Only In Ireland

Ireland is an incredible corner of the globe, a region that I don’t think you’d really understand unless you’ve been here and experienced it first-hand. Better still, live here for awhile like I’m doing. Get to know the people and the place. Because, once you do, you’ll learn that surprises await around every green (and greener) corner. You see, there are some things that are just so…Ireland. Things that constantly make me realize “we’re not in Kansas any more”. Things that would only happen in one place: only in Ireland.

For example:

Only in Ireland…can you be speeding down the highway and have to swerve out of your lane to avoid a tractor puttering along in the fast lane.


Only in Ireland…can you be a a rowdy pub in the wee hours of the morning and still order tea and scones.

Only in Ireland…can you live within the city limits (of the second largest city in the country, mind you) and have cows roaming the pastures behind your house.


Only in Ireland…can you tell a friend that you’d like to stay in a castle some time (referring to the numerous castles that have been converted to hotels) and have her reply, “You should just go to my cousin’s house. He has a castle in his back yard.”


Only in Ireland…can you bring your Border Collie to a dog park and not be able to spot her due to the swarms of other Border Collies running around.

Only in Ireland…is traffic regularly halted on main thoroughfares for horses or livestock in the road.


Only in Ireland…can you be outside basking in the sun and, two minutes later, have to run for cover because a storm has moved in and you are being pelted with hail stones…and, two minutes later, be back outside basking in the sun again.


Only in Ireland…can you call the name “Patrick” in a crowded room and have nearly every male in the room come to see what you need.

Only in Ireland…can you be dining in a restaurant and have a mama pig and her six little piglets accidentally wander in from a farm.

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Only in Ireland…is every dish served with potatoes. Pizza delivery? Comes with a side of french fries. Thai food? Comes with mashed potatoes. Baked potato? Comes with a side of french fries and mashed potatoes.

Only in Ireland…will you find cars randomly parked in the middle of the road or the sidewalk (or both simultaneously). Why? Because it’s convenient. For them, at least.


Only in Ireland…do they say “Taim in na grá leat” instead of “I love you”. Translation: “You will forever be in my heart”.

And, only in Ireland is that phrase so true. For all of your quirkiness and your rural-ness and your untamed beauty, Ireland, you will always and forever be in my heart.

Farm Field Trip





I’m really on a kick this week, folks–and a farming kick, nonetheless. Perhaps it’s because you can’t drive more than 2 miles (er..kilometers) here without passing through a sheep paddock or a cow pasture. In fact, 1 out of every 7 jobs in Ireland is involved in agriculture and food. I love it. Yesterday I took the boys to our local farmer’s market (read more about our escapades here) and we had so much fun that I decided to take a little field trip out to a REAL farm today (mommy gold star: earned). It wasn’t difficult to find a farm to visit (like I said, lots of farms here) so I chose one just outside of Cork city called The Farm at Grenagh. It’s an open farm with real animals and tractors and crops…and lots of fun things for the kidlets, too.

When we got to the farm David was in a mood, so I sat him on a bench to brood while Jacob and I checked out the riding tractors. I even managed to snap a quick photo of him before he tumbled right off the slick little seat (don’t worry, Gramma Doreen, I caught him before he hit the ground).


Seeing that the farm was actually a fun place (duh) David decided to join in our activities. The next place we headed was the sandbox. We had fun building sand castles (and, for Jacob, eating a fair amount of said sand castles).


After getting our fill of sand (literally) we went into the animal barn to meet some furry friends. This goat was very friendly. A little too friendly for my comfort. Jacob kept sticking his foot up near the fence and the goat would lick his shoe. Knowing goats tendencies to eat assorted non-food objects (like, for instance, leather baby booties) I decided it was probably best for all involved if we parted ways.


Just outside of the animal barn there were several pastures with cows, sheep, horses and donkeys. My children love donkeys. Both of them. Kinda strange, but you’ve gotta love something. As soon as we rounded the corner to where the donkeys were, both boys started heeing and hawing. The donkeys must have liked it because they sauntered over to the fence to say hello. The boys could have stayed at that fence all day stroking those soft little donkey noses but, alas, there was more farm to be seen.


Next on our agenda was a lesson in cow milking. They had cow “statues” (not quite sure what to call a large metal cow with udders full of water) and the kids got to learn how cows are milked and put real milk suckers (again, not sure what to call them) on the cows to “milk” them.


After our lesson in cow milking, it was time for a tractor-pull train ride. Jacob and I even managed to squeeze into one of the little barrels so we could tour the farm with the other kids.


Then we went into the farms museum that was full of old-timey memorabilia. David enjoyed working as the telephone switchboard operator (after I told him that they were telephones, that is. Poor thing has only ever seen iPhones, so he really didn’t have a clue how to work them).


We ended the day with a visit to the ball pit. There are many things I love about Ireland, and right at the top of the list is the fact that there are ball pits everywhere: at shopping malls, at playgrounds, at farms. There is almost nothing else in this world that brings my boys so much joy as a romp in a ball pit. Thank you, Ireland, for providing me hours of whine-free entertainment.


And then it was time to go home. Singing “Old McDonald” the whole way.