Published: July 20th 2012July 20th 2012
Luckily, Hank recognized Shawn immediately after making our way through customs after disembarking from the ferry. He came to pick us up at the port, car seat for Fea already situated in the car. After Fea said "Hi!", she got tucked into the seat and fell right to sleep. Hank and Shawn caught up on all things Millville-ian on the way to the house - "Do you remember keggers on Buckshootum Road?" "Of course!" -and suddenly we were welcomed with open arms by Niamh, Henry, Enda, and the sweetest dog since the Kook, Sandy, at a cozy house in North Dublin. Fea immediately started tromping about the house in her pink OOSH (translation: shoes), nosing into all of Niamh's art supplies and Henry's Manga books, and getting all of the attention a 17-month old might ever need and/or want. Not really sure what to expect from our Millville-expat/Irish hosts, we were soon settled down to a home-cooked meal of delicious vegetable soup, three kinds of cheese (and informed by Henry that the applewood smoked version was the BEST on his rating system), Irish brown bread and crusty olive bread, butter, and salami...the most perfect welcome to a new country we have
ever been lucky enough to receive. That night, an exhausted Hank took little Bunny up to snuggle to sleep in our delightful room, and I had the pleasure of drinking lots of fun beers (Hoegaarden, some crazy Scottish beer made from kelp, and a gluten-free beer made from corn) and getting to know our truly hilarious and amazing hosts.
The next morning, we loaded Fifi into the stroller Niamh had wrangled for us and headed out onto the streets of North Dublin. The weather is pretty much...just like Eugene. It was a softly warm morning, with a lovely breeze and the smell of flowers in the air. We walked to the National Botanic Gardens, where Shawn is the Head of Security and Greeter Extraordinaire. After a lovely coffee/scone interlude in the tea room, we explored the most beauteous grounds, letting Fifi run WILD and enjoying the gardens, lily pond, rockery, and amazing greenhouses filled with exotic orchids and palms. Seriously, I could have spent a lot more time there in the peaceful surroundings. However, Guiness called...
Shawn recommended that we take a little walk to Kavanaugh's (aka Gravediggers) for a pint and lunch. It is an old pub
down a narrow lane, situated next to Glasnevin Cemetary (hence the Gravediggers). In the public bar, we got our first pints of Guinness and a running commentary on the delights of Ireland and laments at the short length of our visit by the bar's resident locals. Fea shared her CROGGHOR (translation: cracker) with a gregarious older gentleman who seemed captivated by her big blue eyes and wished us a happy happy visit. So, to lunch we headed...
And then...the ATM CRISIS of NORTH DUBLIN occurred, which I am sure will go down alongside the Battle of the Boyne and other such historical events. Fea and I settled into the restaurant side of Kavanaugh's, ordering some soup and SMITTICKS (translation: Smithwick's beer) and milk, waiting for Hank to return from the ATM so we could pay for lunch. However, SELCO had other plans for us. The ATM did not work, so we ordered frugally and went for a stroll through Glasnevin cemetary after lunch to soothe our jangled nerves. Unfortunately for said jangled nerves, the ATMs at both grocery stores on the way home also failed to give up the goods. The vision of a couple more weeks in Europe
on a handful of Euro danced before our eyes. While Hank dealt with the calling and harrassing of the bank, I tried to teach Fifi a few pick-pocketing techniques, hoping to secure a way to earn some cash in the worst case scenario. Hank speaks with someone at the bank, though, and it seems our troubles will be over as soon as they clear the hold put on the account when they saw the charges for pints in London and chicken curry on the Irish Ferry.
That night, Niamh sits us down to a dinner table filled with bacon-wrapped, stuffing-stuffed chicken, salad, carrots, and potatoes in their jackets. Seriously??? Fifi sat in Niamh's lap during dinner, happily stuffing bacon into her mouth and casting sweet loving looks at young Henry. After dinner, we enjoyed a few glasses of wine with our hosts while Henry showed us his dance moves to Girls Aloud's "Sounds of the Underground" and Enda strummed along on the guitar. Is it possible to be TOO at home on vacation in a different country with hosts you have never met before? Nope.
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