America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Green Lighting megamix around the world

It’s one of those annoying Government buzzwords so let’s claim it back with a Rainy Days and Songdays Green Lighting megamix around the world. Our favourite songs with ‘green’ in the title and the countries where they transport us.

Wales boyo

Green, Green Grass of Home, Tom Jones, Wales: Down the road I look and there runs Mary, hair of gold and lips like cherries.

Now I dare say most homes have green, green grass unless you live in a very hot country and the land is baked brown. But this just feels Welsh.

That is until you get to the rest of the song and realise that it’s a man on Death Row dreaming of home.

Maybe, Mary had a narrow escape after all. We, though will just imagine it as the beautiful Welsh valleys.

Green Cash

Forty Shades of Green, Johnny Cash: Arkansas and Ireland: The legend is that Johnny was inspired to write this County classic when he looked down from the plane at the patchwork fields of green of Ireland.

As a recruiting call for Ireland our pals at Tourism Ireland would have been proud as in true singer style Johnny namechecks everywhere on the Emerald Island.

Quite who the girl from Tipperary town with the lips like eiderdown is Johnny would never say, perhaps because June would have killed him.

Green Burns Country

Burns Cottage, Alloway,Scotland. https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/robert-burns-birthplace-museum

Green Grow The Rashes O, Eddi Reader: Burns and Ayrshire: The sweetest hours that e’er the old poet and ploughman prowler spent were spent among the lasses O.

The old rogue Burns was pure rock’n’roll and could pen a lyric and a tune which is probably why he is held in such high regard by the greatest singer-songwriters of the latter half of the 20th century.

With Bob Dylan, no less, crediting the Scot as his greatest inspiration.

And Henry VIII I am

Greeensleeves, King Henry VIII/Ralph Vaughan Williams, Berkshire: And another old lothario here with King Henry VIII said to have written this for Anne Boleyn.

What better tune then for an English rose to walk up the aisle to in her home county of Berkshire.

My Scary One has lost her head plenty of times since… but that’s been with me.

Vini Verde

Night at the opera: In Prague

La Boheme, Giuseppe Verdi: Prague: No, a non-green tune didn’t slip through. Giuseppe Verdi would actually be Joe Green in English.

The Milanese Verdi had the support of Gaetano Donizetti from nearby Bergamo whom he visited in Vienna which, of course, was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

And that included Bohemia, or the current-day Czech Republic where the thing to do when you’re in Prague is take in a production at the opera house.

Poppies and Green Fields

No Man’s Land

The Green Fields of France, The Fureys and Davey Arthur, The Somme: And in the mud of the Somme the soldiers’ minds would drift off to some verdant pasture and memories of precious moments with a loved one.

Every nation sacrificed its most promising generation in No Man’s Land but for those from the furthest outposts of Empire… well, it just seems to be all the more pointless to modern sensibilities.

Eric Bogle, a Scots-born Australian, explores the pyschological cost to one survivor ‘young Willie McBride’. And it was all the more poignant after I’d seen the statue of the Scots soldier in northern France.

And another one to make you cry

Memphis Blues

Green Onions, Booker T. & the MGs: Memphis: In the home of the Blues, Memphis, Booker T & the MGs came up with their signature instrumental tune.

The story goes that the Stax house band were waiting around for the Sun artist and rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley to turn up and developed the song.

And why Green Onions? Well Booker T. Jones self-deprecatingly said it was because green onions were the nastiest thing he could think of and something you could throw away. We never would.

Ol’ Green Eyes… well, Blue, but!

Little Green Apples, Frank Sinatra: New Jersey and New York: And a lot more digestible with this old standard covered by all the crooners.

But of all the crooners, none compare with the Boy from Hoboken, New Jersey who made it there in New York, and elsewhere.

And just like Johnny Cash from another song, Frank does his best to include the whole country, in this case America.

So a shout-out to Disneyland, Doctor Seuss in Springfield Massachussetts.

And Indianapolis where it don’t rain in the summertime and Minneapolis where it doesn’t snow when the winter comes. All of which it does to

Beret good

Ballad of the Green Beret, Sgt Barry Sadler/Dolly Parton: Take your pick, the clean-shaven All-American Boy, soldier turned actyor Barry Sadler or Miss American PIe herself, Tennessee’s Dolly.

Either way it’s flag-waving, Americana. And even if you don’t know the song you’ll recognise the tune.

Particularly if you’re a fan of Celtic FC who famously play in green and white hoops and who have adapted the song and lyrics into a favourite fans’ song With a Four-leaf Clover on My Breast.

The evergreen Cliff

Green Light, Cliff Richard, India, England, Portugal and Barbados: And there are few more wholesome and clean-cut than Our Cliff.

The evergreen Cliff belts this one out from the Seventies.

The Peter Pan of Pop who was born in India, grew up in England, and has had homes in Portugal and Barbados, though he is selling up in Bim (and yes I’m interested).

When it gets the Green Light.

 

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland

Paddy’s Day Snaps Pt1 – Johnnie Fox hooley

Sláinte… sure aren’t we all Irish today anyway, St Paddy’s Day, Ireland’s national day?

Paddy’s Day, of course, will be different this year with the streets of Ireland (and the world) empty.

But that just allows the whole world to link arms and party.

Fantastic Johnnie Fox

Old foxes: La Famille at Johnnie Fox’s

It’s something of a tradition to take relatives and friends up to Johnnie Fox’sin the Dublin Mountains.

At any given time but particularly on St Paddy’s Day.

 

This year one of Ireland’s fieriest firecrackers, Bláithnaid Ní Chofaigh will be throwing the hooley.

It will be livestreamed from Johnnie’s and also Dick Mack’s in Dingle and The Duke of York in Belfast.

And she’d be up dancing too

And there will even be some Riverdance thrown in.

There’s also a Guinness demo on how to pour the perfect pint which I know how to do from Vegas of all places. And to drink it.

And someone has greened up for today: At the Duke of York

The party which Tourism Ireland are putting on will be on your screens from 7pm-8.30pm here in Europe and 9.30pm-11pm in North America.

Go to the Facebook page, YouTube or Ireland.com. I know what I’ll be watching.

America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Some mothers… travels with mine

I’ve got a husband, five brothers and three sons and James (my Sunday name) is the most selfish of them all.

Never mind that I’d driven her and her sister up from my home in Co. Wicklow to her homestead of Co. Donegal.

Or that I was standing just feet away from my cousin when she was giving out.

On this Mothering Weekend these are our travails.

God’s (and her) Own Country

La Famille: In Donegal

Ireland: And for my Dear Old Mum that’s Donegal where she grew up in a hotel in a rural hamlet, and holds court every time she goes back.

At Powerscourt Waterfalls in Co. Wicklow

Of course the Donegal natives go along with her Diva-like behaviour and indulge her.

Green, green Ireland

It gets us a free pot of tea every time we go back to the now renamed Ramblers Inn.

The Queen of Queens

New York attitude

There’s an advert which the Irish are all too familiar with where two old ones batter the heck out of each other because each wants to pay the bill.

It is quintissentially Irish and it annoys the Scottish half of me to boiling point.

Of course when my Dear Old Mum is with her own siblings and relatives her need to show her largesse goes off the scale.

And so when we went to my cousin’s wedding in Queens in New York she berated me in front of my extended familly and insisted that she pay for the pre-wedding meal.

Before bossing me around Manhattan. Well, I didn’t ask her to wear high heels.

A wee break in Scotland

The Royal Wave

And I can’t even get that.

Anyone who has been to a major golf tournament (2000! Open, St Andrews) will tell you that the queue for the Portaloos is long.

And that when you eventually get in then you will make the most of it.

Of course, too long for my Dear Old Mum, who sent a random spectator to knock on the door and ask how long I was going to be.

She obviously wanted to see Tiger.

But of course I got my own back and outran her, and jumped the Swilcen Burn with the crowd to see him lift the trophy.

Piping up: In Glasgow

One of my favourite trips was when I took her into her adopted city and my homestead of Glasgow to see the World Bagpipes Championships.

Another particular quirk of the Irish is to be dumbfounded that you could ever by hosted by anyone else. She, of course, wanted to pay!

And one that got away

King of the wild frontier. Go West.

My brother, that is who emigrated to Canada after meeting a Torontonian.

I broke the habit of a lifetime by being responsible and putting my studies before a few days in Canada to see my brother get married.

But my Dear Old Mum didn’t forget me then and brought me back a Davy Crockett type hat which became my signature look from then on in my student town of Aberdeen.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Liam Neeson will find you, and he WILL green you

What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career – Bryan Mills (aka Liam Neeson), Taken.

And make no mistake Liam Neeson will look for you, will find you, and WILL green you.

Irish eyes are smiling: Liam Neeson

Yes, Big Liam is fronting a new online video for St Patrick’s Day with footage shot around Ireland.

A Giant was here: The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

At locations like Dingle, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, Kilkenny Castle, Derryclare Lough, Newgrange and Titanic Belfast.

Taken with a green filter

The Greening Tower of Pisa

The footage will be interwoven with images from Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative.

That will see famous landmarks and iconic sites illuminated in green each year on St Paddy’s Day, Wednesday, March 17.

The Taken actor waxed lyrical about his native country.

London calling

He said: ‘This year, more than ever, seeing the world turn green for St Patick’s Day will help to bring positivity and hope to millions on 17 March.

‘This is a reminder of the beautiful island that awaits when it is safe to travel again.’

The man himself

The announcement of the new landmarks to be greened around the world has always been a highlight of the year and this year is no exception.

And may even be more dramatic with the absence of us to spoil the view.

An Irish Opera: Sydney Opera House

The Tourism Ireland initiative began on March 17, 2010, when the Sydney Opera House was bathed in shades of green.

And it quickly caught on with The London Eye, Niagara Falls, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China...

Phew (pause for breath) Rio‘s Christ the Redeemer and the One World Trade Center in New York among the more than 300 around the world going green.

Viva Green Vegas

I’ll put it all on green: Vegas

While the Welcome sign in Las Vegas will be emerald too…

Hopefully in preparation for the delegation of Travel professionals from this island going out to their American Travel Fair in the Autumn.

Our friends at Tourism Ireland earlier this month announced details of those famous attractions and reminded us too of the debt we owe to Wales.

It is after all the birthplace of St Patrick, where the village of Portmeirion will green up.

The Mannekin Piss in Brussels

Over the coming week, Tourism Ireland will roll out its St Patrick’s film in 12 markets around the world.

Including Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, the Nordic countries, the GCC (Gulf Cooperaton Council), the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.

Seth’s magnus opum

For a broader sense of Ireland’s Greening of the World, check out the beautiful book of that name by renowned Irish journalist Seth Linder.

And because every picture tells a story, here is a further selection from his book.

Rio de Greeneiro

Should it not be Moulin Verde?

I Greensterdam
Colossal: The Colosseum
Empire state of green mind

A little bit of Scotland

The Kelpies in Falkirk

Of course, there will be a corner of North Berwick, here in Scotland which will be Forever Green.

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

A year on – Ireland and Scotland and further afield

That was the year that was – it’s 12 months now since I left my beloved Ireland for my first love Scotland.

I had though little intention of spending all my time in Scotia.

And instead had a long list of destinations to fill out the year.

So to mark the anniversary I’ll share the year that never was.

Off to a flier in Czech Hoptown

In the Strahov Monastery Brewery, Prague, in the Czech Republic

The Chinese lady with the mask on in the airport in Prague Airport seemed a curio at the time, a reminder of the latest virus that only affects Asia.

A few weeks later the fun and intimacy of the Czech Republic  were but a warm embrace I clung onto as I entered lockdown in Scotland for the first time.

As I came out of isolation I engaged with my Czech friends again over the new-fangled Zoom app we were all compelled to use and toasted each other in time-honoured fashion Na Zdravie.

I was heartened to see them lay out a table for a feast along the Charles Bridge in the early summer and wished that I was back there again in Prague or in the Czech Republic’s Hoptown, Zatec.

I know this though that the Czechs will get through this because they have the best beer in the world, Pilsener Urquell.

Trump steals my Keys

Limin’ at a Key Lime shop in the Keys

Suitcase packed, bandana on, I was all set for my fly-drive around the Florida Keys when Donald Trump (remember him) closed the country to visitors while encouraging Americans to gather… at his rallies.

And so Hemingway’s six-toed cats, key line pie, Florida sunsets and easy living will just have to wait.

Of course the beauty of it is that Papa’s pussies won’t have had any idea that anything was even different about the past year.

Exile me in St Helena

Napoleon was here

And another on the back-burner is Napoleon’s island. No, not his birthplace, Corsica, or the one the British sent him to initially, Elba, but the one where he ended his days, St Helena.

St Helena, 1200 mile west of southwestern Africa is one of the most remote inhabitable islands in the world and is an ecological dream.

All of which makes you think that exile was a pretty good option back in the day. And if I end up needing to self-isolate anywhere then I’ll be back in touch.

Vegas or bust

What happens in Vegas: With Cami

Now I’ve always felt bad about leaving Cami from Utah at the bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas a few years ago and knowing she goes down there every weekend knew that she’d be there when I revisited in June.

The American Travel Fair was scheduled for Neon City and I was all booked and ready, my chips at the ready to make my million.

But alas I had to leave Cami waiting again and to get my fix of Vegas I had to make do with watching the world’s greatest band The Killers perform from the ceiling of Caesars Palace on YouTube.

The fair, IPW is slated for the Fall, and I’ll be expecting an Access All Areas ticket, Brandon.

And maybe even reprising my Mr Brightside from the Rising Star Karaoke Bar, CityWalk at Universal Orlando a few years ago.

The Norman request

Perfect for a selfie?

I would have put my Monet on getting to Normandy

for the Monet festival back in late summer.

And even get a painting lesson in his back garden.

But as the UK travel corridor policy became as chaotic as the Spinal Tap boys trying to get to their gigs, again I found myself blocked.

Now what is the French word for cup-de-sac?

Bergamo go, go, go

Bergamo fountains

And just as the year was petering out and I was resigning myself to my best chance of a trip down to North Berwick beach, Mamma Mia but one came off.

And in spectacular style.

The journalist in me had me tracking the evolution of Bergamo through the pandemic, it being the gateway to the virus in Europe.

And just in time I got over to Northern Italy to talk to the Bergamaschi and ask how they had got through it all and their advice on how we should all progress now.

There was specialist Lombardy food and wine, culture, history Donizetti music and art aplenty.

But the most beautiful picture was that of the emboldened Bergamaschi in the backdrop of their historic city, both in Citta Alta and Citta Bassa, the High and the Low City.

Now there are worse places to have spent this last year, with the view of the Firth of Forth from my window, Bass Rock bookending the beach and Edinburgh just along the road.

I’ve chosen to live by the sea all my adult life. It’s a primal thing knowing that exciting lands lie beyond.

I know that we’ll visit them again soon, and hopefully I can fill in the blanks above and add San Francisco, Chicago, New England and a host of other trips I had planned last year, and many to come.

All for your enjoyment.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music, UK

Happy 75th, you grumpy old Van

There are some people who are born old and just grow into their faces… like Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Van Morrison.

And so the only surprise with Van Morrison turning 75 today is that I thought he was that age when he was 25.

On the plus side these wise young men sang as if they had already lived a life.

When he was young: Van the lad. www.irishrocknrollmuseum.com

Which may have had something to do with The Swinging Sixties.

But while Bob and Keef were off getting high nobody thought of giving Belfast boy Van the happy pills.

Because as well as making a name for himself as a musical innovator with his Celtic soul music he also became noted fot being the grumpiest man in pop.

Van in a hurry

Storied for cutting concerts short, and I can testify to this having been short-changed an hour in Aberdeen.

Sway to go, Van

Though that was just time. Spare a thought for the Dublin taxi driver who dropped Van off at a hotel to meet Bono.

And was surprised when he disappeared into the hotel never to be seen again.

Thankfully though he had nowhere to escape to when he played a jazz set with Joey DeFrancesco to a Cabaret audience at Europa Hotel.

The Godfather

Van is though by any standard a genius and the Godfather of Irish music, even without that trilby hat.

Another golden oldie: Bob Geldof

So it is only right that 75 of the Great and Good of Ireland’s music scene have come together with our friends at Hot Press to mark the occasion.

With the broadcasts going out through YouTube throughout August and September.

My generation

You want Hozier, Sinéad O’Connor, Imelda May, Bob Geldof, Gary Lightbody, Andrea Corr, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady and Damien Dempsey (take a breath)

And the incomparable Sinead O’Connor

Una Healy of The Saturdays, Damien Rice, Gavin James, The Academic, Moya Ní Bhraonáin of Clannad, rising young Dublin rapper Malaki and many more.

Tourism Ireland is also sharing it with their followers around the world.

While you can also check out all the places he mentions in those classics… https://www.vanmorrison.com/about/van-morrison-trail.

And best of all you can make him last for ever.

Do you remember when we used to sing… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmkgQRmmeE.?

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Windrush Day – know Black, know Irish

Happy Windrush Day, the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Britain

Theirs was a response to an advertisement calling for people from the Empire to come to the Motherland .

So that they could help rebuild a country ravaged by the Second World War.

As well as a student curious for knowledge and advancement who would arrive some time later.

That young man cane from Trinidad https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt to Aberdeen University.

Caribbean boy

Inevitably he met a local, fell in love and took her back to the Caribbean.

But his greatest legacy, however, was their son Jevan.

He followed in the footsteps of his Dad and also swept up at Aberdeen Uni… www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

And he became pals with a Son of Ireland.

Or at least with a lot of green blood running through him… yes, your favourite blogger ME.

Let there be mud

I hooked up again with the legendary Jevan years later in his adopted Barbados www.vistbarbados.org.

He took me off-piste at Crop Over, or off pissed, on Foreday Morning.

And it’s the through-the-morning festival within a festival.

There was mud and paint hurled and rum thrown down the throat.

All against the background of Soca Music, steel bands and jumpin’ and chippin’.

It was the type of welcome we’d always been told we’d get.

And I’ve jumped at every chance to get back… Let’s rumba in Barbados, My kiss with Rihanna and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/. www.visittobago.gov.tt.

It would be nice to say that the same welcome was afforded the West Indians who arrived off the Windrush and the subsequent ships.

But we all know it wasn’t.

And guest houses displayed signs saying ‘No Blacks, No Irish.’

Black and Irish

It is a link that has endured over the years.

And you’ll see a healthy Irish representation at Crop Over.

And Grand Kadooment, the procession that draws the curtain down on Crop Over.

Ireland www.tourismireland.com and www.failteireland.com has embraced multi-culturalism in recent years.

And having holidayed in Ireland as a child I was struck on arrival there as an adult for a 13-year stint https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/06/thirteen-years-an-irishman-my-five-irish-homes/amp/ by this poster…

‘The trouble with this country is that there aren’t enough pasty-faced white people.’

Know black, know Irish… you’ll be better for the experience.

Deals, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Stay home

We’ve got skin in this game with Daddy’s Little Girl waiting for the OK to go back to her work at the hotel.

It doesn’t help that we pass by the very same hotel on our daily walk.

It is expected that Scottish hotels will reopen in line with national guidelines on July 15.

What a vista!

And when they do it will be time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourites and treat ourselves with some new ones.

Such as the Dunalastair Hotel in Perthshire https://www.dunalastairhotel.com, a lovely sweeping valley of a county.

Booted and suited

And one I usually passed through instead of stopping when I would drive from Aberdeen to Glasgow reporting on football matches.

Lounging around

Except for a boys’ weekend in Dunkeld, writing poetry for our Edinburgh Fringe Show. Now what rhymes with Glenturret?

New offers include Luxury for Less (from €99 per night), to the indulgent Highland Retreat (£499 for two nights). Rooms at Dunalastair Hotel Suites are from £129 per night.

Courtyard

Also see Visit Scotland www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Coming out of quackdown

We’ve been missing them so much during quackdown.

But every duckie’s favourite getaway in Europe, Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland, have reopened their doors.

You’ll know what Hastings are all about by now Belfast Chilled and their signature look of a rubber duck in your bathroom.

They’ve had Rory Quackilroy, Duck of Thrones… you get the idea.

So they were rightly interested when this little fella came on the market.

Just a thought you could market your own new duckie, Julie…. Quacks Armstrong! See https://hotrading.shop/products/helmet-duck-bicycle-horn-light and https://www.hastingshotels.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8pP5iqeQ6gIVk4eyCh3oRAlPEAAYASAAEgIydPD_BwE.

And also see www.discovernorthernireland.com

And meanwhile in the south

Lobbying for The Conrad

All our favourite hotels in Ireland are reopening.

We have already flagged up our favourite in our old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow, Powerscourt https://powerscourt.com and Flowerscourt.

And I now want to promote the splendours of Conrad Dublin, a hotel I’ve enjoyed on a function level but yet to laid down by head there.

Apart, of course, from when my head would hit the table through too much vino.

Among the goodies on offer in what they are packaging as Dream Away are the Picnic Package, the Literary Tour and Dublin City by Horsedrawn Carriage.

And seeing you’ve been locked away at home for months then why not treat the whole family to a night in the Conrad Family Room.

The interconnecting family room is €350 for the night for two adults and two children. See www.conraddublin.com.

To the lighthouse

Ciara O’Leary is all smiles at the lighthouse

So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were struck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sky – Virginia Woolf

Lighthouses can be by contrast snug or solaces from people.

And Hook Lighthouse in Co. Wexford in the Republic of Ireland on June 29 is reopening its doors with the latter in mind.

Hook Lighthouse, the Lightkeepers Cafe and the outdoor dining option, the Seahorse, will all open seven days per week.

With last access to the grounds at 4pm and dining closes at 5pm.

Pre-book a free pass online at www.hookheritage.ie or take a guided tour by phoning (051) 397 055.

Also see www.failteireland.com and www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Countries, Food & Wine, Ireland

Hungry and Thursday – The Irish pub worth every €9 a pint

The worst thing is I didn’t even balk when I read of the €9 Irish pint… I know Temple Bar well Raising the Bar.

This though is the fall-out from the Irish Government plan to get their greatest asset, their pubs, reopened.

Punters will be allowed back in but will only get their favourite pint of plain (that’s Guinness to you and me) if they sit down for a meal.

The Irish drinker

Yes, it’s not the Irish pub experience you might have heard of, the heaving mass of humanity packed in like sardines.

DSCN0807
Grannie’s Little Girl

But, in truth, Irish pubs have adapted more than any other country across my five decades.

And the Irish have often been leading while others have merely followed.

Remember it was the Irish who were the first country in the world to ban smoking in pubs.

And they said that wouldn’t work!

Mother’s pride

Irish pubs may be different from the one my Mum was brought up in with her Daddy, Masssey (or Mammy) and five sisters and four brothers in Co. Donegal.

I’m keeping my eye on you

No Sky TV, no jukebox… instead a haze of smoke, a sing-song and a roaring fire.

And a counter where you could buy every grocery or hardware item you might need in an Irish hamlet (or downland).

The roaring fire is still there at my mum’s hotel/bar, the Ramblers Inn in Brockagh, and welcome from Con who doffs his hat to my Mum’s family with a noticeboard of pictures from her childhood.

And puts out a giant teapot, doorstep sandwiches and home-made brack cake.

And some fuel for the fire

The last time we visited was on the eve of Arthur’s Day, a national branded exercise which ran from 2009-2013

And drew thousands to pubs around the country with live entertainment.

It was quiet the day we dropped in on my Mum’s old pub with the only other customer propped up on a barstool, Guinness in hand.

images-1
Boys and the blackstuff

I asked him what he’d be doing for Arthur’s Day when Con piped in… ‘Same as every other day, eh?’

Irish Country pubs is what people come here for.

It doesn’t have to be so different post-Covid.

Just order your pint, loaf of bread, cheese, milk, needle and thread, peat briquettes and kindling.

See https://www.govisitdonegal.com, www.failteireland.ie and www.tourismireland.com.

And where is your favourite Country pub. Tell me and we’ll share the love.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland

I wish I was back in Ireland

Where they are coming out of lockdown after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told his people when they could meet again.

While the only faces I see outside of my family back here in Scotland are our new guinea pigs Finlay and Fiachra.

Let me at the lettuce

May 18 is the first stage of a five-point road map.

With the phrase which will excite our garrulous Irish friends the most being ‘outdoor meetings between people from different households’

It sounds less of a reward than is first heralded, with myself and my new North Berwick neighbours having had a street party last week.

Jim tomorrow: With Travel pal Jim Gallagher and my Laurie

Don’t call the police, it was just the four of us from either side of the pavement.

If the Irish can hold their breaths (and they’ve been doing well, thus far, even cancelling their St Paddy’s Day parade) then that first hooley will be something.

It’s likely though to be phase five on August 10 before the real craic can start with the key phrase ‘larger social gatherings will be allowed.’

My local boozer: The Beach House, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

Other key highlights include:

*Opening of public libraries (June 8)

*Small retail offices will be open with social distancing observed (June 8).

*Small social gatherings will be permitted (June 29).

*If you like your museums then you’ll be at the front door of the newly reopened museums and galleries early… and the churches too (July 20).

And with the Son and Heir at our favourite Dublin bar Mary’s

*Bad news though for the kids of Ireland schools will reopen on August 10. Those who can be dragged away from the hooley.

Just to get you in the mood here’s what Dublin https://www.visitdublin.com, one of Europe’s great cities, has to offer.

We’ll meet again: No, not us, The Temple Bar

And here’s where to stay in Dublin and its hinterland, Co. Wicklow www.visitwicklow.ie.

The InterContinental in Dublin 4, Rugby central, it’s the InterCon… what a Ledge! and Flowerscourt, Powerscourt in the Garden County.

While beyond the Pale there is much to offer too… Monaghan’s country roads.

Now to catch a flight back… www.tourismireland.com and https://www.failteireland.ie.