Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Half Birthday to me!

Hello again,

I just realized that today is my half birthday.  Six months from today I will be turning 50.  I can't believe it, but it's true.  How did that happen?  Where did the time go?  I am so glad that I am celebrating life and honoring my Mom by doing what she loved as well. Traveling, enjoying good food, and most importantly - always trying to make the best of things.

The weather has been against us most of this trip but today is sunny and bright.  It is warm and comfortable - probably in the 50's. I am off to spend the rest of the morning shopping and walking around town. This afternoon we are headed for Blarney!

I am about week behind (still) in my posts but I will persevere!

I hope wherever you are, you are having a wonderful day.

Now that I have had my half birthday in Ireland, I am open to ideas to celebrate my 50th birthday in style back in the States with my friends.  Comment away!

Post Van the Man and the next day....

We got back to Ennislare House after the Van Morrison show without incident.  I even managed not to fall in the slush or get my feet soaked in the puddles.

We got up on Monday, had breakfast and planned our day with Ann's help.  She offered to drive us up the hill and suggested we take the train into Belfast from there.  She recommended that we take the bus tour of the city.  So that is exactly what we did.  Like New York, the tour bus was a double decker.  Unlike New York, the train was clean, beautiful, on a schedule, and on time.  It was a other cold and wet day so the bus had plastic up where the 'open' part would normally be. It was impossible to take photos but I took some anyway through the too thick plastic and the rain drops.

The tour guide on the bus excursion presented a balanced view of  the issues that plagued Belfast.  He did not 'lean' in either direction.  Mostly he described all the steps that are being taken to create a lasting peace. One of the solutions to getting everyone on the same team was to a tally create a team - a hockey team. The plan was to have players from all over forge ahead as a united front with fans  routing them on. It was a good idea in theory but it seems that 80% of the team is Canadian and 10% is American. Hopefully that last 10% are creating the bond that was the original intent.

At the end of the bus tour we went into The Crown Bar and shared a 'Stew and Stout' before getting on the train back to Ennislare House.  We spent some time enjoying the house and eventually went back up the hill and back to Ava for dinner.  We really are creatures of habit.  Actually, the food was really good and we just wanted more!  We went back up the hill, hung out in the common room for awhile and called it a night.

Northern Ireland is beautiful.  The signpost when we crossed into Northern Ireland had the Northern part crossed out in black magic marker, which I found interesting. 

The Irish do have a way with words.  All the hostilities and fighting and bombings and killings are referred to as 'The Troubles'.   World War II is referred to as 'The Emergency'. You have to love their gift for turning a phrase.

We didn't spend as much time as I would have liked in the North, but I do hope to come back again. I would also like to learn a bit more of the history so I am better informed when I return.

P.S. Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors and/or auto-correct. I usually preview my posts and read through them but I am having Internet issues so it is posting as is.

I hope you are having a great day! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Van Morrison Set List

Hello again!

Trying to play catch up and failing miserably.

Here is the set list from the Van Morrison show.  It was a wonderful evening and I am so glad we decided to be crazy and go to this show.  I am happy to know that it was a benefit and that the exorbitant price we paid for tickets were for a good cause.  LOL

Enjoy the music.....I know we did!

Celtic Swing
Only a Dream
Beauty of Days Gone By
Going Down to Monte Carlo
End of the Rainbow
Have I Told You Lately
Can't Stop Loving You
Unchained Melody
Philosopher's Stone
Pagan Heart
Dead or Alive
Drumshambo Hustle
Jackie Wilson Said
Bright Side of the Road
Brown Eyed Girl
Help Me


Dinner at Van Morrison

Here is the four course dinner menu from the evening at Culloden Estate and Spa.

A Trio of Irish Seafood
     Organic Glenarm Salmon
     Spiced Crab
     Beech-smoked Mackerel Pâté
with Marie Rose Dressing

Cream of Leek and Potato Soup

Daube of Northern Irish Dexter Beef
from Jason Hamilton of Carnbrooke,
Dorm area, County Down

Slow cooked in a Red Wine and Thyme Jus,
Scallion Mash, Roast Honey Carrots
and Cauliflower Mornay

Steamed Chocolate Pudding
with Chocolate Sauce and
Glastry Farm Chocolate Heaven Cream

Bewley's Resort Blend Coffee and
Thompsons's Family Finest Teas

Petits Fours

I hope you all enjoyed dinner!

My next post will be the set list.