As an author and humorist, Reid Champagne is known for his absurd & sophomoric observations of everyday life. While the story of how Reid met wife Carol (after being widowed late in life) is so sweet it belongs on Hallmark, his family would argue his inept & smart-ass tendencies belong on a 2020 reboot of Grumpier Old Men.
Since I don’t write travelogs as such, I don’t feel bound by chronology or geography in recounting our Irish trip. Suffice it to say, the “chopped up” method of travel has worked out just fine. And then, quite on its own dynamic, it has now morphed into a more formal itinerary as the rhythm and pace of the trip has found its own music.
“Plus, as the locals say, “tis a dry rain.” (They don’t really say that, but they should. It would be a perfect Irish saying.)”
It rained a lot, but not more than the forecasts had called for. Plus, as the locals say, “tis a dry rain.” (They don’t really say that, but they should. It would be a perfect Irish saying.) But our driver for the Giants Causeway excursion, admitted it’s rained more this year than in recent memory. That’s okay with us. We’ve found the rain to be more ornamental than intrusive, given the almost sacral topography of Ireland. For me, it also meant more time in the pubs, as opposed to traipsing up and down the sometimes spare countryside in search of piles of rocks, or schlepping the cobblestones to make sure you see all the “must say you saws.”
Giants Causeway: a must say you saw
That has included the Giants Causeway, that famous rocky outcropping of volcanic basalt that has the great good luck of having an Irish myth attached to it like lichen. (The giant Finn McCool built it as a bridge to Scotland to fight another giant.) The excursion lasts eight hours there and back, and includes stops at a castle (didn’t get off the bus for) a cafeteria lunch (a piled high plate of comfort foods) and the precious Causeway (where I got off the bus, glanced at the mythical rocks through a biting wind and freezing temps, and then got right back on the bus again.)
You think it was cold?
It was the Titanic Museum that, in spite of having “museum” in its name, turned out to be the star (pun intended) attraction of the entire trip. I didn’t spend even two hours in the Louvre by comparison (I practically skied through that bad boy on roller skates back in the day), but the two hours spent with Titanic went by about as fast as it took for the boat itself to sink. Definitely a must see, rather than a must say you saw.
The violin that played “Nearer my God to thee”
That leaves crowning the best meal so far in Ireland. And that would be the seafood stew at Gogarty’s in the Temple Bar section of Dublin. Rich, thick, creamy and loaded with chunks of mussels, crab, clams, fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster (may be exaggerating a little) and potatoes, it easily outdistanced anything New England might ladle up.
The best seafood stew EVER!
I guess it’s a function of what Ireland has to offer in terms of simple beauties that there have been far more “must sees” than there were “must say you saws,” because I’ve only had to be sat twice so far. Once was in Dublin, when Carol wanted to explore the shops on Grafton Street, and the other was an old castle in Donegal, which I had politely declined to even walk to, given the immediate presence of the Old Castle Bar and Restaurant directly in front of me.
We’ve also decided to split this beautiful island in half. There’s just too much to experience to spread it out thinly over the entire perimeter. So we’ll go from Dublin to Belfast, Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Galway and then back to Dublin.
To do this country justice should take twice as long as the three weeks we’ve allocated to this trip.
We’ll be back.