If my time in Paris revolved around walking and eating, my time in Ireland revolved around sitting and, well, drinking. I realize that sounds terrible. We only had about 5 days there and the 2 things I wanted to accomplish were catching up with old friends, and listening to some good music and, in Ireland, both of those things often involve sitting and drinking.
The first day we were in Dublin, I met up with a friend in a pub in Temple Bar (not all of the Temple Bar pubs suck, I promise). We sat down, had a couple pints of Guinness in as many hours and caught up on the last 5 years. As I was sitting there, a warm, familiar feeling washed over me, that feeling of timelessly getting lost in enjoying the company of friends. That is something people in the rest of the world tend to do better than people in the United States. At home, my mind tends to drift to all the things I have to do, or should be doing. I can’t help but feel guilty letting a day pass by, doing nothing but enjoying myself. For some reason, while I’m in Ireland, those things don’t bother me as much. It’s not because I have less on my plate. During this last trip, I was just over a week away from landing at home with no real idea how I was going to make a living (Still working on that. Stay tuned).
I squeaked in a couple days in Galway, where I lived for almost all of 2004. There is a new motorway between Dublin and Galway and, holy smokes, has it cut down that trip. I remember 3.5 to 4 hour bus journeys and now it’s around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
My first stop was to meet a friend at a place where I have spent many a day and many a dollar, Tigh Neachtain.
Galway gave me some pretty fabulous weather. I spent about 48 hours furiously catching up with friends and toddling around old stomping grounds.
There are things I miss about living in Ireland. Things and people and landscapes that I wish I had at arm’s length here. But there is one thing that I love so much that I consumed it on a (sometimes bi)weekly basis while living there and never cared that I could feel my heart working harder simply to keep myself alive after just the first bite. Something that I had 4 out of 5 nights on this return trip. Something that I am grateful is not within arm’s length here for the sake of my circulatory system and waistline.
Oh my f$%&ing god, I love those things. It’s chips (french fries, obviously) covered with grated cheddar cheese and garlic mayonnaise. I KNOW! I don’t think even Paula Deen would unleash such a beast onto the world. I conducted an unscientific study with a friend in Galway on who had the best garlic cheese chips. If you care to know, the best chips were at Mario’s and the best cheese ratio and garlic sauce were at Vinnie’s. Mario’s had since closed but Vinnie’s is still there on Upper Dominic Street across from the Roisin Dubh. I paid a visit on this last trip and am pleased to say they are still as heart-stoppingly delicious as ever. And while I could wait another 5 years for a plate of those, I hope another 5 years doesn’t pass me by before I’m in Ireland again.