The thing about Ireland is, it is exactly how you imagine it would be. The cobblestone streets aren’t littered with Guinness-soaked leprechauns, singing and dancing jigs and diddies, granting wishes to equally drunk Paddy’s, fighting about Gaelic football, religion and politics. However, many of the streets are cobblestone and the Guinness does flow like water, but the leprechauns have become experts in stealth because I didn’t see a single one. Disappointing, really.
The Irish countryside is a patchwork quilt of fields, mowed by paint-marked sheep and Angus heifers, divided by hedgerows and stone walls. Farm houses are impeccably kept, surrounded by perfectly landscaped gardens, immaculately tended lawns and not a broke-down truck carcus in sight. Weird.
Thinking back on my all-too-brief spell in Éirinn, my daughter’s namesake and my new second favourite country (you’ll have to tear Canada from my cold, dead hands), I grow hungry. The food, oh lawdy, the food. I’m not sure what kind of voodoo faerie science magic they use, but the food is like nothing you’ve ever tasted unless you’ve been there. I gained 5lbs in 9 days and I didn’t eat any more than usual, but I ate every last crumb I was given, sopped up every drop of sauce, and licked my fork clean. If you’re ever near Red Pepper Grill on Strand Road in Derry, please pick up an extra chicken box for me. I’ll pay for the shipping and tip you well.
Did you know that your average Irishman or woman will look at you sideways if you ask for cream for your coffee? I don’t drink coffee myself, but I’m well versed in coffee accourtrements, but if you ask for cream for your coffee in Ireland, you will be served a bowl of whipped cream with a confused and incredulous look. Fries are chips, a garbage can is simply a bin, and there are no restrooms or washrooms, just toilets. They drive on the left side of the road, steering wheel on the right, and more often than not it’s a roundabout rather than traffic lights that direct the flow of a four-way intersection.
The air smells different in Ireland. I couldn’t describe it, but it felt very comfortable. Often times when you go to a foreign country on vacation (says the girl who’s never been outside of the eastern strip of Ontario and the United States) you feel anxious to return home. But with Ireland, I could have stayed longer. Maybe a week more, maybe two if the girls were with us.
“But what did you do in Ireland?”
Calm your nerves, People Of The Internet. I’m getting to that. I did a lot of stuff in Ireland. So much so, I’m going to have to do this in parts.
Sorry, but it’s true. I took almost 500 pictures and I want to show you all of them. I won’t, but I want to. So, in the interest of not boring you too much all at once, I’m going to divide my vacation into sections and tell you a little bit at a time. It’s just easier this way. Stop giving me those eyeballs. You’re going to love it. I promise it will make you want to catch the next direct flight. Promise.