was like, "No lady! Why would I want to drink your fanta?!" But then I gathered from her fiendish grin and raising eyebrows that it wasn't really fanta. Who sneaks alcohol into a place where there are kids 20 years younger than you drinking openly?
On the way back from Galway, we stopped and watched the greatest sunset ever. Behind us was a medieval castle, and inside was a musician playing the lyre. There are some transcendent moments in this world, and this was one of them.
After our 2 and a half days in Doolin, we forged onwards to the last leg of our Irish tour: the home of the Casserlys, Dudleys, Reardens and Mckeons - Cork! Gina had a friend from high school studying at the University of Cork, so we had an excellent tour guide for the 5 days we were there. Cork can only be defined by crazy good times, and had but one drawback: it turns out I'm going to get pregnant, since I stepped on the University's seal. Sorry mom.
Lieser gettin' down with the tap at the Beamish Factory. Much better than my pour...
Blarney Castle wasn't really a necessary stop on the trip, since both Lieser and I were born with the gift of gab, but it can't hurt right? I also got a free pamphlet of the castle in French, because the lady told me that my student ID picture is awful. She's right though, it is awful.
After spending the days with Gina and her friends, I was in serious need of some bro time, and this could only be remedied with some good conversation and some serious dance moves. I'm proud to say that I had more pints bought for me than the 9 girls I was with combined. I may not know how to get down with a tap, but mama didn't raise no fool.
And impromptu trash-banging sessions! With a chorus of football chants! I have no clue what they were saying, but I was definitely singing along!
But hey, the important part was that we all had good times in Cork, and I don't know why my family ever left. So we raise a glass to Ireland!