St. Patrick’s Day

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March 17 holds significance for me in two ways. First of all, and most obviously, it is Saint Patrick’s Day. Growing up in Ireland I can remember many a day spent very unproductively celebrating whatever it was we were celebrating… usually from an early hour too! Last year Sam and I were lucky enough to be in Dublin to join in with the locals as they did what they do best… great experience. If you want a quick fix from the Emerald Isle, check out my gallery of Ireland photographs, including the one below from Dunmore Head looking out toward Great Blasket Island.

Secondly, as I check the weather forecast for the coming week, I am pleased to notice that we are expecting a brief spell of almost 70 degree temperatures here in Maine. While definitely abnormal for this time of year, March 17 and St. Paddy’s Day always spell the end of winter for me. The clocks have just sprung forward, we are in the throes of March Madness, and in a couple of weeks we get to enjoy the dogwoods of Augusta during The Masters golf tournament. For me… this is a good time of the year, so cheers!

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Cheers!

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On our last night in Ireland we learned that the city of Galway is a vibrant and rocking place… even on a Wednesday evening in March! I was determined to end the trip on a high, so when we checked into our hotel on Eyre Square the first thing I asked at the front desk was where the best fish and chips were to be found. We were directed to McDonagh’s on Quay Street, and boy was it good! This might sound a little weird, but an order of their famous cod and chips with a side of curry sauce… very tasty indeed!

Thanks to those of you who are following the blog and especially our recent journey through parts of Ireland. Your support and encouragement is always appreciated and – though happy to be home – I wish we could have stayed longer! In addition to seeing parts of the country for the first time, Sam had a chance to get to know his family from that side of the pond, and I had a chance to re-connect with some old friends… always a good thing. After wandering through the city center streets in what felt like summer temperatures, we rounded out our last evening in Ireland the only way we could… with one more smooth and dark pint of Guinness each. So… the photograph below is a toast to you all. Cheers!

Dingle

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With a population of about 2,000, the town of Dingle (Irish: An Daingean) is nestled into a local harbor and is an absolute gem of a place. Sam and I stopped of here as we toured the Dingle Peninsula, and after a great day of sightseeing and hiking, we enjoyed one of the best pints of Guinness I have ever had. Both of these photographs were made by Sam, and as you can see, Dingle is quite striking. And speaking of Sam’s photographs… just wait until you see one of the upcoming posts with a selection of his photographs!

A Guinness in Dublin

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I don’t think I have ever seen a more energetic event of such a huge scale as St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. We enjoyed the large afternoon crowds who lined the parade route, and even though there were limited opportunities to actually see the parade, we still had a great time. Once the parade was over though, that’s when the party started!

Sam and I wandered around the famous and eclectic Temple Bar area for a few hours. We ate some good food – yes, that’s right, Ireland has come a long way in the culinary world since I was last here – and of course, we shared a few pints. The Guinness we drank – outside on the sidewalk on a mild and pleasant evening – was exceptional. Cool dark and rich… it went down really smoothly.

As we headed back to our hotel to try to catch up on some sleep, the city center was alive with a throng of people. I grabbed a quick shot of the Liffey Ha’penny Bridge that was built in 1816. The atmosphere was incredibly light and friendly, despite the considerable amount of drink that was being consumed.

My guess is that there will be a few people who get a slow start the morning after 🙂