Thursday, May 20, 2010


I found this post sitting in the "draft box". I think Richard had wanted to edit it ages it ago. So here it is, nearly a year later. Richard is just not a blogger. He loves to come up with the blog titles though! Anyway, golfing & Ireland go hand in hand so I couldn't just not post it. This was from our visit from my parents last July.

Richard finally got to experience golf in Ireland. He and Dad golfed two of the oldest courses in the country, Ballybunnion (both Old Course & Cashel Course) and Lahinch. All three courses are on the West coast, where a nice day of golf is bound to have a minimum of 20 mph winds and only a few showers.

They showed up at these elitist, slightly anti-American, courses completely inconspicuous with their matching burnt orange Texas Longhorn golf bags. Nice one, guys!

Ballybunnion had rough 2-3 feet high and many holes were directly on the coast with beautiful drops to the Atlantic Ocean and quite a few intimidating fairways. They returned from both days of Ballybunnion golf battered and beaten by the winds and rain. And it didn't help Richard that he was pretty ill with a little virus that had been making its course through the office.

With spirits a little low from the rough conditions in Ballybunnion, Lahinch was a welcome sight. The weather was calm all day, with low winds and lots of sunshine. And the rough was a more typical height. Though still a challenging course, I think both Dad & Richard felt the better weather contributed to a much easier day of golf.

After the three-round golf weekend, Richard headed back to Dublin on the train, as my parents and I headed North. By this time I'd caught Richard's evil virus. I was miserable, unable to breath through my nose at all. I don't know how Richard play golf with that illness! We made the loop of Northern Ireland, me hacking and sniffling the entire time, swooped down to pick up Richard in Dublin then headed South for another round.

This time they played Old Head, which isn't actually very old at all, being built in the late 1990's, but was a spectacular course. If you have no interest in golf at all it would be worth visiting the course to see the amazing flowers. There are 6-ft. high hydrangeas that line the drive in. Old Head sits out on the tip of a penisula near the town of Kinsale. It is marked by a black & white striped lighthouse at the very end.

So nearly every hole is cliff-side. The winds were high again, but the rough wasn't nearly so bad as Ballybunnion. It was my favorite course to visit, though I wouldn't ever dare play it. By the way, by now Mom had caught the virus. :(

Richard & I headed back to Dublin and Mom & Dad went to explore the Rings of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. When they returned to Dublin, there was one more round of golf left to play. They played Druids Glen, a resort in County Wicklow, just a 40 minute drive from our house. It was yet another beautiful course, though it wasn't a links course like the others they had played. It was the only parkland course they played and the only inland course, but they did have to hit onto an island green!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Electric Mower...It's hard to Grass

Since we moved to our 2nd place in Dublin and thankfully have a lovely garden with a small lawn, I now have to mow the lawn. It hadn't been an issue until the recent weeks of warm (55-60 degree Fahrenheit) weather. With this new task, I got to experience a totally new European phenomenon...the electric mower. Now, I had just assumed with the small gardens in Ireland that we'd be talking push mower. Yes, old school, and yes, they take a bit of effort. But our lawn here is merely 15' x 20' so we're not talking extreme measures with a push mower. I went to the little shed in the back to examine my tools, only to be confounded by what looked like the lawn mower with a 30-foot red power cord coming from it. This was quite puzzling to me. Maybe it's just me, but I've never heard of an electric mower. Power drill, of course. Leaf blower, sure. Even an electric weed whacker. But this was my first time with the electric lawn mower. And we're not talking electrically-charged battery-operated device, just plug in and go.

So, I plugged it in to my kitchen outlet (nearest to the back door) and of I went. It's about what you would expect. It's a bag less, electric mower. It does the job. The only thing you have to be careful for is to not mow over the cord.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

An Amsterdam Good Time

That's right. Mexican food in Amsterdam! And it was delicious too! I wouldn't have ever considered it a year ago. But living Dublin, you really start to miss Mexican deliciousness.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. I loved the canals. Richard loved the the vertigo-inducing staircases and museums.

Amsterdam also has one of the largest street markets in Europe. I wasn't really that impressed, but they did have some good food. We got the traditional herring and we fond some Vietnamese lumpia. It was almost as delicious as the tiy Filipino version made by Richard's mom. Elsewhere in Amsterdam we had Dutch pankcakes at a yummy little cafe called Pancakes!.

And who can forget Stroopwaffles?!

It wouldn't be a trip to Amsterdam without discussing the bikes, but as cute as all the bikes and bike accessories were, my favorite thing was the giant bike parking garage by the train station.

Don't worry. I haven't forgotten the tulips. They get their own post. Coming up next...tulip extravaganza!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brussels with a Mouthful of Mussels

Brussels has quite an obsession with peeing statues. It all started with Manneken Pis. He later inspired the little girl and dog versions. And you see other inspirations in advertisements and artwork all over the city. We caught Manneken Pis on a new costume day. The city dresses him in costumes most days of the year. He's been dressed in honor of anyone from city street cleaners (pictured below) to Elvis and Santa Claus.

Beautiful Brussels
Brussels has one of the most magnificent squares I've seen in Europe, the Grand Place. St. Nicolas Church was beautiful, but my favorite part were the shops built into the side of the church wall. Each store is only about 8 feet deep.

Mussels in Brussels! Well, I'm allergic, but Richard said they were fanstastic. They certainly looked fanstastic. I indulged on slightly less healthy options like waffles and lots & lots of chocolate. Oh, and how could I forget the beer? There's trappist, abbey, kriek and probably a hundred other types. We did our best to try them all.


There was one item we decided to stay away from: street escargot!!!

I really liked this grocery basket with wheels!