Friday, March 16, 2012

Got Green? The Blogfest

Top o' the morning (or afternoon or evening) to you on this fine Saint Patrick's Day, the day that we're all Irish. Or is that drunk? Whichever it is, I'm cool with it. Today's blogfest is hosted by Mark Koopmans and is all about celebrating this fine holiday in 333 words (I'm warning you right now, I didn't count my words). Click on the pic below to find a list of all participants.

Here's my Irish tale o' glory:

I got my first passport when I was in my sophomore year of college. I was a part of a choir that was about to embark on an European singing tour and so I got a passport. Then, because I am immensely stupid, I didn't go on said European singing tour. I'd like to say I've grown smarter with time but you've all been reading this blog long enough to know what a blatant lie that is.

Oh, hey, look at that. I'm digressing.

Anyway, it wasn't until November 2002 that I was able to use my passport to travel to a country that wasn't Canada.

I went to Ireland.

I've always liked Ireland. I've always felt an affinity with the country even though I'm not Irish. Maybe it's because I've watched Darby O'Gill And The Little People more times than I can count (does anyone else feel like singing a verse of "Pretty Irish Girl"? Or is it just me?). Maybe it's because my family hosted four exchange students from Belfast when I was growing up. Maybe it's because it's just always struck me as an awesome place. But whatever the reason, when The Man and I decided international travel was in our future, Ireland was the only place I wanted to go.

So we went and I got my very first stamp in my passport.

We stayed in Killarney and the very first place we went to see was Ross Castle on Lower Lake (as seen on the left. Please note, I didn't take that picture. I did take a lot of pictures. Just not with a digital camera so I don't have access to them for this post). We were too late for a tour but I was happy (so, so happy) to just wander around the outside of the place. The second place we went to was the
Killarney Book Shop where I proceeded to buy British copies of the Harry Potter books.

The third place we went was the Danny Mann Pub where I sang along with the band (The Man was amazed by how many of the songs I knew) and had the following conversation with the bartender:

Me: I'd like an Irish whiskey, please. I am in Ireland so I would like an Irish whiskey. I don't know anything about Irish whiskeys but I would like one, please.
Him: Are you already drunk?
Me: No. But I get that a lot.
Him: Okay. How about Jameson?
Me: Is that an Irish whiskey?
Him: Yes.
Me: Then that sounds perfect.
Him: Do you want ice?
Me: God, yes. I'd also like a pint of Guinness.
Him: Of course you would.

So I took my whiskey and my Guinness chaser back to my table where I proceeded to burn a hole right through my throat. But after a while (and another couple of pints), I found I didn't mind so much.

Other highlights of the trip included a tour around the Ring of Kerry. Of course, it was so foggy that day we couldn't actually see anything (I mean absolutely nothing) but our tour guide was terrifically funny and one hell of a driver.
We stood on the beach in Waterville and took pictures of every rainbow we saw. All right, I took pictures of every rainbow we saw. The Man kind of stood off to the side and rolled his eyes a lot. What can I say? Irish rainbows just seemed different. We counted sheep and when our tour guide pointed out the tallest mountain in Ireland (Carrauntoohil), we begged to be allowed to climb it. He said no. Maybe next trip.

We also got to see Blarney Castle and while I did walk all the way to the top of the castle, I skipped kissing the Blarney Stone. I'm pretty sure I photographed every square inch of the building and the grounds though so I think that should count for something. Besides obsessive.

We shopped at the Blarney Woolen Mill store, bought a bunch of fisherman sweaters and wandered around the city of Cork for an afternoon. We drank more Guinness and I discovered that I do not like lamb.

But I liked beer and whiskey well enough and that was good enough for me. And while I never imbibed enough (those were the days when I could hold my liquor. Better anyway.) to be able to practice my Irish yoga moves (see below), I'm certainly willing to go back again some day and give it another go. But seriously, I really just want to go and look at more castles.

So Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone. If you're celebrating, please do so responsibly. Remember, kids, designated drivers make you cool.



  1. and a happy st p day ta you as well!

    great post! i esp like the part... no it was all funny!

  2. Such a great post! We didn't make it to Killarney so many things to see there!

    I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone either. I heard too many stories about what people do to it...haha

  3. @Tara- Happy holiday to you too. Thanks for coming by!

    @Kelley- That's exactly why I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone. I just didn't know if I should put that in the post.

  4. Can't go anywhere in that region without coming back with a drinking story. Glad you finally used your passport!

  5. I don't even have a passport. Although, I did manage to get into Canada twice anyway.

  6. I so want to go to Ireland! The castles sound amazing.

  7. Your trip sounds so amazing! I was following along with you in my head, most of the pictures looked like a story book :) I really, really need to go now! Happy St.Patrick's day!

  8. I love the "Are you drunk", "No, I get that a lot though." part - I so relate! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  9. Sooooooo jealous. The pics are beautiful and the banter was hilarious! And new follower here... I'll look forward to your future posts :D

  10. That is an amazing trip! I would have loved to go. Not too sure I'd kiss the Blarney Stone either. I mean, who knows where it's been?

    Happy St. Paddy's Day! :)

  11. My brother and I watched "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" hundreds of times when we were little. We loved it! Fun post! One big surprise on my trip to Ireland last summer was the amazing quality of the food. Totally unexpected. We would have lived gladly on fried food and Guiness. Only problem for me was the different Diet Coke!

  12. Your conversation with the bartender has me laughing out loud! I love it. And I am totally jealous that you've been able to visit such a beautiful place! LUCKY!

  13. I love Darby O'Gill and the Little People!

  14. Love the irish yoga image hahaha. That's funny!

  15. Loved your story even and I didn't count the words. Irish yoga looks painful.

  16. 'Irish whiskey'?! LOL

    Excellent story. *still laughing*

  17. Excellent story and wonderful trip pictures. I bet you'll always have a place in your heart for Ireland.

    I have yet to stamp my passport.

  18. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!
    I went to Killarney too!! LOVED IT.

    I laughed out loud at the conversation with the bartender. "Of course you would" haha.

    We asked a man in the gift shop what beer he liked best and he said "GUINNESS!!!" and laughed.


  19. I loved the story of your trip to Ireland. I also remember the days of being able to hold my liquor, now I just feel old. I have only traveled to Europe Once and while we toured most of Western Europe and some Eastern, unfortunately, Ireland was not part of our semester of law school abroad. I did learn (While in Greece & Turkey) that do not like lamb either. I also like your caveat at the bottom about drinking responsibly. Our oldest is about to get her drivers license and we have been really pushing the importance of this.

    I am a new follower. I stopped by from the blog O'hop. Happy St. Paddy's day.

  20. Hey MJ,

    Just now catching up with all the awesome post - including yours - for the Blog O'hop:)

    Thanks so much for the support and hope you had fun on St. Paddy's Day... if you can remember, hic :)

  21. Great experiences all around - so fun!

  22. Great post! I've always wanted to go to Ireland. I'd never kiss the Blarney stone, I'd get a staph infection. ;) Have never seen Darby O'Gill, but my Irish movie is The Quiet Man.

  23. Aw! Sounds like such a fun trip! I've never been outside the US myself, but I'm dying to go to Ireland and England!

  24. I always wanted to go to Ireland. It looks so beautiful there. I would love to just drive around the country and stop in at little shops and restaurants. I haven’t gotten out of the US yet, but this is one of my #1 places I want to visit!