Cheap-ish flight tickets made it possible for us to visit Ireland last week and how amazing it was. Firstly I was blown away by the amazing feeling of space as we trundled along a massive nearly empty highway to visit my cousin in Galway. I knew I wasn’t in Belgium when I asked a shop assistant where to buy running shorts for my son and received a lengthy description of the town and suitable stores to visit. Of course while we were there we stocked up on smarties, jelly tots and cadburys chocolate. I gave the custard powder and jelly powder a miss as my kids ( as befits true Philistines ) have given up on these colonial delicacies and insist on liking the harder to find (read expensive) specialities like blitong ( akin to jerky) and dried sausage.
A real breath of fresh air was being able to stop at any time, anywhere for a meal. Sings in restaurants and pubs proclaiming ‘Food served all day’ just made me want to go in there and order something to eat. And on that topic, there’s a certain restaurant in Kinsale called ‘Fishy Fishy’ which is worth rather a large detour to visit. Apart from the main course which was nothing short of perfection, I had sticky toffee pudding for the first time in my life. WHile I’m not a sweet tooth, the taste will linger on and bring a smile to my lips for a good long while.
We spent a couple of days marvelling at the massive newly-built highways and the convoluted local roads passing the most desolate, amazing scenery I’ve had the fortune to experience. But even here, in paradise there’s trouble, gated communities are empty, office blocks aren’t sold and super expensive byways continue to be built because they were improved in boom times, ouch!
Still, even people in Dublin seemed relaxed and friendly and donned their leprechaun hats with attached beards in anticipation of a six nations home rugby match I was sorry to miss.
Fortunately I had the sense to steer clear of Guinness when I was asked by a bar tender whether I wanted a real beer or some yellow stuff. What I didn’t remember is that somehow we don’t live in a global village and that pints aren’t created equally. So imagine my surprise when I received huge glass of beer when all I requested was an innocent ‘pintje’.