Irish Beer Retrospective 

If you're new to my blog you might've missed some of my greatest moments in Ireland. Studly Doright and I embarked on an eight day trip to the Emerald Isle with a group of golfing friends, and I became enamored of the beer. Yes, while Studly was sinking putts, I was downing pints.

I kicked off the beer tour quite by accident. We'd landed in Shannon around 8 a.m. their time. After going through customs and collecting our luggage we met up with members of our group and met our driver, Paul. We had a bit of a drive to our hotel in Killarney, but still arrived before our hotel had rooms ready. 

As Paul drove us through his home town of Killarney he pointed out several pubs where we might wile away the hours before checking into the hotel. One pub was very near the Malton Hotel, so several of us left our luggage with the concierge and walked a couple of blocks in search of a pint. 

Of course I had to have a Guinness and when the barkeep offered to take my picture I proudly held up my glass for posterity's sake. Some women are born to greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them, and then there's me.

On day two of our trip I asked about local brews, and as it happened the pub we stopped at after touring Muckross House had a local pilsner from Killarney Brewing Company. One of the ladies I was with suggested that we take a photo of me and this lovely beer, and someone (maybe me) suggested I go for a different beer a day. I eagerly accepted the challenge.

My day three beer was a Murphy's, and I have developed a genuine affection for this beer. It's got a sweetness to it that Guinness doesn't have, and while it isn't carried in any of my local grocery stores like Guinness is, I have found it at World Market in Tallahassee. I cheered when I came across it, startling a rather conservative looking gentleman in the world beers section!

Day four's featured beer was a Smithwick's (pronounced "Smittick's," which confused me for a minute or two). Smithwick's is another thoroughly enjoyable ale. I believe it's a match for Guinness, with Murphy's being my favorite of the dark beers. I have yet to locate Smithwick's in the states. Perhaps another trip to Ireland is in order?

On our last day in Killarney, Studly Doright and I had dinner at the pub in our hotel, and I sampled a Crean's lager, brewed in Dingle. I enjoyed my Crean's. It had a clean, crisp taste and paired well with my order of fish and chips.  


A Black and Tan combo was in order for my sixth day. That's a half Guinness and half Smithwick's for all you novices (that was me ten minutes before I ordered one). The Black and Tan combo is in my Guinness glass, while a Smithwick's drinker let me borrow his glass for demonstration purposes. Superb mixing of flavors in this drink, but unless I can get my hands on Smithwick's I will have to wait to enjoy it again. 


On the seventh day I did not rest. Nope, instead I had a White Gypsy beer, brewed in Tipperary. It was pleasant. I liked it even more when I learned that the company uses only malt and hops grown near Tipperary, and their logo might be my favorite. I felt as dainty as a 5'8" tall, 164 lb., pint swilling woman could possibly feel.


Day eight brought the only beer I wasn't crazy about, or maybe I was just tired of beer. Naw, that can't be it. This Hop House 13 Lager just missed the mark. It wasn't awful, just left me wishing I'd had a Murphy's!


Finally, I made it to the last day of our trip, finishing with an O'Hara's IPA. We'd stopped for lunch near the Burren's, that wild, forlorn area dotted with limestone outcroppings and ancient relics. It seemed fitting to hoist a pint in tribute to our adventure. And because I wanted one.


So what's next? I need to find another niche to explore. Scotch in Scotland? Wine in France? Rum in Barbados? Tequila in… nope. Someone else has to taste test tequila. Of course until I replenish the funds in my bank account I'll most likely be reduced to sampling the burgers in Tallahassee.

Peace, and drink responsibly, people!

Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle 

“The Dingle Dolphin — or Fungie, the name given to him by the fishermen — is a fully grown, possibly middle aged, male bottlenose, Tursiops Truncatus. He weighs in at around one-quarter ton (500 lbs.) and measures in the region of four metres (13 feet).”

We didn’t see Fungie, but we posed for pictures on a statue of the dolphin whilst visiting the town of Dingle, County Kerry. That surely counts for something!

Visit https://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/home/fungie-the-dingle-dolphin.html for additional information on Fungie. Better yet, visit the Dingle Peninsula!

An Uncommon Memorial

When we toured the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry, Ireland, our bus driver pointed out a lovely church and told us it was the only Catholic Church in all of Ireland to bear the name of a person who was neither Saint, nor deity. 


This church in Cahersiveen, was named with special papal permission, after the statesman Daniel O’Connell, a lay person, who worked for Catholic emancipation in Ireland in the 17th and 18th century.


According to Wikipedia, “Daniel O’Connell (Irish: Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), often referred to as The Liberator[1] or The Emancipator,[2] was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century. He campaigned for Catholic emancipation—including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, denied for over 100 years—and repeal of the Act of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland.”

Unfortunately, we only were able to drive by the church without going inside. More and more I’m realizing how much I need to return to Ireland. It’s almost as if I only purchased postcards without savoring the experience. 

Peace, people. 

Snapshot #198

Four years ago when our group of intrepid golfers and their spouses visited Scotland several of us became enamored of a dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding. I remember enjoying it after almost every meal, then promptly forgetting about it once we were back stateside.

To our delight, sticky toffee pudding was served at many restaurants in Ireland, and I quickly renewed my acquaintance with this fabulous food. I thought I’d left it far behind after our vacation, but while shopping at Whole Foods in Tallahassee today, I came across a surprise in the beer aisle.

I’m calling this picture, “I Haven’t Tried This Brew, but Some Flavors Shouldn’t be Found in Ale Form.” If any of you have tried this ale and lived to tell about it, let me know.

Snapshot #197

We encountered some friendly motorcyclists when our coach driver stopped to allow us to take photos on the Dingle Peninsula. These gentlemen were from England. I’ll call this, “Watch for Motorcycles.” I’m sure my motorcycling friends will know what bikes the guys were riding.

Ross Castle, County Kerry, Ireland

No visit to County Kerry would have been complete without a trip to Ross Castle. Had we had more time we might’ve taken a boat tour of the waterways around the castle, but instead we walked the grounds. There’s nothing like a castle to stir one’s imagination. I almost expected a dragon to come roaring across the water to find a perch on the stone crenellations. 

The lovely Marsha!

Notice the slots meant for shooting arrows.


The Gaelic Muse

The Gaelic Muse

This lovely statue in Killarney pays tribute to the poets of County Kerry. I discovered it just a block from the Malton Hotel and asked the muse for a bit of inspiration. I’m a patient lass, but any time now would be good. 

Wouldn’t you love to know why Pierce Ferriter was hanged? Well, I looked him up on Google:

“Piaras Feiritear, better known via the Anglicized name Pierce Ferriter, was an Irish poet who also served as an officer during the War of the Irish Confederacy, 1641 – 1652. Piaras may have been born about the year 1600, the son of Eamon Feiritear, (Edmond Ferriter)a landowner whose lands on the far western part of the Dingle Peninsula had been the Ferriter family’s homestead for about 350 years when Pierce was born.

Much of what is known or surmised regarding Pierce Ferriter the man extends from his surviving poetry. His use of the Irish language, themes, and imagery indicates that he was a man of education, and probably well taught in both English and Irish. By account he was a harpist as well as a poet. The surviving body of work represents some of the finest Irish language poetry of his era.

Less is known of his personal life. Evidence exists that he was married and from this marriage, there is known to have been children: two sons and a daughter, Dominick, Richard, and Helen. We also know that Piaras was friendly with both the nearby family of the Knight of Kerry, who were Geraldines, and the more distant FitzMaurice family – also a Geraldine line. From the Lord of Kerry (FitzMaurice) he was favored with a commission to raise an armed company from his lands and neighborhood on the Dingle Peninsula. Pierce’s arming and leading of the local citizens was to be in support of the English Crown however, rather than going to war with the Kerry Catholics, he aligned himself with the anti-English forces, and brought his men to join in the siege of Tralee in 1641.

During the siege of Tralee Peirce was wounded, and his active involvement in the fighting after the fall of Tralee is uncertain. With the fall of Ross Castle in 1652, the war in Kerry was lost, and other defeats brought the war to an end in the rest of Ireland as well. Pierce Ferriter’s sons Dominick and Richard left Ireland as “Wild Geese” under agreements made by Lord Muskerry. Pierce remained at large for almost a year, and many of the folk tales and legends surrounding his abilities as a warrior emerge from this interval. At last, in 1653, Pierce Ferriter was brought in to Ross Castle under an assurance of safety.

After an unsuccessful parley was Pierce began his journey from Killarney homeward. Somewhere near Castledrum, he was apprehended by men dispatched by the erstwhile negotiator, Colonel Nelson, and brought back as prisoner. Pursuant to a trial of which no record remains, Piaras Ferriter was hanged, presumably for having been a rebel.”

I tried to find a sample of his poetry, but came up empty handed. I’ll keep looking.

Peace, people!