Tagged: ireland

travel tuesday: the land of st. patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As a proud member of the ghastly pale genetically Irish, I’ll be sporting my green for sure. And, since it’s Travel Tuesday, I’m sharing the obvious: a few photos of our family trip to Ireland in 2011. I posted an Ireland photo recap of days 1, 2, and 3 of the trip… but the blog never made it past day 3. This is what Travel Tuesday is all about, friends. It is with great pleasure that I bring you Day 6, July 19, 2011: Dingle Bay.

sheep at the coast in dingle, ireland

Dingle was the archetype of Irish landscape: lush, green cliffs dropping off into a brilliant blue sea. And the cliffs were consistently dotted with sheep.

sheep at the coast in dingle, ireland

So many sheep!

papa and andy on a cliff at dingle bay

We spent time climbing the craggy cliffs, some of us ascending higher than others (and making Mama very nervous). The colors and textures throughout the landscape were just phenomenal. The clouds rolled in and out throughout the day, lending my pictures depth and a perfect contrast to all the green.

dingle bay

andy skipping rocks at dingle bay, ireland

Eventually we descended to the small, beachy bay. We skipped rocks, and even waded in until the chilly water grazed our kneecaps. No matter what the season, if I’m at a beach, I force my feet to touch the water. It marks me: it means I was really there.

handmade raspberry sweatshirt

I wore a raglan-sleeved raspberry sweatshirt I had made specially for the trip. Pullovers are the perfect layer for traveling, because they don’t lead to competing hoods. We were the luckiest, though, for our Ireland trip had only one rainy day – not many hoods to worry about.

craggy cliffs at dingle, ireland

sheep climbing the rocks in dingle

shamrock on the sidewalk - dingle, ireland

First thing that morning, I saw a shamrock on the sidewalk – one of only a few that I witnessed on the trip. May your day today be filled with Irish blessings, and don’t forget your green!

Travel Tuesday is a semi-weekly feature that allows me to recap the many trips I’ve failed to formally document. I’ll be sharing photos and fuzzy (but fond) memories from recent and not-so-recent adventures.

ireland photo recap, days 1, 2 & 3: dublin

This Ireland Recap spans July 14-16: days 1, 2, & 3 of my family’s 2011 vacation to Ireland.

We flew into Dublin on July 14 at around 4pm. By the time we had waited for our bags, procured our rental car, and driven circles around the airport due to a persnickety GPS, we were tired and hungry.

mushroom meat pie with a pint of Guinness

Within walking distance of our hotel was a pub with a fancy restaurant above it, and it proved to be perfect for our weary traveling souls. I happily ate this mushroom meat pie, which was simply fantastic (i think all food should be served in pie form) along with that legendary first pint of Ireland Guinness.

O'Donoghue's pub

live music at O'Donoghue's

After dinner, we headed to O’Donoghue’s across the way for a bit of traditional live music. We headed back to the hotel in the rain, and picked up some ice cream bars at the grocery for dessert. All vacations need lots of dessert!

bright yellow doors!

Day 2 started with a glance across the street at these wonderful yellow doors. I just loved them.

my favorite thing in the irish museum of modern art: chartreuse chairs

We walked to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which sounded really cool online but turned out to be pretty lame – almost all the exhibits were closed when we were there. The museum’s best feature is its building: it resides in a renovated 17th century hospital.

we walked by the Guinness factory

We passed by the Guinness factory, which is always bustling since over 10 Million glasses of Guinness are consumed each day worldwide!

guinness kegs and special forklift

We watched them load kegs onto trucks using the special forklift – it’s got little prongs on the bottom to pick up a whole pallet at a time!

my perfectly crafted pint of Guinness

We then headed to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour. While the storehouse is not the same as the brewery, the tour was awesome and gave a great explanation of the brewing process, with videos and props. The coolest thing I learned was the trade of cooperage, when men would form the big wooden casks by hand. It was so time-consuming to make even one cask!

Then we learned how to craft the perfect pint of Guinness draught. The perfect pint of Guinness must be filled almost all the way from the tap, and then left to sit for 2 minutes to allow the nitrogen carbonation to settle. After this two-minute wait period, it is topped off and ready for drinking. Above is the picture of my perfect pint, although it is half-finished!

a pretty blue bridge in Dublin

finally seeing HP7! pure joy.

On day 3 we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2! And I was overjoyed. What a wonderful end to the books and movies of my childhood, even though it makes me so sad that they’re over now. After the movie we headed down to county Cork!

Stay tuned for the next Ireland recap!

something new: the smithwick’s pint glass

the smithwick's pint glass: my favorite and least expensive ireland souvenir (day 7 of the 30 day photo challenge: something new)

At the start of this story, we had been in Ireland for six days, so I had tried multiple wonderful Irish beers. My favorite (along with Guinness) was Smithwick’s, with its golden red hue, flavorful crispness, and smooth texture. This sixth night of our trip was spent in the town of Ennis, where we ate a delicious dinner in a pub restaurant.

When they brought my brother a pint of Smithwick’s in a beautiful glass, I said to my dad, “I need one of those.” My dad collects beer glasses on trips, and though they are quite fragile, they make wonderful souvenirs. When Ben had finished his pint, I examined the glass: the white, red, and gold printing on the side, the raised glass letters along the base of the glass spelling “SMITHWICK’S” in all caps, and the raised glass castle and “1710” on the very bottom of the glass as a reward for finishing a pint. I concluded my inspection with a, “that’s the coolest glass ever!” and carried it up to the counter.

I summoned my courage and got the bartender’s attention.
“Excuse me,” I began feebly, holding the beer-laced glass in my hand. “My dad and I collect beer glasses, and this one’s really cool… I was wondering if you could sell me one?”
He took the glass from me and looked it over.
“Well, I can’t sell you one.” He paused, and I nodded and began to turn away when he started, “But I could give you one.”
I looked up, delighted, and he dried off a clean glass and handed it to me. I earnestly thanked him and kept it safe.

I wrapped it in layers of clothing and towels and hand-carried it onto the plane, keeping such a watchful eye on it that I think I made my fellow passengers nervous. But at last, my lovely glass is home safe and sound – my favorite (and least expensive!) souvenir.

This photo is part of oh so lovely’s 30 Day Photo Challenge. Today is Day 7: Something New.