I think it was while Melissa and I were eating at a pub in Galway when her colleague, Bruce, made the comment/question that were quite the Hiberno-philes. Because of the noise, I thought he said Bird-o-philes, which to some extent is also true. Anyway, once I figured out what he said the answer was yes we are. I’d probably have to say that we are more Celt-o-philes because we have as much interest in Scotland as we do in Ireland. Melissa is still preparing the slide-show of our trip and that’ll be posted soon, either here or on her site.
A brief rundown of our trip. She was already in Dublin teaching when I joined her. Most of what I saw she already had or we saw them together. We went to Galway, Inishmore, and the Cliffs of Moher. We saw a bit of the Burren. On our way to Galway we crossed the River Shannon. My parents joined us as well. We went to the Ring of Kerry. Also saw the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, Newgrange (got to go inside), Hill of Tara, and fields where the Battle of the Boyne took place. In Dublin went to Trinity to see The Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse, and saw the Natural History and Archeological Museums.
The Natural History Museum is also known as The Dead Zoo. If you’ve been there, you know why. The first floor is nothing but stuffed animals, birds, and sealife found in Ireland. They had several skeletons of the extinct giant deer (and they are Giant). The second floor is full of animals from around the world. There are two levels above that but they are more galleries and have even more stuffed animals.
At the Archeological museum, I saw the bog bodies, the Lurgan Logboat, the Cross of Kong, the Tara Broach, and that chalice, whatever it’s called,of Armagh, I think. I even saw a fair number of ancient Bronze Irish Horns. And the gold. They had lots and lots of it. Anyway, the fascinating items on display are too numerous to mention.
We did another outing to Giant’s Causeway, Bushmill’s and some ruined castle that is supposed to be the most photographed ruined castle in Ireland. The train took us from Dublin to Belfast and we hopped on a bus from there. In the town of Bushmill Unionists were preparing to celebrate the 12th (of July). The date that William of Orange defeated James and the Catholics. Needless to say, it’s a bit like holding a KKK rally in Harlem. We tried really hard to see Carlingford Loch, the train passed by it, but the view was blocked by mountains. We think we saw the mountains that surrounded the loch. It’s the name of this song we heard the Black Watch and Welsh Guard Band play when we saw them on tour in Fort Smith, AR.
We finished our trip with a tour of Kilmainham Gaol (jail) and was perhaps the best tour of anything we visited. Melissa and I did visit the HQ of the ICRC in Geneva two years ago and that was pretty amazing too.
I’ll have more to say about our trip including a few more of the things we did. Oh and I did get to drink a few pints of Guinness whilst there.
Postcript – After returning to the states, I wanted to try Guinness again. I heard a Guinness snob saying how it was so much better in Ireland than in the states. I thought, yeah right. Anyway, I got to Ireland and yes to my surprise it was a little different, but I wouldn’t say superawesomely better. Guinness on tap, and draught bottles and cans comes from Ireland. Extra Stout in bottles is brewed in Canada for the US. Well, I tried the Guinness in both can and draught. It wasn’t quite as good, but I know I’ve had better at that restaurant. I wil say this. If you want a decent Guinness in America go to a place that serves a lot of it like an Irish pub. Generally, if you go to a place that has it, but isn’t known for it it sucks.
Tulsa has four Irish pubs, Kilkennys, McNellies, Arnies, and Paddys. Kilkenny’s makes the claim they are the only ones who inject the Guinness with nitrogen which is what gives it its creamy head when “poured properly.” Whatever.