Sunday, March 21, 2010

Irish St. Paddy's day

Hallo! Last week was St. Patrick's day, and I thought I would share our very strange experience of it here. It was not exactly what you would expect.

I will start in the middle. The morning began in a wonderful way, making a proper Ulster Fry for the house. Check photos on Wiki. This breakfast is actually a minor feast of grease, fat, and as an afterthought, tomatoes. Two flats of bacon, two sausages, eggs, tomatoes, fried soda bread, fried potato bread, and mushrooms all fried in a particular order and with a lot of butter and sausage/bacon grease. We were all rolling after that, even the vegetarians. Jeff and I decided that we have just developed a St. Patrick's custom to bring home and share.

So that seems Irish enough, right? We spent the afternoon with the house out at the Ulster American Folk Park, a living history museum, where we walked around and saw a play of sorts about a living or American wake (which was what they called a going away party for an emigrating person). The weather here has been gorgeous lately, two days rain in the past two weeks, and it was nice to be outside. We chilled out the rest of the day and had a nice supper. Everyone went to bed early, completely exhausted.

Now, rewind. We could not celebrate out on the town on the day proper, so we went out with maybe a dozen people the night before while Lukas covered the house. We went to a place called Sally's for drinks and music, and sat around happily chatting with our Guinness/cider. Things changed quickly when tiny creme de menthe and Bailey's shots appeared. We had a toast with the Rainbow House co-workers shortly after those, and then Niklas (new Rainbow co-worker) wanted to treat Jeff and I as well. Now, keep in mind that Omagh was the site of a major car bombing in 1998, and is perhaps not a good place to order an Irish Car Bomb (a Guinness/Jameson/Baileys mixed drink). He was not stupid to order it by that name, but instead ordered all the components seperately and came back to the table with three full pints and the Bailey's and Jameson in shot glasses. This was a larger undertaking than either of us were prepared for, but I suppose many people have had that thought on St. Patrick's day before... a half hour later the bar closed and forced everyone upstairs to the club, complete with spinny lights and the dance club version of Irish favorites such as "I'll Tell me Ma" blasting with a techno beat. Few were wearing green, but many women were wearing skirts as short as my shirt. Though this is not normally our scene, due to the aforementioned activity, we had a good time! We left most of our party still dancing and caught taxi around 1:30.

So like I said, not exactly what we were expecting. But still a fun time. Waking up the next morning to fry up all that food was difficult, but the result was well worth it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kristin and Landon!

We had a lovely time recently when our friends, Kristin and Landon, stopped by Belfast for a visit! In exchange for two boxes of girlscout cookies one of graham crackers, we took them around for a few days. We walked around Belfast the first day (and magically, they were mostly coherent despite the transatlantic flight), then headed to the west coast to Donegal for some natural beauty. We visited a point near Kilcar that was absolutely amazing. To reach it we drove down a potholed farmer’s lane, and had to stop for a sheep and her lamb. The lamb could not jump the stone wall like mama, so it kept running up and down the gate bleating. The most beautiful place I have been on the island yet. Seriously remarkable. See photos. The last day we showed them around the community, Omagh, and headed back to Belfast. We had a blast, but we were exhausted. Here are a couple photos of our time with them—