Best Ever St. Pats 2018

Long time no blog.  But here’s a lil short and kinda late update…but DMSP (Doesn’t Matter St. Pat’s) right? 🙂

My friends and I are all juniors at MST this year – so this was our third go at Pat’s.  After each one passes it quickly becomes THE BEST EVER and makes us get that much more FIRED UP for the next one!

What made this year’s Pat’s Celebration so great??  Maybe it’s the fact that a 2 day break from classes means exponentially more to us as tired juniors than it did to us as energetic freshmen?  Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re all 21 now?!

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LOVE THESE GIRLS!

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We had some great weather on the Thursday before St. Patrick’s Day so we had a tasty BBQ and played some card games!

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Everything in Rolla is green leading up to Pat’s.  The streets are painted green, the bars serve green beers, and we even dye our pancakes green in the Res Halls!

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This Pat’s I was lucky enough to convince Maggie and our cousin to come and join in on the celebrations!  Together we went to the St. Pat’s parade in downtown Rolla and the Tech N9ne concert.

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Peyton is a nationally ranked Irish girl competing for world’s greatest cousin – qualifiers began May 31, 2000. 🙂

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Even ole Ruby got in the St. Pat’s spirit!

I guess we were all having too much fun to snap more (and better) pictures…Oooops!  Maybe we’ll have better luck next year?!

Here’s to the 110th Annual Best Ever St. Pat’s & a Happy Easter!

H. & M.

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2018 Ireland Trip Stats

It’s our last day in Ireland 😦 so we’ve taken the day off of blogging to enjoy Dublin and prepare for our journey stateside.  Here are our trip stats as of 12 AM 1-14-2018.

Distance Walked/Hiked/Climbed: 98.1 miles

# Buses Taken: 17

# Buses Missed: 2 (it was Maggie’s fault both times)

# Trains Ridden: 3

# Flights Flown: 4

# Taxis Hailed: 1

# Days In Country(ies): 11

Towns Visited: Dublin, Cork, Tralee, Dingle, Doolin, Galway, Coleraine, Belfast, and Bushmills

Countries Visited: Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)

# Items Lost: 0 (we’re proud of this one 😉 ) …but “knock on wood” cause we haven’t made it home yet

# of H. vs M. Fights: 3 and counting 😉 the winners are debatable … actually, who are we kidding??? – we’re sisters so when are we ever not fighting?!!! 🙂

# Times “Sweet Home Alabama” Was Heard: 3 – weird? we know!

Breweries/Distilleries Visited: the trifecta! Guinness, Jameson, Bushmills

Candy Bars Eaten (in rank order):

  1. Crunchie
  2. Lion
  3. Boost
  4. Drifter
  5. Catch
  6. Double Decker
  7. Kit Kat (New York Cheesecake Flavor)
  8. Twirl
  9. Wispa Duo

# Bowls Of Irish Stew Consumed: 2 (Maggie is slightly disappointed)

# Pints Guinness Drunk: 18

# Whiskey Cocktails Tried: 4

# Kisses Given: 3 … and all to the Blarney Stone 😉

# Redheads Spotted: surprisingly few…about 25

# Times Our Red Hair Was Noticed: once again, surprisingly few…twice

# Sheep Seen: one sheep, two sheep, three sheep … Damn! this is putting us to sleep

# Times We’ve Benefitted From Irish Hospitality: too many to count

# Blog Posts Written: 11

Combined Weight Of Backpacks: less than 44lbs.

# Laundry Loads Done: 1 … Chicago get ready to smell us!

# Leprachans Caught: 2 … but they got away 😦  (Keith was that you???)

Do We Feel Luckier?: Ummm … of course!!!!

Lastly, we’d like to once again thank everyone who has followed our travels these past 11 days!  We definitely wouldn’t have kept up with the blog as much as we did if our parents had been our only readers – it was really fun to have an audience!

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

“Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, I Smell the Blood of an Irishman”

Today, we woke up in Bushmills.  We had breakfast at our B&B with a very nice English Couple.  Because we’ve been traveling in the “low season,” it was the first time that we had the pleasure of dining with other tourists!

Our companions were from Lincoln, England and were very versed travelers – they recently had spent 3 weeks in Vietnam.  She was a fudge maker and he was a Mechanical Engineer.

Our B&B hostess was named Denise and she made us the best scones for breakfast (not pictured).  They were made from a special soda bread flour and buttermilk that you can only get at a Co-op store in Bushmills.

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Denise had real bacon!!

 

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The sweetest view from our bedroom window.

After breakfast, we hiked up the road to the Giant’s Causeway.

Candy bar of the day:  For today’s candy bar, we tried the Kit Kat Chunky New York Cheesecake.  Unfortunately, the flavored Kit Kat was the only candy bar in the Centra that we hadn’t tried yet and didn’t think was available in the states.

And let us tell you – it wasn’t very good at all.  It tasted like Nestle stuck a strawberry wafer cookie inside of a normal Kit Kat bar.  Both are great on their own but not good at all when they’re put together.

But luckily, we also decided to pick up something we knew we’d love – a Crunchie! And a bag of Haribo Starmix gummies. 🙂IMG_2070

Sites of the day:

  • Giant’s Causeway!  Today, after breakfast we hiked up the road from our B&B to the Giant’s Causeway.  Thanks to Maggie’s thoughtful booking, it was a short hike to the Causeway – and we were there in no time!  Lucky for us, the predicted rain held off and we were able to enjoy our time climbing and taking pictures on the rocks!

    What’s the Causeway?  Irish legend says that the Causeway was built by the Irish giant, Finn McCool, so that he could cross the sea and fight the Scottish giant, Benandonner.  They tussled and now all that’s left of the Causeway, built by Finn McCool, are the ends – the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and the island of Staffa in Scotland (both sites have similar rock formations).  Geologists have another story.  A long time ago, a thick layer of lava flowed over a valley it later cooled and contracted – resulting in the hexagonal cracks you can see today! 

    We thought that the Causeway looked remarkably like Pillsbury biscuit dough…were we just really hungry or can you see it too?

 

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Maggie on the Causeway!

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The rain might have held off but the wind sure didn’t! 🙂

  • Bushmills Distillery!  After visiting the Causeway we hiked into town and visited our final brewery/distillery – Bushmills.  We completed the Guinness, Jameson, Bushmills trifecta!  We really enjoyed our time at Bushmills – maybe because we had some free whiskey maybe because we ran into the English couple who shared our B&B the night before… 🙂 

    The tour was pretty similar to Jameson – but not exactly the same.  At Bushmills, we got to see the actual distillation process while at Jameson we only saw models.

    We learned that Bushmills distills it’s whiskey one day longer than what’s required by Irish law – 3 years + 1 day, while Jameson distills its youngest whiskey to the minimum 3 years.  No doubt, there’s a healthy rivalry between the two companies!

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    Haley on the hike into Bushmills.

    When we arrived at the Visitors Center in Bushmills, the bartender gave us hot toddies because we were obviously hiking in – score #1 for only having one pair of shoes with us (very fashionable hiking boots)!

    On tour, we received a taste of Bushmill’s youngest whiskey and then a drink of our choice.  For our drink, we both opted for the Daisy – a twist on a whiskey sour.

     

  • The Cod’s Way!  Because we knew we’d regret not eating fish one more time before we head home to landlocked STL, we went to The Cod’s Way and ate Fish and Chips for Linner (Lunch + Dinner).  And we got to try our first mushy peas!  Mushy peas are made from marrowfat peas, butter and whipping cream and taste a lot like salty beans.

We were stuffed!  The cod we ate was HUGE!!  We were the only people in the restaurant at such an odd time (mid-afternoon) so we got to watch the two workers dip and then fry our fish!

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  • Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge!  After Linner, we jumped on a bus and headed to the rope bridge just outside of Bushmills.  Unfortunately, the rope bridge was closed due to the windy weather.  And even though we didn’t get to walk across it, the hike at dusk along the coast was well worth the bus fare!

    Side note:  Today was the first day we got frustrated that we didn’t have a car/ working cell phone.  It would’ve been nice to have had the ability to call the rope bridge to ensure that they’d be open.  If we had known it was closed we could’ve visited the dark hedges which look awesome (see picture below)!  Instead, we ran out of sunlight 😦 1200px-Dark_Hedges_near_Armoy,_Co_Antrim_(cropped)

Plans for tomorrow:  We’re making our way back to Dublin by bus & train.  We hope to be back in the city by the midafternoon!

Overall, today was a great day and we’re sad to be leaving Northern Ireland!  No matter how frustrating traveling without a car can be sometimes we always discover something interesting/exciting in our “detours” that we would’ve surely missed had we had a pair of wheels!

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‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

Boats, Trains and Automobiles

You’re probably wondering why we didn’t post yesterday.  Well, yesterday we did nothing but sit on a bus – actually make that buses.

We traveled from Doolin to Galway, Galway to Dublin, and then Dublin to Belfast.

We’ve got a feeling that we’re not in Ireland anymore…we’re in Northern Ireland.

 

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We like the weight of the British Pound.  Guess we’re more like our Mom than we thought! 😉

 

Last night, we stayed at a hotel called Ibis right in the heart of Belfast and really close to the Queen’s University.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out to tour the campus last night.  However, we did enjoy some pizza and relaxation in our room.

 

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Sorry, Mom…we were those Americans.

 

This morning, we ate breakfast at our hotel and then jumped on a train to the Titanic Belfast, a museum about the Titanic, in Northern Belfast.

Candy bar of the day:  We shared the Drifter candy bar.  The Drifter candy bar is very similar to the Twix bar we have back home, but the “structure” more closely resembles that of the Little Debbie Nutty Bars (see picture).  We both agree that this different “structure” is an upgrade from the American Twix – and Mars Inc. should take notes!img_1781.jpg

Overall, a really good candy bar.  But we still can’t get the Crunchie bar off our minds.  We will definitely have to stock up before heading home!

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Sites of the day:

  • Titanic Belfast!  Today we toured the Titanic museum in Belfast – Titanic Belfast.  Back in Saint Louis, several years ago, we explored a Titanic exhibition at the Saint Louis Science Center with our Grandma Zollmann.  And unfortunately, we remember that exhibition to have been much more moving and captivating than the Titanic museum we toured this afternoon.   Now, don’t get us wrong – the Titanic Belfast was still pretty amazing it just wasn’t what we were expecting.  The museum was mainly focused on the building of the Titanic in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, that were located in Belfast, and not on the glitz/glamor of the ship or her passengers.  That being said, we’re glad we had the opportunity to visit the museum today and learned a lot!…And it’s pretty darn cool to say that you stood on the very same slipways that the RMS Titanic did!
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    Titanic Belfast is nicknamed the “iceberg” by locals.  The building stands 126 ft tall – the height of the Titanic’s hull.

    IMG_1819Our favorite part of the museum was getting to tour the SS Nomadic – a tender ship that was used by the White Star Line to transport mail and passengers to and from the RMS Titanic (and her sister ships).  She is the only White Star Line vessel in existence today!

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    Aboard the SS Nomadic, sitting in the first-class passenger area…Haley has taken a vacation from her brush can you tell?

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    It’s a good thing Maggie wasn’t the captain of the Titanic – they might have hit multiple icebergs. 😉

    While walking around the museum we met an Irish tour guide who studied American History at Duke University in North Carolina.  He answered Haley’s burning question – “why is the poop deck called the poop deck?”  Turns out “poop” comes from a French word for a ship’s stern – and has nothing to do with going to the bathroom. 🙂  He also pointed out that the popular HBO show, Game of Thrones, is filmed right next door to the museum – in the Titanic Studios.  He told us that the Titanic Studios houses the second largest green screen in the world, second only to those in Hollywood. 

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    Haley pointing to Titanic Studios.

 

After visiting the museum, we headed back to the train station and traveled up to Bushmills.  We enjoyed a yummy picnic dinner in the train station thanks to our new favorite store – Pound Land.

 

 

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We’ll be bringing these with us to eat on the plane ride back to the US of A.

 

Plans for tomorrow:  Tomorrow, we plan on heading to the Bushmills distillery tour – we want to hit the “trifecta” – Guinness, Jameson, and Bushmills.

Then in the afternoon, we are hopeful the weather will clear up enough for us to hike a little bit of Giant’s Causeway and maybe see the Dark Hedges.  We are fully aware that these plans are very aggressive but we’re determined to make the most of the little time we have left in the “land of leprechauns!”

Oh, and we’ll eat another candy bar … or a few 🙂

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

Doolin with Danger

 

Today for breakfast, we shared a traditional Irish breakfast and a plate of french toast.  MMmmmmm!!!…LOOK AT THAT BACON (if you’re new here, that’s Irish for ham) 🙂 .

We also tried our first black and white pudding.

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Black pudding (top) and white pudding (bottom).

White pudding (also called oatmeal pudding) is a meat dish popular in Scotland, Northumberland, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland – and of course, Ireland (thanks, Wikipedia!).  White pudding is a sausage made from pork, fat, suet, bread and oatmeal.  Black pudding is essentially the same thing but it contains blood.  We’re glad that we ate breakfast before we googled!  😉

Candy bar of the day: Well, we definitely earned our seventh!? candy bar.  We rolled into Doolin yesterday flat out of chocolate and the nearest convenience store is a 3 km hike up the road from our B&B.  But because we don’t wanna get an angry email from Eunice (our mother), you bet your pot of gold we hiked that hike and stocked up – in the pouring rain! Life is hard, isn’t it?

We tried the Lion candy bar.  Haley thought it’d be a safe bet considering that she’d heard the name before – and after yesterday’s fiasco with the Double Decker, we didn’t want to take any risks!  We both agree that the Lion bar is what you’d get if you stuck a Kit Kat inside of a 100 Grand bar.  And let us tell you, that is a fantastic pairing!

On our list, it takes number two – second only to the Crunchie bar.  However, if it hadn’t been so hard – or if we had had a cup of tea to dip it in, the Lion bar might have claimed #1!

Sites of the day:

  • Cliffs of Moher!  Today Steve, our B&B host, drove us out to the visitor center so that we didn’t have to hike both ways in the rain (Have we said that the Irish are nice?!).  We were surprised that even on a gloomy day like today, the cliffs were still absolutely breathtaking.  However, we can only imagine how awesome it’d be to hike them in the summer on a clear, dry day – Steve says we will have to return!IMG_1594

 

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 Why is this post called Doolin with Danger you ask? 

 

 

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Well, let’s just say now we know why they clearly mark their defibrillators here! …And go through them so quickly!

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Plans for tomorrow:  Tomorrow we have another big travel day.  We are headed up north by way of – you guessed it, BUS!  We will be traveling from Doolin, Ireland to Belfast, United Kingdom.  And then continuing on to Bushmills…do we have another distillery tour in our future?!  Tune in tomorrow!

 

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

Welcome to the wild, wet West

Welcome to western Ireland that is – more specifically Doolin, Ireland.

Early this morning, we left Dingle switched buses a grand total of 3 times and finally made it to drizzly Doolin early this afternoon.  Today has been our longest day of travel so far and we are beat – 6 hours on a bus is no joke!

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Luimneach/Limerick looked like an awesome city to explore!  However, we only had time to explore Limerick’s bus station. 😦

Candy bar of the day:  Today, we enjoyed our sixth Irish candy bar!

Wow – how has it almost been an entire week!?

We tried the Double Decker, yet another Cadbury creation.  The Double Decker claims to have “a nougat top and a crispy bottom all dipped in Cadbury milk chocolate.”  However, a better description for the Double Decker candy bar would be “a stale Star Crunch with marshmallow fluff on top all dipped in milk chocolate.”  The Double Decker is perhaps the only candy bar – Irish or American, that neither of us really care for.  I’d like to think that the reason we didn’t enjoy the Double Decker was that previous to trying the Double Decker all we ate were Pringles and an entire roll of chocolate covered Digestives (but hey who can blame us – they’re only 0.5 Euros over here!).  Oh and we were on a crowded bus that reeked of onions…thanks, to an overly affectionate Australian? couple.

Sites of the day:

  • A whole lot of wet Irish pavement/countryside and the backs of our eyelids.
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    So glad we were able to find the Defibrillator in Doolin this afternoon!

     

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    The view looking out the front of our bus.  Didn’t change the entire 6 hours!

     

  • Haley’s graduation present?  Hint, hint Mom + Dad. 😉IMG_1570.jpg
  • Every closed restaurant in Doolin. 😦
  • The only open restaurant in Doolin.  We went to Fitzpatrick’s bar for dinner and had our first Irish stew.  It’s so cold and wet here that even Haley enjoyed her bowl!  Although Maggie thinks it’s pertinent to include that she ate her bread and butter first. 🙂

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    There’s a big scoop of mashed potatoes hiding in the middle of our bowls…anyone know if this is common practice for Irish stews?

Plans for tomorrow:  We’re staying in another B&B tonight so tomorrow we will get to enjoy another traditional Irish breakfast – this time including beans and something called black & white pudding.  Tomorrow we have a full day hiking the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin to Liscannor, hopefully, the anti-rain dances we performed this afternoon will take!  And then celebrational pints at Fitzpatrick’s bar (unless something else opens up…we’re not holding our breath)!

Thank You:  Wow! We are overwhelmed by how many of our friends/family members tolerate our shitty writing enough to read this blog, comment, make recommendations, pray for our safe travels, post on family Facebook groups etc.  Thank you from the bottom of our Irish hearts!  We love you all!

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

 

Ain’t no muck yuck enough…

…to keep us from reaching Eask tower! 

Today, we woke up in Tralee.  Our stop in Tralee last night wasn’t planned.  We were on our way from Cork to Dingle when we realized that Sunday bus schedules in Ireland are considerably different from all the other weekday bus schedules.  We thought we’d be able to switch buses in Tralee but the Tralee bus station was deserted.  And a quick glance at the posted schedule told us that the next Dingle bus wasn’t headed our way until 10AM (this morning).

After a minor panic attack, we became victims of yet another act of Irish hospitality.  We walked from the Tralee bus station to the nearest hotel – Benners.  Benners is nice.  Think Westin nice.  The manger could tell we were distressed, tired Americans and graciously gave us the nicest room that we’ll stay in this trip for the price of an AirBNB.

 

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Sadly, this is the only picture we took of our room.  Look at that tub!  Can you tell what we’ve been missing?

 

Why didn’t we mention this snafu in yesterday’s post?  The wound was still too fresh and we were still blaming each other 🙂 .

Candy Bar of the day:  Today, we tried the Irish version of the 100 Grand bar – the Catch.  However, the Catch has coarser pieces of crisped rice and the caramel is more concentrated towards the core of the bar, as compared to the 100 Grand bar we’re used to.

Maggie still prefers the Crunchie bar, and Haley agrees!

Sites of the day:

  • Eask tower!  We arrived to Dingle at about noon, and made our way to our AirBNB.  We threw our packs in our room and headed to downtown Dingle.  In town, we stopped into a grocery store – bought 2 ham sandwiches, a coke, and a can of Pringles.  Then, we headed towards Eask tower.  The hike to Eask tower took us about 2 hours.  In total, we walked 12 + miles today and witnessed one incredible view/ Irish scenery!  What is Eask tower?  Eask tower, a solid stone structure, was built in 1847 to serve as a mariners beacon helping to guide ships into the safety of Dingle’s pier.  Eask tower stands 600 feet above sea level.  The tower brought in a much needed income during the famine.
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    Eask tower can be seen in the top right of this image.

     

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All the hay bales here have their own raincoats!

 

 

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View from the top.  (Eask tower is to your back – facing out toward the Atlantic Ocean)

 

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  • Fungie the dolphin!  Well, we didn’t see him but we did see his statue and the harbor that he calls home.  Fungie is a wild bottlenose dolphin who is approx. 32 years old (dolphins live to be up to 50 years old), and he frequents the Dingle bay.

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    Haley and the Fungie statue.

Pub of the day:  We have gotten a recommendation from one of Haley’s friends to go to either Dick Mack’s or Foxy John’s.  We haven’t decided which one we’re headed to yet –  but we know we’ll be drinking Guinness! 🙂

Irish lingo of the day:  The property that the Eask tower is located on is actually privately owned by a sheep farmer named Fred who lives at the base of the mountain with his wife and their 2 dogs.  Fred allows tourists to climb up his mountain side as long as they remember to close the gates after they pass through them – so his sheep don’t escape!  We walked down the mountain with Fred and although it’s not Irish lingo per say, we still learned something worth sharing:

  • Fred sells his sheep meat mutton (thanks, Grandpa Zollmann!) to France.  And most of the agricultural products produced in Ireland are exported to other countries as well.
  • Fred said that the “muck” on the way up the mountain to Eask tower is the worst it has been in the past 20 years today – due to the increased precipitation Dingle has been experiencing recently.

 

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

Jameson, Tralee, and buses! Oh my!

About last night:

We went to The Fish Wife for dinner, and the fried Haddock and chips that we enjoyed were incredible!  They put our favorite fish fry, the Knights of Columbus in Florissant, to shame – sorry Uncle Doug!  (But keep in mind that The Fish Wife is only 25 minutes from the Celtic Sea.)

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Before eating at The Fish Wife, we didn’t think that tartar sauce could taste fresh.  But believe us – there’s a HUGE difference between the tartar sauce you get in a packet at Long John Silver’s in the states, and what they give you at The Fish Wife.  The chopped up green onions in The Fish Wife’s tartar sauce must be the secret to creating that “freshly made” taste!

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The Fish Wife replaces finely chopped dill pickle with green onion and a variety of herbs to make their tartar sauce.

Candy Bar of the day:  Boost was our fourth Irish candy bar.  If a leprechaun was trying to make a Twix, you’d get a Boost candy bar.  He’d give you more of the caramel- gooey, gold stuff, and less of the boring biscuit.

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Don’t let this picture fool you.  The core of the Boost is all goo, not biscuit.

 

Although the Boost was quite delicious, we both agree that the Crunchie from yesterday is still our favorite.  Why?  We’ve never seen anything like it back home.

We can’t wait to try another tomorrow! 🙂

Sites of the day:

  • Being students on a budget, we love to shop at the very affordable Aldi stores in our college towns.  So this morning, we decided to stop into an Irish Aldi.  We were surprised to find an Aldi at the base of one of the only skyscrapers in Cork.  Surprise, surprise! – It looked identical to every other Aldi we’ve been to with the exception of a few products.  Our Irish Aldi had a large selection of single-serving prepared foods (including spicy couscous and beetroot salad), and the largest cans of dog food we’ve ever seen.  We bought two Pink Lady Apples which we ate on the bus from Cork to Midleton, Ireland.
  • Jameson Distillery in Midleton!  Every place that Guinness left us disappointed Jameson more than delivered!  Going into the tour, we admittedly were pretty clueless about Irish whiskey but we learned a lot.  Here are the highlights:

 

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    This building was where the barley was stored.  To prevent spontaneous combustion, on warm days all the little red doors were kept open.

    • John Jameson (founder of Jameson + Son Irish Whiskey Company) was actually Scottish.
    • “Sine Metu” is Latin for “without fear.”  It’s the motto that was passed down the Jameson family tree – originating in the 1500s when the family bravely fought Scottish pirates on the rough seas.  And it is printed on every Jameson label today.  We might just get it tatted on our lower backs…thoughts? 😉
    • Jameson Irish Whiskey is (primarily) produced from barley, water, and yeast.  And it is triple distilled – each time increasing the alcohol content and refining the taste.
    • Finer Jameson Whiskies are more expensive because the angels take out a tax – or remove the “angel share.”  The “angel share” is the amount of maturing whiskey that evaporates over the maturation period.  The angels get really drunk on the more mature, finer whiskeys 🙂 – where a barrel can lose over 50% of its starting fluid.

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      The waterwheel used until 1975 when the original distillery was closed.

    • Until 1975, the entire Jameson operation in Midleton was powered by water via a gigantic watermill on the Dungourney River.  Occasionally, a 20 horsepower engine was used to aid in turning the waterwheel during periods of low water levels.

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      If you were the master distiller, you would have lived on property in this “cottage” with over 20 rooms.

Pub of the day:  No pints of Guinness were enjoyed today.  Instead, we lucked into a free whiskey tasting after our tour concluded thanks to the lull in the number of tourists Ireland gets in the winter months.  We also received a full-sized whiskey drink of our choice with the purchase of the Jameson Experience ticket.

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The bartender at Jameson recommends this cocktail to whiskey lovers AND wine cooler lovers (like us)!

We both choose the whiskey cocktail – made with equal parts Jameson Irish Whiskey, and ginger ale with a squeeze of lime.  After slurping down our cocktails, we can actually see ourselves being whiskey drinkers in the future!

 

Irish lingo of the day:  Unfortunately, there was no Guinness at The Fish Wife so we had to go a couple streets over to get our fix last night 😉 .  At the pub, we kept hearing women wishing each other a “merry little Christmas.”  As it turns out, Irish women traditionally leave their husbands at home to tend to the household chores on January 6th and go out with their friends/ women family members – in celebration of little Christmas.  By celebrating little Christmas on January 6th, Irish women relieve any exhaustion caused by all of the festive cooking and cleaning they did to prepare for the Christmas holiday.  Now, this is one Irish tradition we think we can get behind!

‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

 

 

 

Talk Blarney to me!

Early today we enjoyed our best meal yet – a traditional Irish breakfast at the Belvedere Lodge (our B&B)!  Breakfast was served from 7:30-10AM.  The buffet spread consisted of salmon, brown bread, 3 different types of granola, dates, fruit salad, cheeses, yogurt, milk, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and orange juice.  And as if that wasn’t a feast already, our hostess asked us how we best liked our eggs and if we preferred bacon or sausage!

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A traditional Irish breakfast consisting of poached eggs, “bacon,” a piece of toast, a grilled tomato, and a potato hashbrown.

 

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This is Irish brown bread. It had too many seeds for us! Maybe grandma Zollmann would like it?

We learned that Irish bacon is actually ham, black Irish coffee is surprisingly drinkable, and grilled tomatoes are DELICIOUS!

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The bright yellow door at the Belvedere Lodge!

 

Candy Bar of the day:  For our third Irish candy bar, we had the Crunchie!  On the Crunchie wrapper, it claims that it’ll give you that “Friday feeling.”  And well, this candy bar lived up to the hype!  It’s basically molasses that’s been puffed into a log and dipped in Cadbury milk chocolate.  Well, we’re pretty sure that it’s molasses, but the wrapper claims it’s actually crisped honeycomb in the center…what’s the difference?

Anyways, Crunchies are our favorite and we might sneak a few on the plane! 🙂

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Sites of the day:

  • We left Belvedere Lodge early in the morning and enjoyed a 3 km walk along the Lee River into Cork’s City Center where we boarded a bus to Blarney, Ireland.  The bus ride was about 20 min. and we got our first glimpse at what life in an Irish neighborhood looks like!

 

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Maggie getting her miles in! 🙂

 

  • The Blarney Gardens!  We were very surprised by how much we enjoyed walking around the grounds that surround the Blarney Castle.  We were also surprised that we saw daffodils and what look like tropical plants thriving in Ireland!  We think that the Blarney Gardens are Ireland’s answer to the Missouri Botanical Garden, and are definitely a must see!
  • The Blarney Castle & Stone!  This was so cool and not at all hokey like Rick Steves claims.  We toured the Blarney castle (built in the 1400s), climbed up 100 stairs, and then received the “gift of gab” by smooching the stone!  We hope we don’t get herpes! 😉
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    The Blarney Castle!

  • Tiger!  After riding the bus back to Cork from Blarney, we decided to explore the city and shop around.  We went to a store called Tiger which is basically a Danish five and dime.  Tiger sells everything – banana shaped pencil cases, costumes, bathroom darts, beer pong sets, every color of candle imaginable, spices and even 3D anatomy models!  And all at very reasonable prices!

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    Hey, there’s a (Mizzou) tiger outside of Tiger!

 

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Pub of the day:  Today’s pint has not yet been drunk.  But don’t worry!  We are posting early so that we can head out for the night and hopefully enjoy some fish n’ chips and Guinness at The Fish Wife!

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We passed by The Fish Wife earlier today and decided it looks too interesting to pass up for dinner!

 

Irish lingo of the day:  Haley, the trip’s resident hypochondriac, actually might get herpes because she didn’t just kiss the Blarney Stone once – she kissed it twice!  The seemingly unhappy result of a picture malfunction.  (Haley blamed Maggie.  Maggie thought Haley was being too particular for her own good.)

The kind Irish man who helped Haley kiss the stone (the second time) bid us farewell by saying, “best of luck to ya.”

This left Haley wishing she had an excuse to kiss the stone a third time.  But by this time, Maggie had realized he was wearing a Blarney Castle uniform and the jig was up! 🙂

We’d like to give a birthday shoutout to our Grandpa Keil!  We enjoyed a piece of lemon cake in your honor at the Blarney Gardens’ Cafe and we hope you did the same today!

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‘hanks a million for reading!

H. + M.

Sláinte!

Sláinte is Irish for cheers/good health.  It is a word that we learned today at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.

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Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.

Candy Bar of the day:  For our second Irish candy bar, we tried the Wispa Duo.  It tasted like the Crunch bars we have back home.  Wispa Duo bars are made of an airy milk chocolate – hold the Crunch bar crisped rice.  Will we buy 22 lbs. worth of Wispa Duo bars to bring back with us?  Hell no.  It was good but we’re still on the hunt for the Irish Snickers – we want something that isn’t just plain milk chocolate!  Wish us luck as we continue the hunt in Cork, Ireland!

 

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No peanuts here! 😦

 

Sites of the day: 

  • For our first full day in Dublin (and quite possibly our last), we slept in until 9AM and visited the Guinness Storehouse.  We paid a pretty penny Euro, to take a self-guided tour that sprawled across 4 levels of the once active storehouse.  The tour was nothing special compared to the Anheuser Busch brewery tour back home. Maggie noted that we didn’t get to see any beer actually getting brewed/bottled.  Guinness made us realize how completely spoiled we are having A&B in our STL backyard – with tours and samples for FREE!  (Mouse over pictures for captions – see below.)

    What did we learn you ask?  We learned that although Guinness is known as the    “black stuff,” when you hold it up to a bright light it’s actually ruby red in color.

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    Look at that ruby red color!

    Also, Arthur Guinness was a very cocky man.  He signed a 9,000-year lease for the dilapidated Leixlip brewery in 1755 – which is the same ground the Storehouse rests on today!  We guess he knew his hooch would be a hoot…even before the first drop was brewed!

  •  The Liberty Market!  We channeled our “inner Eunice” today as we were leaving the Guinness storehouse and heading back to our AirBNB.  What did we do, you ask?  Well, we walked through what we think is Ireland’s version of Globe Drugs – the Liberty Market.  There were all kinds of things for sale – coffee  (probably “expired” 😉 ), weird t-shirts, glasses, key chains…you name it they had it!

Pub of the day:  Today’s pint was drunk at the top of the Guinness Storehouse in the awesome 360º gravity bar!  Although the Guinness  Storehouse tour wasn’t free, our tickets included a “free” pint of Guinness.  The view the gravity bar offered of Dublin was quite remarkable! Who knew Dublin had such high hills that one could easily mistake them for mountains?!  Maggie thought she was back in Argentina!

The bartenders and all our fellow bar patrons were very friendly!  We met and chatted with an Irish couple who were exchange students at KU (damn Jayhawkers!).  If it were possible to skip the tour, pay for a pint and just enjoy the view & company – they’d never get rid of us! 🙂

We have started to actually enjoy our pints of Guinness!  And don’t find it half as disgusting as most of the dark beers we’ve tried at home!

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Pints at the gravity bar! Could Haley be wearing a more appropriate sweatshirt?

Irish lingo of the day:  Besides sláinte, we learned that “to let” means “to rent.”  Yeah, we know it’s not that interesting but we’ve been seeing a lot of “to let” signs – they’re on almost every street we walk down.  Maybe they’re trying to tell us something? 🙂  Also, in Dublin you’re never in line anywhere.  Instead, you’re in the queue.

Other accomplishments of the day:

  1. We took a bus from Dublin to Cork.  The bus was very nice and had free wifi!  The only bummer was that it was already pretty dark out so we didn’t see much of the countryside.  We did see a flock or 2 of sheep and 2 castles at the stop in Cahir (from the bus).  We took a main highway and got off via a roundabout at each of the respective city stops.  The swift turns almost made Maggie sick!
  2. We have purchased some postcards, and postage to mail them to the USA.  So keep your eyes glued to your mailbox – you might get one in the next month or two!  Or never, if the mail system here is anything like the one in Guatemala.
  3. Do-nut tell mom but we had donuts for lunch!  I guess “trendy” donut shops are popular everywhere – not just in STL.  We shared the red velvet and raspberry/white chocolate donuts at The Rolling Donut on S. King Street while listening to the song “Sweet Home Alabama”…who would’ve thought?!IMG_1102
  4. We checked into our first B&B (bed and breakfast).  We are both excited to see what a “traditional Irish” breakfast is like tomorrow morning.  And Maggie is excited to have her own twin bed!

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    Our Cork digs!…We think it’s kinda creepy!

 

Finally, shout out to dad for the colorful Irish socks and awesome knit hat!  They have kept our feet and heads very warm…wish you could smell the socks right now after another long day of walking!

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Thanks for following along!

H. + M.