… with the most important person in the world… ….My Daughter
“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” James Joyce
As a self proclaimed introvert, one can imagine there might be the challenge of making new friends, and discovering new places. Thirty years ago that challenge presented itself when I moved to Boston with the band I was playing with (yeah, that’s another story too). So not to spend to much time delving into the psychoanalytic theories of my behavior or the migration and nesting habits of this bird, let’s just skip to the chase. My first friends, aside from my bandmates, were another group of individuals who had recently migrated a couple of doors down from our flat. However this flock flew in from Ireland. They opened a little pub, and most of them, lived in the apartments above the bar. As I would too in a not to distant future. I spent my first Thanksgiving and my first Christmas with them in Boston as well. They were more than friends, and I knew at some point this introvert would have to make the trip to Ireland.
Jump ahead thirty years and one of those rare impulsive moments happened to me. I bought two round trip tickets to Dublin. But who would that individual be that I would travel with? As the shy person I am, I would need someone who was skilled in global travel. Another perk would be the ability to drive on the left side of the road (for some of you, like myself, it’s also called the other right). Well there could only be one person I knew qualified to do that, cosmopolitan extraordinaire, my daughter! Okay, okay… irregardless of her qualifications, she was my first pick anyway.
“I’d think of Dublin, of Grafton Street, and Derby Square, and those I really care and you” Phillip Lynot
September 2018, plane lands in Dublin, daughter decides to take all driving responsibilities away from father. Yay!!!! So the first two days would be in Dublin. Our accommodations would be at the Uppercross House Hotel. This hotel gets a score of fifteen on the NotSoNomad scale of Libation of One to Ten.
One advantage of having lived in Boston for thirty years is that I have made a lot of friends that just happen to be Irish, and for those that don’t know, Boston has a lot of Irish. Day one consisted of a good friend picking us up and taking us for our first pint, second pint, and third at the Blue Light Pub. The Blue Light has a great view overlooking Dublin, and we had a beautiful sunny day to sit outside and enjoy our Guinness. Actually, we had ten days of spectacular weather.
Basically, Dublin was our starting point before we headed out to Galway, Dingle, Cork, and then back to Dublin. While in Dublin we walked around the city, went to the Guinness Storehouse (which had the best pint, as it should, during our tour of Ireland), met another friend at another pub, and did some more sight seeing. I would like to mention one little incident that occurred our first day. From the Blue Light Pub, it was a straight shot down Balleymonduff road to Johnnie Fox’s Pub for pints four and five, and a bite to eat. A close friend of mine back in the states warned me of what might happen to me if I had the seafood chowder at Johnnie Fox’s. I must say I was very glad to take his advice and order a bowl. As my daughter can attest everyday for the next ten, would consist of a bowl of seafood chowder. Whether it was masticated, mainlined, or inhaled, I needed my fix!
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“The boys of the NYPD choir Still singing “Galway Bay” Pogues
Onto Galway for the Next two days! Okay, so we did have a couple hours of heavy rain, but whatever, Galway was awesome. Again, with only two days it’s hard to cram all the stuff in you want to do with limited time. Especially when your daughter labels this trip The Great Li%%^tt Pub Crawl of 2018. No one needs to twist my arm to buy into that tag. So on that note, best seisiun on our pub crawl, hands down, Tig Coili. Located in what’s known as the Latin District. We just happened to luck out and get seats right next to the musicians. However, I am sure we were really in the seats of the bohdran and uilleann pipes musicians whom were no shows.
So after pints eleven, twelve, and thirteen. We headed down to the Spanish Arch and had dinner at Ard Bia. By the way, the food we had an Ireland was outstanding. The following night, after traversing the Burren, and laying siege to Dunguaire Castle, we quenched our thirst with a bottle of gruner veltliner at a Oscar’s Seafood Bistro which just happened to be next to our airbnb. How convenient. Big Coili, Ard Bia, and Oscar’s Bistro all receive a score of fifteen on the NotSoNomad scale of Libation of One to Ten. And yes, I had my seafood chowder. Tomorrow, onto the Cliffs of Moher and Dingle.
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…and on a side note, when I asked if the Cliffs of Less had fewer visitors, no one thought it was funny.
Descending from the Connor Pass led us to another two day destination, the town of Dingle. Known to be the residence of Fungie the dolphin. If so inclined, one may take a boat ride to visit the resident bottlenose dolphin. We had no interest. Our mission was to seek out cliffs, ruins, and seafood chowder. Well the chowder thing was more me than her. So a shout out to Out of the Blue for their lovely bowl of seafood chowder that had a pleasant hint of fennel and received a high score on the NotSoNomad Scale of Libation.
We would spend a day driving the Ring of Dingle, which offers great scenic views, cliffs, beehive huts, ruins, and the famine cottages in Fahan. We would end the day by doing a quick tour of the Dingle Ocean World Aquarium, and hitting the seisiun at O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub where I hit my head… low ceilings. Aside from an amazing siesiun, and great pint, the Courthouse scored a perfect 100 on the NotSoNomad Scale of Libation for their men’s bathroom.
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To Cork… and some old friends
Scientists estimate that earth is 4.54 billion years old, give or take 50 million. So in the big picture of our universe, thirty years is a minuscule amount of time. But to me, you, and the rest of the human civilization, that’s one third of our life. Quite possibly, one might think that is way to much time to let slip by before reuniting with old acquaintances. I agree.
Ten days in Ireland is a decent amount of time to spend there as a tourist, but way too little time to see everything. So we had to do the express tour for the Ring of Kerry. As we were advised, the tour buses’ route are clockwise around the ring. If you don’t want to be stuck behind one of those buses, do the route counter clockwise.
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We stayed outside of Cork City at an airbnb in the town of Myrtleville. If you are looking for that quaint rustic cottage, this is for you. Now if I remember correctly, the house was built some time in the 1800’s. It sits on a very nice one acre farm with apple trees, and raspberry bushes. There was even an apiary from which our host supplied us with a fresh pot of honey for our tea. There was a pot belly stove, where one would expect the television to be, to keep us toasty in the morning. It was definitely much more fun to watch as we ate fresh apples and potatoes from the farm with a nice side of black pudding.
The cottage is just a short walk to the beach, where another fine dining experience awaited us at Bunnyconnelian. Yes, they had a lovely bowl of seafood chowder waiting for me.
The following day we headed into Cork city for a stroll before pint thirty seven at the Hi-B Bar on Oliver Plunkett Street. Now, one of my greatest weaknesses in life is cheese. It is my kryptonite. If it is a weakness of yours as well, then stay away from the English Market. We didn’t. A covered food market where one can find a plethora of produce, poultry, seafood, and assorted mammalian cuts to satisfy anyone’s palate. Of course, there is also cheese galore.
Anyway, after a quick stint at the Hi-B, it was off to Crosshaven to search for my long lost flatmates. I had a bit of info on where I could find them, the Anchor Bar and Restaurant. As one of them was the proprietor of the establishment it should be no problem, right? Unfortunately when we arrived, the lights were off and the doors were locked. Apparently, they only open weekends during the off-season (which we missed by a week). Fortunately, it just so happened that there were two ladies finishing their supper inside while I was trying to break in. Well, one of them came to the window to inform us that they were closed, but amid half sentence, she realized she was talking to her long lost flatmate from all those years ago.
I won’t bore you with all the details of our reunion, but needless to say, we met my other close friend too, and it was very special. 42,43,44,45.
The long road home…
After a wonderful time in Cork, it was back to the Uppercross Hotel for one last night. We did make a stop along the M8 from Cork, in Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel. The thirteenth century gothic cathedral has magnificent views of the surrounding area and provides plenty of opportunities for your camera.
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I can now cross my trip to Ireland off my bucket list. However, I just added two more trips to Ireland on the list. In other words, I’ll be back. Truly a beautiful country with magnificent landscapes, and magnificent people, salt of the earth. For the record, I lost count of my pint consumption on the second day.