Monday, June 20, 2011

Sheepish

Top o' the afternoon my blokes and birds!  As I write this I’m on a plane to Berlin to visit my brother, so I’ve got some time to kill to recap the past couple of weeks.   Let’s see…well of course the highlight of the month was another wonderful visit from Ryan – he came out to see me for a week at the beginning of June.  Although I had to bring home the bacon during the week, Ryan and I made the most of our time and went out in the evenings and had a great weekend.  For starters – we went to see The Hangover II in city center.  Not as good as the first one, but still had us laughing as we were brought back to the wolfpack days…

Ryan was lucky enough to score some highly sought-after front row seats to the Hartford sTAG’s rugby match vs. Yer Ma,  in which the sTAG’s destroyed Yer Ma.   Despite a late arrival to the match due to getting lost en route, yours truly held her own against Yer Ma’s advances. 

Here’s some exclusive footage of the nail-biting match:






That weekend we took the train up to Howth to do some hiking around the cliffs of the fishing village.  We ate a marvelous dinner at Octopussy’s, and just outside the restaurant I was able to score some fish scraps from the kitchen staff to throw to the seals! 





some German hikers noticed Ryan's 2006 Germany World Cup t-shirt and we could hear them all laughing "Germany is ze greatest county on ze Earth!"





mmmm...seafood 

hi there! 


And more seal feeding...



video

video


The following weekend my parents came for a visit.  The highlight of their visit was definitely the weekend trip we took out into the countryside.  We spent a night in Kenmare, and then spent the next day driving around the famous Ring of Kerry – absolutely stunning.  Now, I’d only had my car for about a week, so of course there was one “American” driving moment where I found myself driving head on into oncoming traffic.  Fortunately my Dad was sitting in the front seat to yell “WATCH OUT!!” as I swerved to avoid the not-so-amused drivers coming at us.  Nonetheless, I’m thankful to have lived to tell you all about it!  J

On our way to the Ring of Kerry we stopped in Cork, and drove to Blarney Castle where my dad took the plunge and kissed the Blarney stone for good luck. 





one of many to make the pilgrimage for good luck... 



next to the castle was a "poison plant" garden.  at the marijuana exhibit there was a sign that read "we apologize for the absence of the plant in this cage. It has been seized by the garda (irish police)."  oh boy.


I can definitely see why everyone says to see the Irish countryside – all the patchwork fields in endless shades of green and white specks of sheep decorating the hillsides are exactly as you’d imagine it in a fairy-tale.  Kenmare was a charming town with plenty of character.  The B&B was really nice and definitely the way to go.  My mom definitely appreciated the lads in a stag party at a fish ‘n chips place who asked how long “my sister” and I were staying in Ireland….

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip (there's a few here, so get ready):


one of many winding one-lane roads 

lady's view in killarney national park 



sheep! 

MOOOOO 

this cow was taking her calf right past our car to the pasture 

more cute sheep 




fort from 1000 B.C. 




patchwork fields 




 westernmost coast of ireland - overlooking Skellig Michael which was once a retreat for irish monks



view of Portmagee town from Valencia island

cute little restaurant in Valencia where we had lunch



After the lovely weekend my parents spent the next few days exploring Dublin, took a day trip up to Howth, and were kind enough to immaculately clean my ENTIRE apartment!!  And it was slightly amusing to return home from work to see that my dad had rearranged all the furniture in the living area…oh boy.  I guess that’s what parents do… They definitely left the place cleaner than they found it. J

On another note, I’ve collected a few more useful words of the irish language:

Check – refers to checks in a checkbook, so always ask for the bill instead at a restaurant.
Hunkers – knees/quads (you squat on your hunkers)
Dear – expensive (those shoes are quite dear)
Knackers – offensive term for troublesome kids
Fanny – female lady parts down under (i.e. a fanny pack means something entirely different from what we travel with -  it’s called a bum-bag here instead)


It was so great to finally have a car and be able to make 5-hour trek out to the countryside.  All in all it took about 5-6 hours to get to Kenmare, an entire day to drive around the Ring, and 5-6 hours to get back home. I definitely got plenty of driving practice in!! Now I can see why people rave about the Irish countryside - it's absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to get back out there soon!

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