Happy St. Patrick's Day
May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, And nothing but happiness come through your door.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today is the day we celebrate everything Irish, good food, good liquor, and good friends. Several years ago, I started a new tradition of making authentic Irish stew and soda bread for our celebratory meal. The Bean and I don our Irish shirts, listen to Irish folk music, and imagine a world of banshees and leprechauns. We also read a book I brought back from my trip to the Emerald Isle, King Puck, by Micheal Garland. Although my bean is now 12, she still adores the tale of the farmer, Seamus, and his goat, Finny, as they go on an adventure to compete in Ireland's oldest Faire. It's a fun, lovely story filled with colorful illustrations and hidden fairies; seriously, what's not to love.
In 2015, I had the pleasure of taking a two-week dream trip to Ireland. The only thing that could have made the trip more pleasurable was having my bean and my bib overall wearing buddy with me. By day three, I was homesick for my baby and my husband. However, the people's charm, the beauty of the isle, and the amazing shopping helped me cope with my homesickness. There is truly a lot of benefits to retail therapy...insert wink. Someday, I would love to return to Ireland with my bean and The Bibbed Wonder if he will leave the farm and show them all the beauty of which I speak.
My trip to Ireland was the first time I had ever eaten lamb or mutton, and I ate a lot of it. Lamb and mutton are second only to potatoes in Ireland. I found that if I could refrain from picturing the innocent snow-white babies in my head, I liked lamb. I have issues with visualization. While in Ireland, I had the best yogurt I have ever eaten. I have searched and researched to find the equivalent here but, to date, have been unsuccessful. I think they feed their animals a lot differently in Ireland, and that makes all the difference. One thing I noted about Ireland was that everything appeared clean, tidy, and natural. I did not see any factory farms, huge holding pens, or commercial practices. The Irish seem to be more conscious of being one with the land and taking care of the land and its animals. Perhaps I romanticize and just didn't travel to the more industrial places.
There is no replacement for experience. I can only talk about my travels with The Bean, but I can't help her understand Ireland's culture, beauty, and loveliness. It is something that has to be experienced first hand. From the shock of getting off the plane and seeing a large population having a Guinness and eggs for breakfast to roaming the countryside and inhaling a field of fresh heather, to sleeping in an ancient castle for a night, those are experiences that can't be replaced by tales. I hope my bean chooses to experience all the wonder the world has to offer. If you, dear reader, have the opportunity to travel to Ireland, jump at the chance. It is well worth it, and you won't be sorry.
Today, I will revisit my photos, read stories, remember tales, and try to recreate the food I experienced. However, it is no replacement for the real thing. Until then,
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, and wash your hands.