Farewell, on this Memorial Day, to Éire

Dear Ireland:

This Memorial Day, I would like to remember a few things about you.

One, that my ancestors came from an incredibly hard-working nation of people, who knew trial and privation, who endured coffin-ship journeys to a new land which did not always welcome them the way a good host should, who filled the ranks of America's Revolutionary armies by one third, provided 25 generals, and a very large number of war ship captains.

Two, that a great deal of what we Americans consider fundamentally American–namely: country music, American Folk music, the fiddle, handball, and even tap-dancing–originated in Ireland. So did twenty-two of our forty-four presidents (to one degree or another), a rather large number of our favorite Hollywood actors and actresses, quite a few excellent writers, and at least fourteen signers of the Declaration of Independence.

But most of all, I will remember your for this:

Green. The best color in the world:

And did I mention green?

And, ahhhhhhgreen.

Just catching some green.

And then there were . . . rocks:

Outdoor rocks . . . 

And indoor rocks.

Faithful rocks . . . 

And distant rocks.

And of course, the food. Oh, the food:

Oooh!

Ahhhh!

Wow!

What are you doing here? Get out! You're ruining the picture!

Much better. Mmmmmm.

Are words necessary? I think not.

Except this:

YUM.

And I can feel my arteries slamming shut. But,

YUM.

It's okay. We can walk it off, right?

Amid flora–

–and fauna . . . 

 . . . and flowerette.

And near-death-experiences . . . 

Nah. My feet are planted. No near death.

And anyway, it's worth it, you know? Because I got this:

And this:

Psh. So not a problem.

(Note here another principle I learned in Ireland: Layering. Marvelous technique. Necessary technique. Especially in the land of all four seasons within a fifteen-minute timespan.)

There were things overheard:

–"What time do you open in the morning?"

–"Oh, no, no, no. Morning is too hard. No. If I come in around 12 that will be great. Probably 1 then."

 

–"Have you lived here your whole life?"

–"Almost."

 

–"Can you tell me how to get to Trinity College?"

–"Well, I wouldn't want to start from here."

 

–"How do I get there?"

–"You go straight, in a zig-zaggy way."

 

–"Don't trow that! Ye're after for hittin' the guests on the head!"

 

–"I have four teenagers. My 19 year-old–Oh, him! He's had women and drink written across him since he was this big. And nothin's changed! You wouldn't want your daughter to meet him. But you'd fall in love with him yerself."

 

(After trying on a pair of sunglasses) "Naw. Those don't suit you. You don't have the head fer it."

 

(On the radio after the Royal Wedding) "Now, amid all the Ante-Royal wedding fervor, we want to know: what happens when the relationship goes bad? Does your girlfriend staple yer jeans to the wall so you can't go to work? Tell us. We want to know."

 

And finally, at the Rock of Cashel, after inquiring after the bathrooms, which turned out to be clear down the hill, and then asking the employees at Cashel if they had to go down the hill too: "Oh yes. We have to walk down the hill just like everyone. Keeps us fit. But we are like royalty. We train ourselves not to want."

 

And speaking of bathrooms, I shall miss the rather marvelous variety of, er, comfort stations we encountered on our trip. To wit:

You had your basic bathroom,

Your classy bathroom.

Your "Best In Show,"

And your "Most Utilitarian"

There was the Most Unusual–the combination Toilet/Universal Weight-lifting Machine,

And the Frankly Scary.

And while the Medieval version was a serious "Must-See"–

This Post-Modern version wins the Grand Prize of Porta-Potties.

Why? Because check out this sink:

Yes folks! It's the Smart Sink! There's no thinking, no evaluating. You can give your grey-matter a rest! Because SmartSink  will make the decisions for you. Insert your hands, and SmartSink will dispense the soap, deciding when you've had enough time to de-germinate. Then it will dispense the water and decide when you've had enough time to rinse. Then it will dispense the air, and decide when your hands are dry.

It's automatic. It's coolio!

It is something I want in my house.

Irish creativity and general concern for humanity knows no bounds. Check out the signs and people and other general Cool Irish Stuff we encountered along our journey:

These bad boys were posted all along the river outside the Kilkenny Castle. Nobody's going to drown on the Butler's watch, let me tell you.  You couldn't even try to suicide yourself there; somebody would throw you a swim-ring.

Although, I doubt they'd do much good here:

We saw these in several place. I had no idea the Irish had so much trouble with depressed cars throwing themselves off embankments. Sad, really.

Here's something distinctly fabulous: a book market. Like a farmer's market, except with books. I mentioned this earlier. What a great idea.

Now someone needs to tell me what a Bespoke Bookseller is. Anyone? Anyone?

 

Perhaps this gentleman is Bespoke. He's definitely Befuzzy. What wonderful hair. If you are out there reading this, dear sir, please know that I do not make fun. I think you look wonderfully scholarly and slightly windblown, and I would like to hear you do a reading of "The Lord of the Rings."

If you don't mind.

 

Mmmm. No. Not Bespoke. Be-standing next to a Be-Boyscout-Carving of the Be-Cliffs-of-Moher.

Perhaps this?

Or this?

Or maybe this?

Nope. BeStylin', yes. But Bespoke?

No. I give up.

How about Befuddled?

Or Bewildered?

Or Bemused? DO NOT USE THE ACCIDENT PACK BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ACCIDENT! NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO! WAIT! WE MEAN IT!

And then there's just the, you  know, the . . . Blimey! That's Funny!

Apparently no dogs in Ireland can play foul, cry foul, get fouled-out, hit a foul ball, or leave a little steaming pile of X's behind them. IT HAS BEEN ORDERED BY THE KILKENNY COUNCIL!

This little guy is terrified:

He left a steaming ex in a pub in Galway.

Has this been going on long enough? Are you ready to be done? Wait! Don't go!

Follow me. There's just one more thing to see:

No, not that. Although they were great.

Uh uh. Not that either. But trés cool, n'est ce pas?

It's not even this–which, incidentally, was way worse than it looked and took 2 hours to get through:

And, in fact, it is not this. Although, it's kind of close:

That is the face of someone who has been standing in the U.S. Customs line (after going through security twice and having them confiscate my jar of Irish peanut butter just in case it, you know, detonated) for more than two hours, and would like the plane to get into the air as soon as possible, thank you very much, so she can finally GO TO THE LOO!

But that's still not it.

Nope. What I wanted to show you was this:

This is what greeted us when we walked into the house after driving from the airport, after flying from Atlanta, after almost getting stuck due to thunderstorms in Atlanta, after flying 9 hours from Dublin, after having an incredibly grand eleven days in the Emerald Isle. 

How completely awesome are my kids? See the shortbread cookies on the bar? Homemade.

See the little notes plastered everywhere?

Awwww. Yeah. That's my little-dude. Funny kid.

Let it be written that not only do I love chocolate, but I also love my children. And my husband. And Ireland.

And YOU!

The End.

 

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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

2 Comments

  1. Oh, Janiel!!! These are stunning pics, I loved looking at each one. And how in the world did you you get that crazy cool shot of the huge cliff looking down into the water?! Oh my goodness! BTW you looked chic in every single pic! So glad you had a blast!

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