Friday, March 18, 2016

YES. YES. YES


When I was pregnant with my first child and living in Norton St. Philip, Somerset, a favorite weekend activity was a walk to The George for a smoked salmon sandwich and a Guinness. No one had yet suggested that maybe pregnant women should't drink, and in fact, the folks at Guinness positively encouraged it. Ever since, I've considered a pint a meal.

Several years later I misguidedly took to drinking Guinness mixed with cider, which I think was meant as a cheap substitute for champagne. Today the thought of either combination makes me wince. God, what we drank when we were young!

I've spent lots of time in England and some in Scotland and Wales, but I've never been to Ireland. My father, who was an aspiring but unsuccessful playwright, named me after Sean O'Casey, and I've always felt somehow, somewhat, Irish, which is not as unusual as you might think for a Jewish girl growing up in 1950s America. And then I read Ulysses, or rather studied it, with a reading group at the Rosenbach Museum, three times.

Since holiday anticipation is at least 50% of the pleasure of traveling, I am already telling friends and family about our trip to Dublin this June. It's still 3 months off, but I've reserved plane tickets and a hotel and even bought tickets to the corny Ulysses breakfast at the James Joyce Center. I will not, however, be eating kidneys.

Any suggestions for must sees, must eats or day trips are enthusiastically encouraged.




13 comments:

  1. The George - what a great place. I remember hearing that one pint of Guinness has the calorific value of a loaf of bread. I never sat down and ate 6 loaves in one go. The only 'must see/visit' place I know in Dublin is Bewley's Oriental Cafe - fantastic, both inside and out.

    (P.S. I have noticed that any responses by you to comments end up in Google+ or my fake email address, and I hardly ever look at either. Maybe adjust it in your settings, so they end up here?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bewley's seems to be closed. :( Thanks for the suggestions though.
      Re the other, I don't see how to change it in settings.

      Delete
  2. I have never met anyone who finished Ulysses. Did you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, several times now. But I would never have done it on my own. The reading group, led by a professor, was essential, as were the secondary sources.

      Delete
  3. I believe the Gentlemens Bathing Place is now open to the fairer sex. The waves can be tumblesome though. In England you used to be able to get Guinness on the national health. When a relative of mine was in hospital and couldn't eat solid food and didn't like the taste of the Liffey water they compromised by offering a sweeter stout called Mackeson. This went down very well. I can remember mixing Black Velvets with the ingredients you mentioned when I was kneehigh to a Welsh leprechaun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that the gentleman's bathing place known at the Forty Foot in At Swim Two Boys? Do the gentleman still swim naked?

      Delete
    2. I think it's probably that. If my memory is not deceiving me, it's 10 years since I was there, I think there's a sign to the effect that naked is not allowed.

      Delete
  4. Enjoy the thrill of anticipation!
    As to Guiness: I used to drink it for a while, because the dark brew looked utterly lovely against my "Chili bean" dark red nail lacquer :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Guinness with or without polished nails!

      Delete
  5. Go North see the sights of Belfast and then on up to the Giants Causeway, then onwards to Bushmills Distillery and on further to Derry City. Then down to Sligo and visit W.B Yeats grave, dropping then to Coole Park where you will recite the great mans words as you stroll around hoping to catch sight of the famous swans. Onwards then Galway City and the Arran Islands where you will learn a smattering of As Gaeilge! Before standing on the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare and looking for the US of A which you will not find because it is far too small :) If there is sufficient time
    visit Cork city and then go west to the Beara Peninsula or further west to Kingdom Of Kerry. Wherever you go never wear a raincoat otherwise you will be picked out as a visitor and that would never do :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We started off going to go from Galway to the north but the TV weatherman in Galway said it was raining in the north, so we stayed in Galway for a bit, and then followed the weatherman's daily advice and a tip from a bookie we bumped into in a pub to go to Cork, and we went basically anti-clockwise round Eire ending up in Dublin drinking Guinness and singing our heads off in Temple Bar with a Welsh Male Voice Choir on tour . In this way we only saw rain once in 14 days. I wrote a poem about a lighthouse at Hook. If you're lucky with the weather you'll have a fine time.

      Delete
    2. Sounds wonderful! I expect to have a fine time no matter what the weather!

      Delete
  6. Thanks, Heron. This itinerary sounds delightful. I wish I were going to be there for more than the one week we've planned. As for the raincoat, I'm bound to look like a visitor anyway, and I'd rather be dry than pass myself off as a native.

    ReplyDelete