Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

To market, to market, to buy a fat...............Lobster??

One may wonder what on earth is going on when they see a little 3 year old man reach into a lobster tank at a fish market and choose his own lobster. We got a few strange looks earlier today when Jack decided that he was going to choose his dinner, and lo and behold, he dipped his paw right into the tank to grab a nice one. The fishmongers were a little frantic but let him show one of the other children that this was a Mamma lobster as she had a belly full of eggs. And to think that exactly this time last year I was chasing him around the kitchen at Rondo's with a live lobster because he was terrified of them :-)
A little bit of history for our readers..............the photo above is of the general market area. This is the market we go to on Saturday mornings and it is open rain or shine all year round. The church in the background is called St. Nicholas Collegiate Church is one of the oldest parish churches in Ireland. It has been a place of worship since the 14th Century
In common with many medieval ports, Galway dedicated its church to the patron saint of sailors. According to recent research, Christopher Columbus visited St. Nicholas' in 1477.
Today, St. Nicholas' is still at the heart of the city's activities.

As it is Saturday I will now bore you with what is on the menu tonight. Ron and I are stuck in a rut and have been eating the same thing for 3 weeks in a row (so like me, so UNLIKE him). First, we start off with a belly full of fresh oysters. Then followed by an enormous bowlful of clams & mussels drowned in his lovely garlic and tomato sauce. A loaf of very crusty bread to shlug up the sauce with and all washed down with an ice cold glass of buttermilk...............ha ha, OK sorry with our new favourite summer drink............Jane, if you are reading this, I expect some tears...........................Bulmers on ice. Mmmmmmmm. For reservations at this fine establishment, please feel free to book your ticket!

That is all the WiseWords for today,


Thursday, August 28, 2008

It is official, Rory is growing up!

It had to happen sooner or later. Ms. Rory Belle lost her first tooth this week. Although it was rather small, she still managed to get the tooth fairy to leave her 1 euro. She is elated with this event and has not stopped grinning from ear to ear. As you can see from the photo below - the tooth was pretty minute, but Granny was up to date on the Irish tooth fairy and sure enough as soon as we registered on this website Rory received a letter from her 'Irish' Tooth Fairy, requesting she make a deal with her and leave the tooth out in exchange for the money. Rory was only too happy to oblige and has not decided yet how to spend her windfall!
That's all the wise words for today,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Very Cool 'Coole Park'

I woke up early this morning and surprise surprise, it was raining outside. I crept downstairs hoping not to wake any of the little ones and got the rare opportunity to browse through the photos we snapped yesterday on our excursion to Coole Park. This, is one of the most beautiful parks/nature reserves I have ever been to. It is less than 30 minutes from home (less if Granny is driving) and I am sure you will see it referenced many times from now on as it is a place of refuge and inspiration for all. Check out the website when you have time.
Needless to say, Granny and the children really enjoyed exploring together.
This is called the Autograph tree. It is home to autographs from writers such as William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge to name a few.
This park had just about one million spots that acted as a perfect backdrop for taking photos of ones children. I know you are probably getting tired of all the photos, but this is the phase I am in right now - so suffer it along with me...............................

I stole this photo from their website to show you just how gorgeous the sunsets really are. As we wrapped up the day here at Coole Park, we stopped for a spot of tea and dessert in their little cafe. Mum opted for the rhubarb tart and I choose the blackberry and rhubarb crumble. Seriously, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. If you all remember, I am not that big on desserts, and to be honest could not tell you the last time I ordered one in a restaurant. I even passed up a slice of the Chef's bread pudding. HOWEVER, when I walked into this little cafe, the smell of baked goods was enough to whet any ones appetite. I scoured the display case to see what was causing this sumptuous stench and spied a gorgeous piece of this blackberry rhubarb crumble. The crumble on top was a little darker (even slightly burnt but I like that) than one would normally expect a crumble to be, but I went for it.
I wish I had taken a photo of this to help explain just how delicious it was. It was sweetened just the right amount and I assume the fruit was the showstopper because the flavor was so intense. It just melted in my mouth helped along with the very generous dollop of whipped cream they gave me. The treadmill is still in storage somewhere - I feel that it will be dug out as soon as we settle into our new home - otherwise we will not be able to fit in the door!

That is all the tasty WiseWords for today,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stinging Nettles

These nettles grow everywhere in Ireland like weeds. I took the children out into the fields yesterday and we harvested a lot of baby nettles, then cooked them with some lovely salted pork. Afterwards we mixed them into a batch of mashed potatoes (from Granny's vegetable plot) and topped it all of with country butter and onions). Chef was very happy with the outcome and the children are still shocked that they don't sting after they have been cooked!

I just looked back over the blog site and feel like I have enough information and photos up there to keep y'all busy for a few days. I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an update on how we are doing. As you can see from all the photos on the blog, we are certainly having some fun times here in Ireland despite the rain and chilly summer weather.

Our time in Switzerland taught us so much about who we are, who we were, and most importantly who we want to be. We are at a crossroads in our lives, wondering which career path to take in order to provide a stable income and decent quality of life with the children.
In just one week Ms. Rory Belle will don her first school uniform and head out those doors to school. We are so lucky to have a lovely home here with Catherine, and will move into our own place within the next few months sometime.

Most of you know us so well, because of the number of hours you spent sitting in our 'home' eating dinner with us, so I am sure you understand that what is missing from our lives is 'you' our friends. We made the choice to move closer to my family over a year ago, and although it did not work out as planned, we are so happy that we have been closer to my sisters and brothers children and of course Granny and my siblings.

The journey we are on continues, and I will do my best to share the ups and downs of our lives in the hopes that you can send the odd email sharing little snippets of your life and even a few photos too!

That's all the WiseWords I can come up with for now,

Another lady falls for Jack! What a Casanova........

We met one of my old high school friends (Jackie Ffrench) at a local kids playground (indoor) and it was love at 1st sight. Jackie has a 5 year old daughter, Misha who is one month younger than Rory. The girls played away quite happily with Jack for a while, but he let everyone know who his new girlfriend was. As we parted company that afternoon, he sobbed in the back seat of the car saying 'why can her not keep me'...........I am pretty sure the feelings were mutual.
Next on our list was a walk by the beach. The kids and Ron were almost blown away but that did not stop us from ploughing on along the seaside.

It was nice, because the kids could see what 'low tide' really means. I am sure that as soon as the tide raced back in these boats were just fine??

After all the mussels we have eaten (and believe me that is a lot) it is so very very nice to be able to throw your shoes on a rock and go pick your own. Truly truly yummy and quite pretty to look at too.
Yes, I am in a photo. There are only a few of me but every so often Ron just insists I am in a photo with the children so he can prove to them later in life I was part of their upbringing :-)
That is all the WiseWords for today,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lovely, Lovely Ireland with a sprinkling of sunshine!

Ron calls it watery sunshine. There are glorious days with not a cloud in the sky but yet you could get rained on! We have learned to tote along our raincoats everywhere we go just in case we get caught. Right now, it is not a huge problem because it is rather warm (17 degrees Celsius!), but I worry about it when November hits and the western Atlantic coastal breeze whips across the land cutting your face with its sharpness. How much will we like it then................??
Here are a few lovely photos to show you that indeed the sun can shine in Ireland and when it does - Que Bella!

The backdrop is Galway Bay. It really was a gorgeous gorgeous day, warm enough to wander around without a jacket or our wellies.

And then we get jolted right back to reality :-)

That is all the WiseWords for today,


Friday, August 22, 2008

A few funny shots

Wellies! Life is unimaginable without wellies in Ireland. So, after Ron and I spent an afternoon finding the right pair, Jack and Rory put on a little fashion show for us all. I see a future in Wellie Modeling for them both!
How do you know it is summertime in Ireland??? Easy, the gingerbread people are wearing bathing suits! Needless to say my Mum is having a lot of fun loading the kids up with cookies and all things sweet!
Rush hour traffic. This is a bear to deal with, but for some reason the pace is tolerable.
Now, here we have an enormous slug, slithering down the french windows in Mum's dining room. I sit in this room every morning watching the sunrise and drinking my coffee.....................wait, the sun doesn't really appear and there is NO STARBUCKS IN GALWAY, so it is a little different, but imagine my surprise this morning when I saw this giant slug on the window................the children squealed like little piglets when they saw it and Jack could not wait to get outside and try to feed it to the cats!

That's all the WiseWords for today,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where the heck are we anyway?

A decent map of Galway city where I grew up. Mum (Catherine) lives in Claregalway (where we are now) and I thought this map would help give you a better idea of the towns I am referring to when we talk about where we source the fish etc. Corundulla (above Claregalway) is where the Green Earth Organic Farm is, Oranmore (lots of fish comes from here) is almost directly south of Claregalway on the ocean. All in all, we are 7 miles from the City and beach. It still rains every day and is rather cold for August, but for some reason, it doesn't bother us.
Of course, we also have our good friend Arthur to help us through those cold nights. The Chef has done several taste tests since he has arrived only to come to the obvious conclusion that yes, Guinness does taste better in Ireland'. Imagine that!
That's all the WiseWords for today,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pay homage to Irish Food.............and our ever increasing waistlines!

Only in Ireland can you wake up to a yogurt that has champagne and cream for breakfast. I honestly do believe that if I were on death row and had to choose my last meal, this creamy DELICIOUS yogurt would end up on my plate. Considering I am not on death row, I could think of several other ways to enjoy this tasty treat!After our first trip to the open air market last week, Ron got a lovely piece of freshly caught Galway Salmon. I had picked up some arugula (they call it rocket here) and cherry tomatoes at the organic farm, and a few balsamic soaked baby onions. I know your mouths are watering, but to top if off, Chef made the Rondo's house dressing (using Coleman's mustard instead of Dijon) and we were both in food utopia. We scoured around Granny cupboards to see if there was a splash of wine to wash this gourmet sensation down with and lo and behold we found a Banrock Station Chardonnay (remember we had the Riesling on the menu at Rondo's). OK, NOW we had reached a new version of 'food nirvana'..............all I have to ask at this point is 'who will come to visit us first' ??? And, because we are literally withering away to nothing over here on the Emerald Isle, we need sustenance when braving the cold blustery August weather, so the breakfast of choice on a cold wet day is of course the traditional Irish Breakfast. Bacon, Sausage, Eggs, fried tomatoes, Sausage, Beans and a huge basket of toast and brown bread, all washed down with some lovely hot tea!
OK, now Ron and I are not alone in this food frenzy. Jack has discovered Irish Cheesecake is possibly 'the bess bess food I eber hab'.
Oh, it pains me to look at this photo. He is getting so big and developing into such a handsome little man. At the market, we were greeted by the 'catch of the day' which the children begged and pleaded with us for an hour to buy it, cook it and eat it. Ron was hesitant as he is not a big shark steak fan. We opted for the Oranmore Oysters (7.50 euros per dozen) followed by a few pounds of mussels and poullard clams. Stay tuned for an update on how dinner turned out..................sure to be tasty.

That's all the WiseWords for today,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just call me Mr. Ed.............

We spent a lazy (and wet) Sunday afternoon strolling around Green Earth Organic Farm. This is a really neat place and they had so much going on to keep the children entertained. The Donkey's were very partial to the teeny tiny carrots Jack and Rory were feeding them.
Then, on to the face painting counter for both of them. I have to say Rory makes a very cute Lion.

And, of course not to be outdone by his big sister, Jack is the fearless Tiger.
Fun was had by all at this gorgeous farm. There is a huge push here locally to encourage more people to buy and eat local. No trouble convincing us!
That's all the WiseWords for today,

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Kids are a little Obsessed

OK, so it is entirely possible that I started this obsession, but now the graveyard has become a 'favourite' destination for the children. It is really strange, but they enjoy hanging out there. They love to look at everyones headstones and ask several questions. I try to steer them in the direction of the people I know, so I can answer the 'how did they die' questions but in some cases it is not always possible. i.e photo above is a gravestone from 1776? I am sure it was someone important but the text on the stone is illegible.
I am sure you can see from the photos, this is a really lovely resting place for those souls that have passed on. Every time I meander through this old monastery, I cannot help but wonder why they do not have weddings here........................any takers?
Short and sweet on the WiseWords today,

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dear old Dad

Considering it has been almost 9 years since Dad passed away, I saw it only fitting that we stop by to pay him a visit as soon as we arrived. The children unfortunatley never got to meet Dad, so as I am an early bird and they were willing I took them along first thing Saturday morning to visit Dad's grave. This is the photo of the old monastery ruins where he is buried.

I must admit, Mum (Kenneth and Cathyann too) have really done a great job taking care of his gravesite. It is weird, I have not had any desire to visit his grave, living so far away, and now that I am here, I almost want to pop over daily. The nice thing is - now I can!
That's all the WiseWords for now,

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hello Granny!

Well, we packed our bags and headed HOME to the Emerald Isle. We arrived on an overcast rainy day August 8th 2008. I wonder if that is good luck arriving to a superstitious country like Ireland on 8-8-08 ?

I have struggled with how to relaunch the blog and decided it was best to just 'start fresh'.

With that said and in order to get y'all caught up to date I have kind of broken it up into 2 or 3 seperate stories with photos. Some of the kids, some food and a little scenery to make you GREEN with envy! Welcome to our new blog, sit back, relax and enjoy our stories!

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