Friday, May 19, 2006

Impressions of Ireland... week one!

Things that stand out to me in Ireland - so far! : )

Peat - Peat smells a little like sweet tobacco. It's harvested in the bogs (which seem to be throughout the country). It's burned in fireplaces, along with coal. It's quite pungent, and very easy to distinguish, as you pass by houses or villages. I think it's something I will always associate with Ireland.

Guinness - Guinness is everywhere. The smallest hole-in-the-wall pub has a least one draught tap devoted to Guinness. They pour it with the utmost care, too. You fill the glass about 2/3 full, and let it sit for at least 2 minutes, before filling it to the brim. There is actually a Guinness Quality Team that travels around the country and once a month, visits every pub to check the Guinness tap hoses and machines to ensure that the Guinness experience is the finest.

Rain - There are four kinds of rain in Ireland. A soft mist rain that little sprays your face, but doesn't get you wet. Spitting rain that is a bit stronger, but doesn't get the ground wet. A shower that gets the ground wet, and yet you can still see the sunshine. And the lashing/pelting rain that stings when it slaps your face and soaks your clothes. The coolest part about the rain in Ireland, at least from what I've seen, is that no matter where you are when it's raining, you can turn yourself around and see sunshine pouring down from the sky and covering some patch of ground in the distance. The light seems to always be there.

Narrow Roads - OMG the roads are narrow here. And at many points along the way, they often seem impassable by two cars at the same the time. All the while, the speed limits that are posted are for 80 km/h - 100 km/h. Unbelievable! Sue and I just giggle when we approach a very twisty, windy road, with a narrow bridge, with the words "SLOW" painted on our lane, and a posted speed limit of 100. : ) We've also seen the funniest road signs - signs that show cars falling off of cliffs; cars with one set of wheels falling off the edges or sides of roads; warnings about stud fittings, and loose chippings. We saw one that said "Caution, wagons turning ahead." Wagons?? Do they still make wagons? *grin*

GREEN - Everything is green. There is even green in the most rocky, barren lands. And today, while we hiked through some of the 25,000 acres of Killarney National Park, we saw so many shades of green, I thought my head would spin. I didn't know it was possible. Light green, olive green, dark green, forest green, blue-green... all mixed together in the grasses, trees, and lushness that makes up this country.

Sue and I have still another week to travel - yahoo!! - so I suspect there will be other "things" that I experience as Ireland to me. But I thought I'd give you all a little flavor of the country for now.


At 3:40 PM, Anonymous cq said...

I guess "Fifty Shades of Green " wasn't an exaggeration.

Love reading your posts and all I can think of is SCRAPBOOK. But alas, that is my obsession and I'll not impose it on anyone else. :-)

So happy that you had a great week and I'm looking forward to reading about week 2.

So long, lassies...
(Oops...Is lassies Scottish?)

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your descriptions and sharing your experiences and impressions of Ireland. Makes me wish I were there!

I love the imagery of "sunshine pouring down from the sky" How interesting to have rain where you are and be able to change your perspective just a little, and be able to see the sun bathing an area in light. I can picture several applications of this to many other aspects of life. I appreciated you sharing it (prompted my first every blog reply).

May your next week be every bit as enjoyable as your first, if not more so!!

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous cb said...

Ahhhh, Guinness. The only place that "didn't" have it when I was in the U.K. was a chain restaurant in Newcastle, but the waitress was brand new, not from the U.K., and had trouble with "hamburger". I think I saw the tap....but was too far from the bar on a football weekend to be able to confirm. A sad, Guinnessless meal. :-(

Glad you guys are having such a good time.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger CC in Sunny CA said...

Cool - Guinness Quality Team! What a great job THAT would be!


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