Wanted to take some time to review items from my recent trip across the pond. Some of my post got cut short by the lack of wi-fi and somedays I just forgot to tell you some of my keen observations! In no specific order here are some ( I think) interesting items of note….
10) There is scalding hot water in all bathrooms and kitchens…all of the rental houses and hotel rooms we had were equipped with stellar hot water plumbing. But more important is that in public restrooms in hotels, restaurants, even gas station cafes, bathrooms had scalding hot water at all times. You know it’s scalding because there are not many mix valves/faucets on bathroom sinks! There’s a hot water faucet and a cold water faucet, and you have to stopper the sink to get the right mix. I’ll take hot water at my disposal over those over metered, barely functioning single mix faucets in our public restrooms, where there is barely water pressure for the sake of savings….
9) Everyone wears a scarf….shouldn’t have been a surprise. Very European country and in Dublin and the other big cities like Galway, Cork, Limerick, people dress like they do in London, Paris etc. The Italian, Spanish and other warm weather based tourists wore scarves like their lives depended on it. Also puffy jackets, fleece vests, and knit caps! I was hanging out in cotton chinos, a camisole and thin cotton sweater, ballet flats and occasionally (like during a downpour) my raincoat. It’s August….
8) Rose wine is alive and well… in large restaurants, hotel bars, off – license, and pubs all over the country. Proximity to wine producing regions of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal allow it to be plentiful, delicious and reasonably priced. When in doubt…drink pink.
7) Mother’s Milk….really, does anything more need to be said?
6) Tea …. oh, you can get coffee, but why? There are coffee houses just like the states, but in every store, pub, restaurant you can be served a cup of hot tea that is properly made, served in a pot, with more than a cup of content. It’s strong, it’s delicious and it is always served with the same casualness as we order up grandes, lattes, half cafs, and flat whites in this country.
5) Something’s burning… once out of the city of Dublin, you can smell peat fires all the time. The turf is cut and stacked by the peat bogs, dried and used for fuel all over the country. It’s used in homes, but also in pubs, restaurants, etc. Also noticeable is the lack of concern around open flame candles in public places like pubs. Just not the same level of litigious concern as the USA
4) Flowers everywhere…. while traveling you won’t see the manicured lawns and planned flower gardens you see in the US. But you will see these three shrubs and perennials that are everywhere! They are really ubiquitous, and I drove out of my way more than once to take a picture of a hydrangea…I’m not well….
3) It’s all about the bread… to be specific, the brown bread or wheaten bread. As ubiquitous as Guinness and served with every breakfast and every bowl of soup and with every plate of smoked salmon. I am commencing baking trials to try and replicate, but fear I will never be able to…I think it’s in the water…at least I know I can buy the Kerry Gold butter in the states.
2) Heart attack on a plate… aka Irish breakfast. But it’s SO good. You will never have fresher breakfast sausage than in Ireland, and even commercial eggs taste fresher than ours do. You also get broiled tomahto, baked beans ( sometimes), and Irish bacon, black and white puddings, and sometimes you get mushrooms (mostly in the West). Lashings of hot tea, brown bread, scones and butter and you can head right back to bed….
P.S. my new favorite word is “googeen” the Irish slang for egg. How did I get to be this age and never hear that word? Glad I did now!
1) You say potato….they say have more! Potatoes are served for dinner with every plate, whether you ask for them or not and you get 3 KINDS! Always boiled, always french fries, and a potato puff like item. All delicious. All gone…