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Beautiful Ireland

Observations of Ireland
by Martin Green

Everything you've heard or read about Ireland is true. The Emerald Island is indeed green.  Many residents, as testified by store and pub signs, have Irish names: O’Shea, O’Neill, O’Brien, Quill, Fitzgerald, to name a few of the grand old Irish names.  There are many pubs, over 30 on the main street of one small town we drove through, that’s what the tour guide said.

As for the weather, we were told Bob Hope once said Ireland is the only country to have all four seasons in one day. This also proved to be true. It rained at some point during every day we were visiting the auld sod, which is why Ireland is green and why I carried my raincoat at all times. But most days also had their dry, if cloudy, periods and, especially during out stay in Killarney. Then there were long periods of sunshine, making me feel foolish about carrying my raincoat. So, if like us, you monitor the weather in Ireland and see forecasts of rain or showers for every day, don’t cancel your trip.

Great gas mileage

A word about driving in Ireland: not only do the Irish drive on the wrong side of the roads but those roads are interesting. If you look down many of the secondary ones, especially those with no lines in the middle, you’ll swear they are one wide enough for one car. But then you’ll find that when a car or horse cart comes along in the opposite direction, you can get past without actually hitting it. It seems that someone in Ireland has measured the roads exactly so that two cars, small ones, can just barely pass each other. The saving grace about driving in Ireland is that the motorists are very polite and in the towns, the traffic actually stops for pedestrians.

About Irish cuisine: if you like boiled or mashed potatoes, Ireland is for you. These are served with just about any meal, if you want fried potatoes, ask for chips. You can get a good meal in pubs. I had one of the best fish and chips lunches I’ve ever had in a pub. The Irish breakfast is eggs with sausages and what looks like Canadian bacon, plus tomatoes. The Irish seem to be averse to soft eggs so I switched to scrambled and found out that scrambled eggs on toast is not bad. Beverly tried steak and mushroom and shepherd’s pie, and a dish called boxty, a potato crepe with meat filling. She gives them all a thumbs up.  As for drink, I happen to like dark beer and when I was told that Guinness was not only dark but healthy (full of iron) this became my daily fare.  

As fine an Irish gent I've ever laid eyes on.

As for attractions: Ireland is full of ABC’s, our tour guide’s name for “another bloomin’ castle” (or church), century-old stone ruins, interesting shops with relatively inexpensive goods like sweaters, linens and Irish crystal, and of course there’s the fabulous scenery. If there’s any establishment in Ireland more prevalent than pubs it’s the bed and breakfast. These inns are everywhere and even in the most remote area you can find a B&B with good prices.  But even more than the scenery, the lovely gifts to bring home, and all those pubs,  what makes visiting Ireland so pleasant is the friendliness of the people.  

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