Sunday, March 17, 2013

Elsewhere, A.K.A. Ireland

I grew up and lived here, right in the south of the great phallic-shaped state of Florida.

I then lived here.

I now live here.

But, occasionally, I like to take trips elsewhere. "Elsewhere," in this case, turned out to be Ireland.

Allow me to tell you how travelling abroad inevitably leads to some eye-opening soul-searching.

But first, here's a sampling of eye candy from last month's trip to the Emerald Isle.


I started my journey by doing the most stereotypical thing a tourist does when they first arrive in Ireland: I had a pint of Guinness.

The actual first picture I took from the entire trip. (Seriously.)

Or, rather, I tried to have the pint. I barely made a dent in the dense stout before I called it quits after feeling sickly after a few gulps.

Dublin's famous doors

The Six Nations rugby tournament was also in play

Trinity College

O'Connell Street, with the Spire

Night-time stroll by the River Liffey (rhymes with "jiffy")

The Harp bridge

It was cold and I needed some Irish coffee from Temple Bar
The Ha' Penny Bridge

The Temple Bar area

The River Liffey

James Joyce statue

Christ Church Cathedral

St. Patrick's 

Belfast (transportation thanks to the Éirann buses)

On the drive...

So peaceful

Belfast Epcot?

Things I immediately noticed that were different in Belfast from Dublin: 1) The flags and 2) the signs were no longer bilingual in English and Irish

Titanic Memorial

Let it be known that Waldo lives in Belfast, along with his wife and kid

The River Lagan

Samson and Goliath, the two ship building cranes of yore

Look. Proof that I was there.

Believe it or not, this is the entrance to a mall. Wut?

On the drive back to Dublin, the bus passed by this sign: "The Brontë Homeland." Seeing as how Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite novel OF ALL TIME, I freaked and vowed to return to Northern Ireland to visit this place someday! 

I quite like Irish accents and find them rather, well, sexy, but the smattering of English that I understood in the garbled Belfast accent made me seriously question whether or not I spoke the language fluently.

Galway (transportation thanks to Éirann buses as well)

JFK commemoration

Friars River

The Cathedral

The Spanish Arch

Of the three cities I visited, Galway turned out to be the one that captured my heart with its port, dockside, the familiar briny aroma of the sea, street musicians, colorful buildings and cafés. It was also the coldest city I visited in Ireland, which, under normal circumstances, would be a major deterrent for me. Go figure.

Random Barb the French Bean fact: I like sheep.

They are number one on my list of my most favorite animals in the world, coming just before tigers, ducks and dogs. Coincidentally enough, Ireland seems to be sheep-crazed as well, which meant that every time I passed a cobble-stoned field corralling a flock of them, I squealed like a pre-tween at a Justin Bieber concert.

Oh, and all of the Irish souvenir shops happily catered to my wallet with their cutesy sheep paraphernalia...

I *finally* found a salt and pepper shaker set that pleased me. My life is now complete.  (And, yes, I use a red stool as a table.)

I nearly bought a flock of these babies.

If it weren't for my Doctor Mew and my "I See Dutch People" shirts, this would easily be the best shirt I EVER bought.

(By the way, if you too want your own snazzy "I See Dutch People" t-shirt, go here to get one. While supplies last!)

Remember the Sheep Mug from the previous photos? This mug, I am sad to say, is no longer with me. Merely five days of using it, I clumsily kicked over the table-stool hybrid that sent my Sheep Mug flying straight to the ground.

Let's have a moment of silence for our fallen mug.

Welp. Guess this means I'll have to go back to Ireland to get a new mug.

On a more serious note:

I thought that I had been feeling at home in France, but this trip has certainly brought into question whether or not I should experience other cultures.

Ireland felt different.

If I were to go back to Spain, it would be to visit the people I know. If I were to return to Ireland, it would be to fulfill something in my life.

On my last full day in Dublin, I decided that the first thing on my list would be to visit the long-awaited Writers Museum.

I won't lie: walking in the quiet rooms and gazing at the excerpts of letters crafted by Ireland's most well-known wordsmiths evoked emotions of going back to my calling. What if one hundred years from now, museums put up my stuff on display for others to see?

It may not happen; I'm not conceited enough to claim it so. But thinking about that possibility certainly doesn't hurt to make me dream of accomplishing bigger things in the brief time I have on this Earth. I won't delve on the matter for long because it evokes a twinge of sadness that I can't quite understand.

For now, though, I definitely want to return to Ireland and stay for more than just the contributed week. I envision obtaining a degree in Trinity College and building a better tolerance for gulping down entire pints of heavy stouts.

Barb the French Bean

Joyeux Saint Patrick!


  1. I love Ireland, or at the very least I would quite like to visit there. I'm no good with Guinness really myself. Sheep are awesome and it's not too bad you spent money on them. I think I would be quite amazed if anyone was reading things I wrote in a hundred years. I hope I live long enough to see it happening.

    1. I hope so, too, Mark. And I really hope that you'll get the chance to go to Ireland someday. :)

  2. Still extremely envious of your trip. Looks like it was a blast. And as I said before, Guinness is just not my thing, but you're a trooper for at least trying it.

    Also, I'd absolutely love to visit the Writers Museum. That sounds like such great inspiration. Speaking of which, if you want your work to be seen there 100 years from now, well, get crackin'! No better time than the present, and that next great American (French-American?) novel ain't gonna write itself.

    1. Heh heh...yeah. Thanks for necessary reprimand. ^.^;; I really do have to get cracking on the matter before yet another one of my ventures gets shelved out of sheer laziness.

  3. Damn, these are great pics! I wanna visit Ireland!

  4. I've never been to Ireland but I really want to go one day. My wife keeps on telling me about her visits before we met and I have to admit being a bit jealous. It looks like an amazing place. Although in one shot it does look like you might have encountered the weeping angels.

    Thanks for the mention as well :)

  5. Nice pics. If it's any consolation, I know well the feeling of having an awesome mug for a very short amount of time before visting unintentional destruction upon it. :(

    1. Let us have a moment of silence for our fallen mug brothers...

  6. Nice pics.It looks like an amazing place to see and cute images !!!

  7. I am happy to hear that your “elsewhere” happened to be Ireland! I really enjoyed reading your prose full of hope and sense of humor. You are right, Galway is really charming and the colorful main street can take a bit of your heart ;) I can totally understand what you mean when you say “ Ireland felt different”:)

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I'm glad you found this post. :)

  8. I can't believe you were in Ireland while I was away in Japan! Of all the bad luck! I agree that Galway is thoroughly charming - I'm from Dublin so I'm biased but I still have a soft spot for the west!

    1. Aye, Harley, I had been hoping to get the chance to meet you at some point. Still, I'm almost certain that day will come! :D

  9. You look absolutely great, ma belle! How are things going ?? Ah, Ireland! I've been meaning to go, but still haven't gone yet. One day. What are your plans for the summer?

  10. I've been a long time follower of your blog (couple of years, actually) and recently became especially manic about wanting to travel. Ireland's always been at the top of my list, and then I remembered your post on it! And found it! AND NOW I WANT TO GO EVEN MOOORE. Galway especially, now that I've reread this post and scrutinized your pics more. Is it true the roads are terrifying? More terrifying than American roads? XD

    1. Well, even though I never drove myself while I was there, I did have a couple of opportunities to be on Irish (tour) buses that deftly made their way across the winding, narrow roads.

      Even better is when you are driving around Connemara and encounter what the Irish call "Suicide Sheep:" sheep that are simply lying off to the side, OR RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE, of the roads. Complete disregard for their own lives!

      If you have a sensitive stomach, you might need take something for motion sickness. Seriously. :P

      On another note: I actually went to Ireland a second time but didn't blog about it. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend that you take a day trip to Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. :) Bonne chance!


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