Xanga: What’s the story? How’s the craic?

You’ve all been grand… I tink it’s about time I give youse all an update, complete with me new Irish accent.

Or maybe not.  Honestly, I don’t know where to start. It was such an amazing trip… such a tremendously wonderful Christmas and New Year’s… I don’t know if I can do it justice through words or pictures.

I don’t think the holidays will ever feel quite the same for me. I mean, there I was, swept up in a romance right off the pages of a novel, complete with a foreign country, narrow escapes, crazy friends, rollicking parties, and quiet nights by the fire. And, of course, a prince.

We walked the narrow, hilly streets of Drogheda, rode crowded trains in Dublin, trekked through the hills of Newgrange and Carlow, and spent endless hours on couches in between. There was plenty of wine and gallons of tea… I drank my share of Guinness and Smithwick’s (though was aghast to find that Budweiser and Heinekin are better sellers!)and ate loads of chips drenched in salt ‘n’ vinegar on late night trips home from the pubs. We looked at the works of Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso, Vermeer and many more at the National Gallery in Dublin. I almost threw a dirty English coin into the waterfall at the Guinness factory, before Frank stopped me with the warning that I’d make the water boil over and ruin the batch. I feel like I made many new friends – Frank’s family was lovely and warm, and his “mates” were genuinely fantastic as well. I had more than my share of Bridget Jones moments (i.e. Beano does not really work, peer pressure from the Irish is inescapable at parties where bongs are involved, and one should always turn on the lights when going down stairs, no matter how well you think you know the place)… good grief, it’s amazing I wasn’t sold to the gypsies after about a day…but I can tell you with no uncertainty that my 11 days in Ireland were some of the best I’ve had in my entire life on this planet.

Anyway, maybe I should let the pictures do the rest of the talking… I just wanted to give you all a few words, while the smell of the place is still on me and the jet lag makes me tear up when I think of my dear one. Hope you all had wonderful Christmases as well… and I’ll be stopping by your xangas soon!

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Christmas Eve in Drogheda… me by an old phone booth near the watchtower (part of the city’s history and surrounding wall – hundreds of years old). Frank with some cool old graveyard skeletons.

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Christmas With the Kellys… that’s Frank’s Dad, Anthony, and his brother, Noel (who is still relatively single and very charming, Ladies)… no pictures of Mom (June) or Lorraine, but here’s a shot of the family dog, Hobbes.

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Frank with his cappuccino at the National Gallery (awww… I heart Frank), the festive streets of Dublin.

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Me by the infamous waterfall, and Frank and me outside the Guinness brewery. I’ll post a video later when I’ve got more time.

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Us at Newgrange, an ancient burial site older than the Pyramids or Stonehenge. Note the large fellow coming down the stairs before me – he got wedged in the passageway with me behind him! I was almost scared for a minute (what if he didn’t get unstuck?), and where was Frank? Waiting outside to capture a picture of the wind whipping up my skirt. I like the next one, us with faces smushed together (there are a lot of those from this trip)… and the wisemen of old were right – the grass IS greener on the other side.

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Kilkenny Castle… Me, looking like a giant child… Frank and me, um, getting warm… Frank and his friend Dan (who’s an amazing cartoonist)… Frank, Dan and Fiona in a pub.

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We stayed at Dan and Fis’ house outside of Carlow, by the Black Stairs mountains (you can’t see them – but they’re there!), and here’s a lovely meadow with black-faced sheep that we saw one morning while out for a walk.

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New Year’s Eve at a party… Me with Frank’s friends John and Wendy, who had just been surfing earlier in the day (I loved John and Wendy, so much fun)… brothers, Frank and Noel.

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Last day in Drogheda… under the bridge. Took Frank for a really good dinner at the Boiled Onion (amazing food – seriously incredible) before stopping by his folk’s house to say goodbye. Trying not to look sad.

UPDATE: I hope you all knew I meant beer bong and not the other kind. Bonnie thought her little sis was dancing with the faeries.


13 thoughts on “Xanga: What’s the story? How’s the craic?

  1. Wow! We were kindred spirits in the British Isles this year! Sounds awesome! I’m so happy for you!I like the paragraph of teasers where you’ve got a million stories stashed away in there, and the heart in the cappuccino is very subtle… I’m glad you’ve got it well-documented in pictures, cuz the memories must be great.

  2. Lovely, lovely pictures!  Looking forward to hearing more stories.
    Whatever you heard about my thoughts on your presents was completely untrue, as always. 
    Apparently you didn’t even GET my box…

  3. Wow, you look like a true European…like you belong standing on those green, Irish hills–and with such a lad! Do you think a return trip is in your near future?? We need to get together so I can hear details! 🙂

  4. oh maryann! we did have amazing Christmas’s didn’t we?! and look at you! so cute…both of you. 😉 please email me an update about other “issues” we discussed prior to your trip. i want to know if anything worked!!

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