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We flew to Belfast from Scotland, and stayed there for a few days. We walked around the city, went to the christmas fest, and ate some good pub food and guiness. We even found this awesome cafe that is full of local art, mismatched couches, and you pay what you want to! The menu consists of tasty soups, pastries, and really good coffee and tea. We then left the city and headed west to a small town in Northern Ireland for over a week and stayed with the family of chef Brenda, a good friend of mine. Her mom, three brothers and extended family made sure we tasted home cooked Irish food, saw some beautiful countryside, and drank some good beer. After relaxing there we drove west to the coast and stayed in a lovely little town called Galway. It was a coastal city with great seafood, and part of the city was fairly ancient. It had lots of cobblestones and old stone houses with thatched roofs. We came to this village for one purpose: To visit the nearby cliffs of Moher. And we did, they were stunning, and our tour guide was a cheery man who had no short supply of “fairy tree” stories to tell us on the bus… mysticism and stories of magical beings are a strong part of Irish culture. After our cliffside adventure, we headed east to Dublin, where we stayed in a castle owned by the Guiness family for our last week and a half. My good friend from college ended up having a baby with the grand daughter of the Guiness family, and they are such an amazing bunch. Eccentric, spirited, and intellegent, the family lives between an old castle and a funky old mansion. Imagine an old museum turned into a house, cluttered with fantastical artifacts, busts of animals, and art from another time. I really enjoyed baking Guiness beer biscuits for them. They took me to one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and we drank Guiness from a 200 year old tap… the flavor and quality was beyond any other I have had. After three weeks of beer, potatoes, and sausages, I was ready to head to Sicily.

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