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?
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.