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The Land Of Mysticism Myths & Legends

The Land Of Mysticism Myths & Legends

Ireland, books of tales compels me to visit this ancient land and home of tasty Guinness, limericks and Slangs! Yes, slangs, “Feck off!” the perfect way to curse without cursing, replace the e with a u and you’ll have its technical meaning, and when it is absolutely a must to take the Lord’s name in vain, it is Jesus, Mary and Joseph because they don’t do anything half way, so they take Jesus’ whole family in vain.

After routed thru Dublin customs, I seated comfortably in a motor coach traveling due west to my first overnight stay at the Kilronan Castle in County Roscommon, but not before making a short stop downtown Dublin to walk the ground and get a glimpse of Ireland’s tallest church; St Patrick’s Cathedral. As I strolled thru the garden in the back of this majestic sanctuary, I contemplated perhaps a return trip; with an extended stay of course to help celebrate Ireland’s biggest, widely celebrated of all the Celtic holidays, St Patrick’s Day. Back on the motor coach, as we weaved in and out of Dublin traffic, I hear Feck off! from a stressed passenger sharing this narrow road with us, I felt a little warmth; was I wrong?

Outside of Dublin, traffic is almost non-existent, with its undeveloped beauty, sheeps lounging on rolling green fields made this a heavenly perfect long-ride road trip, dreaming of my first sleep in a castle in Ireland.

My first taste of Ireland was tea. Tea is life in Ireland, a sign of welcome, and it’s delicious! Offering a cup of tea to a visitor is the backbone of Irish hospitality. Tea leaves from India, blend with Ceylon from Sri Lanka lends the perfect taste knowns to the world as Irish Breakfast tea.

Speaking of flavor, giant flavor, each hiking step took me closer to The Giant Causeway, the view took my reath away, this is the 4th greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. Columns of basalt formed by volcanic activity around 50 to 60 million years ago. Legend has it an Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill was challenged to fight by a Scottish giant Benandonner, Fionn accepted the challenge and build the causway across the North Channel so the two could meet. When he realizes how big Benandonner was, his wife disguises him as a baby and tucked him in a cradle, when Benandonner saw how big the baby was, he turned and ran, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn can’t chase after him. Today, across the sea, part of the same ancient lava flow is found inside of Fingal’s Cave; a sea cave on an uninhabited island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Not many places in the world can offer a majestic or more dramatic cliffs such as The Cliffs of Mohor, constantly lashes with sea water; the Cliffs of Insanity as I reference the 1987 movie The Princess Bride. These limestone cliffs stretches five miles long and about 702 feet above sea level, when not shrouded by rain or cloudy fog, from top of the cliffs, you can have a breath-taking view of Galway Bay, Dingle Peninsula and the Basket Islands in Kerry.

One of my last meals in Ireland was an unforgettable gastronomic stopover evening at the Bunratty Castle; a once splendid former home of the noble medieval lords, and today, I was one of the royal guests. Upon entering the castle, I started climbing the narrow, very narrow spiral stoned staircase (about 45-50 steps) to the top of a tower, there I was greeted by the Earl’s Butler with a cup of delicious honey mead, listen to period music played by staff dressed in period clothing, then descending this narrow challenging spiral staircase to a lower level for the banquet hall, where we enjoyed a medieval-style banquet, dined without a modern utensil. On the menu were curried parsnip soup, pork ribs glazed with honey & Whiskey sauce, chicken, fresh vegetables, baby roasted potatoes just to name a few.

Irish cuisine is a mix of cultures developed from centuries of political and social changes, influenced by the English, the dishes are formed with animals and crops grown in its farms coupled with an abundance of fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. Folk dishes such as Irish stew, purists would maintain only mutton chops, potatoes, onions and water are used. Today it is prepared by culinary chefs around the world. The French has Boeuf Bourguignon – beef stew deglazing with red wine, Persia has beef stew with quince, deglazing with water. Here, keeping with tradition, it is prepared with beef, indigenous root vegetables, deglazed with Guinness, simmered to delicious tenderness, served with a side of soda bread.

This ends my visit to a country fills with mysticism, myths, and legends, and tasty Guinness. I hope sharing my experience compels you to visit Ireland. ’til next time, I leave you with this…

A man while drinking Light Bud

Crashed his car with a sickening thug

The car that he hit, had a warlock in it

Now he lives as a frog in the mud

Drink Guinness, Cheers!

Author: Private Chef Mimi Houston

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