mom, me and 10 counties

it seems like all the recent freelance writing i’ve been doing has begun to suck me dry of any possible topics to write about for this blog. i do tend to have these moments of inspiration where i come up with these great ideas that just have to be blogged about. but unfortunately, said moments generally occur at three possible times:

1) whilst riding dublin bus
2) whilst walking down o’connell st.
3) whilst grocery shopping

needless to say, not so conducive to pulling out the ole laptop and word-vomiting right then and there. i know i know, if i were a real writer, i would carry some sort of nerdy miniature notepad, into which i would quickly jot all of my ideas as they come to me, or worse yet, write the entire blog then and there. no, not me. i am too addicted to my technology for that.

it has gotten cold lately, as the dawn of my second winter in ireland finds me curiously satisfied and ill-at-ease, at the same time. one last moment of autumnal bliss was to be had while roaming around the country with my mom, when she visited for my graduation ceremony not two weeks ago (that’s right folks, i’m degreed).

we managed to cross through 10 counties in 5 days – a feat that would have most irish people reeling. but we americans? we are drivers.

let’s see, there was kildare, where we stopped to see the irish stud and ogle some handsome stallions.

then there was laois, which we passed through on the way to tipperary, where we stopped to admire the rock of cashel and buy cups of tea from middle-aged twins.

after that came cork, an overnight stop that proved heinous because of the bucketing rain, which led us to eat soup and dink pints in our hotel (not too bad).

next day, we set off through the rest of cork (with a brief stop at the ballymaloe house, where mom and the family visited in 1983 when i was nigh but two years of age) and around the ring of kerry before sidling into killarney for a night of bad tourist food, followed by a very good trad session in buckley’s pub.

day three we left kerry and ravaged our way across county limerick as quickly as we could, with only a brief stop to get lost (and heebed out) in limerick city. not my favorite place. onward to clare where high winds greeted us at the cliffs of moher, while twilight fell over the burren. that night, we found out that doolin is more or less a crock of shit – no real irish music to be had there, but the hostel in lisdoonvarna was sublime anyway.

day four, we left clare and headed to galway where, as regular readers of this blog will note, my favorite part of all of ireland lies – connemara. after a brief stop for irish coffee and wool sweaters near killary fjord, we journeyed onward to kylemore abbey and clifden, after which a very shrill wind brought in dusk and eerie, magical colours over the rocky coast.

day five, i was hitting the roof, ready to be back in dublin (and out of the damn car). guess i’m turning a little irish after all.

click here for pictures of the mother-daughter journey:

Ireland with Mom

and here are a few long overdue photos from belgium:

Belgium 2008
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