The Layover

Just finally getting around to watching Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover: Dublin, which aired Monday and I somehow managed to get filmed for when I was in Dublin this summer (for background details on filming, see a few posts below this). You can see me for a second back-to at Gig’s, drinking wine across from a man in a blue coat (my friend Georg). It was amazing to see how many places showcased were in Ballsbridge (where I worked) and how I did and visited many of the exact things Bourdain showcased (like the Gravedigger tour, and the actor that we met who was from Cork–shoutout to Aileen, my tour buddy from Cork!). Despite the fact I was working every weekday I was there, I managed to do SO MANY things (which I still intend on writing about eventually). I feel proud for doing most of it alone, and also incredibly grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to do so. When I started this blog in 2009, I had no idea how many opportunities I would have and how many places I would go. I certainly had no expectations as to how I would manage to continue to travel 3 years later, and the  ways in which I would do so. I guess I can officially say I did Dublin right.

xoxox

h.

PS.I’ll publish a screen shot of my millisecond of fame as soon as I can upload it to my computer

I’m terrible. I know.

So I completely abandoned my blog once I came home from Ireland. I went back to work at the law firm  in Baltimore and got so busy and just plain tired. I have so many gorgeous pictures from Ireland and France I got discouraged at the thought of organizing them all and picking which ones to post. But no more. I promise I will finish out the blog and write until I’ve told you about everything. Because honestly, I haven’t even posted HALF of what I got up to in Dublin.

 

Let’s begin with Paris.

The President and I, Part Two

Just chillin with President Higgins and his wife. Casually.

 

Still meeting the President.

 

The reception at Aras was wonderful. Delicious finger food and tiny Guinness glasses and wine abounded. The President gave a nice speech and mingled with everyone. He and his wife were absolutely lovely and very friendly.  My only moment of panic occurred when sometime during the President’s speech (I was standing in the front row of people surrounding him) I realized my very loud alarm would be going off on my phone soon. I shuffled around my giant purse and managed to find it and deactivate it before I embarrassed the entire United States of America. I’m pretty sure that if I had put my hand in my purse like that around Obama I would immediately have been taken down by 5 different bodyguards. Fortunately, there don’t seem to be many assassination plots against the Irish President, so the crisis was averted. The reception was definitely one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.

 

 

ps. be back in the States tomorrow. yay!

pps. I still have like 5 blog entries I need to write. So there will be more, don’t worry.

 

see you soon!

-h

The President and I, Part One

Meeting the President of Ireland tomorrow at an official reception at the Irish White House, the Áras an Uachtaráin. DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M WEARING YET AHHHHHH.

Also, Happy Fourth of July. Today a plane was flying an American flag over Dublin. I like to think our government sends those planes to every country on the Fourth. Wish I could be celebrating with all of you!

Do you want to be on Anthony Bourdain’s new show at 2 in the morning? Yes, yes I do.

And now…….my Anthony Bourdain story. My brief brush with Travel Channel stardom occurred approximately 2 weeks ago, after a fun night out of drinking and singing karaoke. My coworker Georg and I were walking home (we live about 5 minutes from each other) at 2 am when we were approached by a man on the street. Now, the street was pretty much deserted. I saw a white van across the street (never a good sign), so when the man asked us if we wanted to be filmed for a tv show, I was like  no thanks, buddy,  I don’t do those kinds of TV shows. Upon hearing my accent, the man asked if I was American. I said yes and said, “Well you know Anthony Bourdain?” Um, duh. It’s kind of impossible not to know Anthony Bourdain. He is like the most likeable jerk I’ve ever watched eat pig anus on television (not being crude…he actually ate that. http://www.papermag.com/2007/05/anthony_bourdain_eats_warhog_a.php). HELLO. This is the man that singlehandedly tried to take down the diabetic sugar monger that is Paula Deen. He once said he would like to take a big effing (edited for the chillens) can of gasoline and light the Olive Garden on fire. He said he would eat a PERSON if he could. Not only that; when asked if he would eat a human, he responded, “Yes, yes I f*ckin’ would.” He’s a legend.

 

Back to the story.

 

“Yes, I know Anthony Bourdain.” What of it, weirdo in the street? Well apparentlllyyyy….weirdo in the street was actually a part of Bourdain’s production crew. Bourdain had been in Dublin filming for his newest show “The Layover” in which he spends 24-48 hours on a layover in another country. He had already finished his filming and had moved on, but his crew was still filming other restaurants to present as options on the show. I drunkenly happened to be outside one of those options, a late-night diner, at 2 am. Production guy offered me and my friend free Irish breakfasts and all-we-could-drink wine to come sit in the restaurant and be filmed in the background. I feel kind of bad we thought he was a weirdo (but still, he seemed like a weirdo at the time).

Anyway, me and Georg go in, and the place is pretty quiet, but filled with randos eating and drinking. No crazy orgy happening. So we decided to partake. We ended up meeting a DJ from MD (woo!) who lived in Brazil who was DJ-ing at a Dublin music festival that weekend. THAT’s how random the night was. We ate, we drank, and we sat in there just chilling as the cameras rolled. Then, it ended. I walked home and went to bed, a little drunker than I had been when I walked into the dinner. I also ate a piece blood sausage during the meal. Don’t. Ever. My inebriation was my excuse, plus I was all, “Oh I’m so spontaneous, I’m just like Anthony Bourdain, eating blood is great!” It’s not. When I told my Irish coworkers, they were like, “Oh but doesn’t it taste good?” No, people. It tastes like blood. BLECH.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, some people might hate on Anthony Bourdain….but he gave me free breakfast and wine. So he’s cool with me.

Angry Anthony Bourdain

 

Where we filmed.

 

Mmmmm free Irish breakfast! And wine!

Here a sheep, there a sheep, everywhere a sheep sheep.

So, a couple weeks ago I had the sudden realization that in order to do everything I wanted to do while here in Ireland, I had to get a move on. Although I am here for 6 weeks, 5 out of 7 days of the week I am working 9-5. And everything closes before I get off work. So for the past two weekends, I have been going going going every second of the day. I’ve done three day tours, gone shopping (multiple times), sang karaoke, ate out, drank in a variety of bars, gone to see live Irish dancing and music at the Arlington hotel, and somehow managed to secure a spot as a potential extra on Anthony Bourdain’s show The Layover. Phew.

So to avoid writing the longest post of my life, I’ll be breaking everything down into smaller entries. Today we tackle Connemara and Anthony Bourdain.

The first day-tour I took was a solo trip to Connemara in Western Ireland. I can sum the trip up in two words: exhausting and absolutely beautiful (okay, three. not counting the “and”). Alternatively, sheep-y and green. The trip itself was like 14 hours long, 10 of which were spent sitting on a bus. We drove to Galway, switched busses, then spent 2 hours at the gorgeous Kylemore Abbey, a residence turned boarding school for girls turned nunnery.

 

Gorgeous Kylemore Abbey

My head and Kylemore Abbey

The rest of the time was spent making small stops– to take pictures of the scenery, to visit some stuff from the movie Quiet Man (I myself did not see this movie. However, the old people seemed to like this part of the trip), to visit Cong Village, and to feed a random pony.

Scenery!

Famine Walls in the countryside.

Victorian Walled Gardens at Kylemore

Hillary was at the Killary Fjord!

Fairy tree!

Cong Village

Random pony. He enjoyed apples and tried to bite one of the tourists.

We also saw these:

Sheep

Lots and lots of these.

More sheep

Even more sheep

 

We then returned to Galway and took a packed bus (actually another bus because they overbooked the first one) back to Dublin. Although it was a long day, the lush, green scenery alone made up for it. Guess the constant rain has its benefits after all.

 

This is the part where I would have told you about Anthony Bourdain. But it’s my bedtime, I have work tomorrow, and I forgot to download Anthony Bourdain-related pictures, so I will hold off on that until tomorrow. CLIFFHANGER!!!!

In the meantime, I give you this (spoiler: I did not take this photo):

Anthony Bourdain with chopsticks….and a leaf?

 

H.

 

An Ode to Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread

O Irish soda bread– I have tasted bread before, but how have I never tasted you?

I guess I’ve never been to Ireland, but you would think something THIS GOOD would have made its way to the States by now.

After all, we like cornbread. And we definitely like carbs. You are a carb, and you taste a bit like cornbread. So where have you been all my life?

You don’t have to answer that.

I like how you look, all rustic and crusty and dusted with flour, like peasants had been working in the country all day just to make one loaf of you.

But I also like how I can buy you at my local Tesco and I don’t even care that you sat uncovered all day, and little kids probably wiped their hands all over you. I would buy you if you were the last loaf there.

I like how you taste so good I don’t even want to put Nutella on you. And I want to put Nutella on everything. You’re beautiful just the way you are.

All those prepackaged, processed carbohydrates have nothing on you. Wonderbread, please. There’s nothing wonderful or wondrous about it.

You are the real deal, Irish soda bread. And for that, I want another piece.

You’re so ready for your close-up.

busy little bee.

Welp, I survived the ghost tour. The “ghoulish” drink turned out to be somewhat of a girlish drink–a kind of fruity shooter. Go figure. Today I went on a 3.5 hour walking tour of Dublin, complete with a traditional Irish dinner afterwards. The tour was called Sandeman’s New Dublin–I also did Sandeman’s New Berlin and New Prague when I was in those cities–and as always, the tour was completely fascinating. If you ever head to Europe, or even the Middle East, keep your eyes out for these tours. They are completely free, and tips are encouraged but optional at the end.

Tomorrow bright and early (I have to BE there at 7 am) I will be heading to Connemara and Cong in Western Dublin on this tour: http://www.dublintourcompany.com/dtc/tourinfo.jsp?id=2
The scenery is supposed to be beautiful, and so is Kylemore Abbey. yay nature….and buildings? Because I have to be up so early, I’m cutting this post short. A longer post with lots of pretty pictures will be up in the next few days.

In the meantime, while you are feverishly waiting for my next post, you can curse the washing machine that broke and prevented me from a)writing a real post, and b)sleeping. I know I will.

-H