Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Chapter 79: Aye, So It Was...

Happy St. Patrick’s Day people! In celebration I am going to write a wee guide for you all about Ireland – places to visit, drinks to drink and what makes someone... Irish. In more recent years I have known a few people to be quite jealous of the Irish... Or at least that is how I see it. I overheard someone today saying, “what’s the big deal with St. Patrick’s Day anyway?” Clearly, they’ve never been to Ireland OR been to the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in Birmingham. So, here are a few things you must experience in order to really appreciate Ireland and just why we are so proud to celebrate it (even if you’re a Plastic Paddy).

My whole family are from Northern Ireland so I’m going to start this off by boasting about all the great sights that made my childhood and made me proud to say I’m Irish.
1.      Belfast. Every time I hear someone say “I want to go to Ireland”, their first port of call is Dublin. Dublin is great don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit of a faff if you just want to go for the weekend. You have to change your pounds to Euros and it is known to be quite expensive. Make your first destination Belfast – it’s still a part of the UK and only a 45 minute plane journey away. It has a fantastic nightlife and there are plenty of tourist attractions to visit, including the Titanic Museum and Belfast Zoo.


2.      The Giants Causeway. A very historic mark in Ireland with a great story behind it. Here's how it goes:
“The Causeway story tells us that Finn lived happily on the Antrim coast with his wife Oonagh until he discovered he had a rival in Scotland known as Benandonner.   Finn was frequently taunted by Benandonner from afar and on one occasion Finn scooped up a clod of earth and hurled it across the sea at him but missed.  The huge clod of earth landed in the middle of the Irish Sea making the Isle of Man and the depression formed from scooping up the earth filled up with water to become Lough Neagh.
Finn finally challenged Benandonner to a proper fight and decided to build a causeway of enormous stepping stones across the sea to Scotland, so that he could walk across without getting his feet wet. But as he approached and caught sight of the great bulk of Benandonner, Finn became afraid and fled back home, with Benandonner hot on his trail. In his haste as he ran, Finn lost one of his great boots and today it can be seen sitting on the foreshore in Port Noffer where it fell to the ground.
The story takes a humorous twist when Finn asks his wife Oonagh to help him hide. Clever Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and pushed him into a huge cradle, so when Benandonner saw the size of the sleeping ‘child’, he assumed the father must be GIGANTIC. Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway as he went in case he was followed.
The story concludes that this is the reason that the Giant’s Causeway exists in north Antrim, with similar columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa.” - http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com/Folklore-and-Legend.T1153.aspx

If you haven’t seen the Giant’s Causeway before, where have you been?


3.       Portrush. My family and I went on a holiday here when I was about 14 and it was brilliant. We stayed right on the beach and anyone would have thought we were abroad with the weather we had. There’s also the classic Barry’s Amusements which is sure to keep you occupied if you ever have a rainy day there.
4.       Dublin – yes I’ve finally got on to Dublin! I went there when I was 14 with my friend and her family and I re-visited there 2 years ago for the weekend. Everyone warned me about how expensive it would be but going there wasn’t too bad. If you can bear taking a dutty Ryanair flight and booking a cheap ass hotel then you’re flyin’! Taxi prices were extortionate but when we arrived we noticed a “Dublin Pass” you could purchase at the airport. This entitled you to a lot of things, including free entry to places like The Guinness and Jameson’s Factory with a complimentary drink at the end, free entry to the wax work museum and many, many more http://www.dublinpass.com/. As I only went for the weekend I couldn’t fit much else in. But if you have to go ANYWHERE in Dublin, then The Temple Bar is one of them.


5.       I know I’ve just said the above but you have to visit The Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson’s Distillery – both give you a great history of each and how they are made. Followed by a wee tipple after and even tips on how to drink them (sounds silly I know, but it really is great)! My favourite drink in the world is a Jameson’s and Ginger Ale with ice and a slice of lime – if you haven’t tried it, do!

Here’s a few things that make you realise just how Irish you are:


The last two are definitely me and my Mammy. Another couple of things include putting “so” at the end of a sentence or “aye, so it is/was.” Oh and Penny's! Just as good as Primark! Which by the way, we pronounce "Pree-mark." Just to add to that argument before you go off on one... how do you pronounce, prick? I rest my case.

Anyways I’ll leave you with this little gem:


My Dad used to work in a Dance Hall where Van Morrison & Thin Lizzy would perform most Friday's. He also grew up with Liam Neeson... More great people to come out of Northern Ireland ;).

Bye, bye, bye, bu-bye, bye, bu-bye, bye.........


P.S. If you diss me for being Irish ever..........



T.x

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