How I lived with an Irish family for a week and they survived – Part 2


Continued from Part 1…  (duh)

6.  If Soibhán and her family ever came to visit, I could never, ever feed them enough food.  I know this for a fact.  Every meal I had at her house was enormous.  Seriously humongous.  She fixed a plate for me one evening that would have fed both my husband and myself with leftovers.  Piles of roast beef, mashed potatoes, home fries, parsnips, mashed carrots and cauliflower & cheese.  All covered in gravy.  Plus dessert. I have never seen people eat so much food on a regular basis.  Ever.   And they’re not fat at all.  At all.  I want to know how that works…

7.  Unlike the Vikings and the English, Peeps have yet to invade Ireland.  I brought three packages of Easter Peeps with me in the new flavors – sour watermelon, birthday cake and blue raspberry.  Yuck.  But her three kids devoured them.  Naturally.   Mr. Soibhán loved the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs…  I guess he doesn’t object to peanut butter and chocolate.  Just jam.

8.  People who live in Ireland can fly to the U.S. way cheaper that I can fly to Ireland.  We checked out the Aer Lingus’ website at Soibhán’s house.  The round trip airfare is 40% less to book in Ireland than I can book from the US.  Whaaaat?  Isn’t that illegal or something?  Isn’t there some sort of international airfare equity law?  But it’s probably a good thing.  I’d be eating Soibhán’s ginormous meals more often.

9.  Soibhán’s lives near a Gaeltacht area of Ireland.  That is, the primary language of the area is Irish.  And don’t call it Gaelic.  Gaelic is what they speak in Scotland.  But sometimes Irish is called Irish Gaelic.  Confused?  I still am… Anyway, her three younger kids go to Gaeltacht schools.  These schools are dedicated to keeping the Irish culture and language alive, and the teachers and students speaking Irish exclusively.  Soibhán’s Irish isn’t too good since she didn’t attend a Gaeltacht school. Her kids are starting to talk Irish in front of her.  Gotta love those kids.  Her eight year old daughter sang Uptown Funk to me in Irish.  It was cool.

10. Sadly U.S. reality TV knows no boarders.  Unfortunately.  We spent two hours one evening watching “Say Yes to the Dress”.  Doesn’t really put the best face on U.S. matrimonial rituals does it?  But like a car wreck, we couldn’t not watch.  Or stop watching.  At least she hasn’t seen “Bridezillas”.  Yet.

So yeah – there were some differences – mostly involving the roll of jelly/jam in the Irish diet vs. the American diet.   But I also found out that we had much, much more in common.   And that’s the gift you receive from travel if you “live like the locals” as my hero Rick Steve’s says.

You see with eyes wide open.

So today I went shopping and got the ingredients for a “thank you” goodie box…  A jar of peanut butter and grape jelly swirled, a can of Disney Princess chicken noodle soup, a box of Lucky Charms (her six year old loves them – go figure…), Neosporin spray (can’t get it in Irleand), Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and a pack of Peeps.

They’re going to love it!  But possibly hate the peanut butter and jelly.  I’m willing to take the risk.

The Irish have two categories of people who come to their country.  You are either a tourist or a visitor.

The tourist comes to see the sights, snap pictures, listen to some traditional music and drink Guinness.  They complain about the weather and how long it takes to drive from place to place and about how you can’t get a short answer when you ask a question. Short of St. Patrick and the Great Famine, they really don’t know much about Irish history.  And they’re really not interested in learning that much more.

The visitor comes to see the sights, snap pictures, listen to some traditional music and drink Guinness. They also don’t care if it’s cold and/or raining (not much at least…)  And they love the long drives and exploring small villages and getting stopped by sheep in the road.  Multiple times.  Visitors think the twenty minutes of craic that they exchange on a street corner with the person they stopped to ask directions from is a highlight of their day.  They know something about the incredible history of both ancient and modern Ireland.  A visitor admires the irrepressible Irish spirit that would not be conquered by the Vikings, the Normans, the Scots or the English despite hundreds and hundreds of years of occupation.

And they like nothing better than to spend an evening by a coal and peat fire with new friends laughing about putting jam on toast.

Éirinn go Brách!

32 thoughts on “How I lived with an Irish family for a week and they survived – Part 2

    • Oh my gosh…. I can’t believe I haven’t been on WP for a week! What’s up with that? I have many blog visits that are wayyy overdue! Yikes!

      Anyway, sorry for the late and THANKS!! You are such a great artist in so many mediums (photography, watercolor, stamping, the kitchen…) – it’s always a thrill when you enjoy the “AGMA ramblings”!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Becoming immersed in the culture is the way I would want to do it, too. How in the world would you be able to waddle off to bed after that huge plate of carb heartiness? No room for Peeps, that’s for sure!

    I will definitely have to read more about Ireland before going. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much SusieQ!! I honestly couldn’t keep up with the eating and I’m a pretty hardy eater when I have to be. And because it was Easter week, there were also mass quantities of chocolate. Everywhere! The only thing that saved me was that it was milk chocolate and I’m a dark chocolate girl…. 🙂

      I just got done listening to the 2nd book in a 2 book historical fiction series about Ireland and I recommend the series highly if you’re at all interested in learning about Irish history (which is fascinating by the way…) In the U.S. they are called The Dublin Saga – The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland – by Edward Rutherfurd. I think I’m getting hooked on historical fiction… What a fun way to learn history!


    • It WAS a great way to experience a different country. Although I have a feeling that the differences between us were pretty minimal. Had I lived with a family in Russia or Vietnam or Thailand, things probably would have been WAY different.

      Thanks for your comment and hanging out with AGMA!


    • Then you’ve got all you need Lbeth!! Those are my travel strengths as well! Honestly, it’s pretty easy to do… My flight from Chicago to Dublin only took 6 hrs and 15 min – nearly as long as it takes me to fly to LA! And if you are willing to go off season, you can get some incredibly low fares. Think about it… I know – I’m a bad influence! Thanks for your comment!


  2. Brilliantly worded, both parts, such an awesome read…I am blessed to have Irish descent AND relatives in Ireland but alas not blessed enough as to have graced its shores as yet…its on the bucket list though for sure. So glad you had such an epic time, inspires me to keep ticking that list off. Keep on with the writing, I do enjoy reading your blog, really glad I found it, looking forward to the next post (cant do the bated breath though, no good at it, I turn blue:-p )

    Liked by 1 person

    • You realize of course that I am incredibly jealous of you at this moment? You have both Irish heritage AND relatives over in Ireland. No fair! But of course I think 95% of the people on the planet have some sort of Irish heritage. Okay, that might be an exaggeration… But I know it’s a lot and unfortunately I’m not part of the club. 😦

      But I insist you go over for a visit at some point in the near future! You will be enchanted and captivated by not only the beauty of this ancient land but by the incredible friendliness of the Irish people. And it’s a bonus if they start singing Uptown Funk to you in Irish!

      I’m so glad you stopped by AGMA and that you enjoy my tales of the “stranger than truth!” It’s an incredible compliment to me that you have taken time out of your day to both read and comment… Thank you! And def don’t hold your breath – so far AGMA hasn’t experienced any casualties greater than some bored readers now and then. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What is with the flights from Ireland???! We saved £300 flying from Glasgow to Dublin then from Dublin to the U.S rather than direct from Glasgow it’s only 20minutes airtime Glasgow to Dublin? I don’t get it?! Uptown Funk in Irish that sounds hilarious!
    I’m off to try some peanut butter and JAM to see what all the fuss is about 😉 great post made me belly laugh as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Belly laugh?? You just made my day! And YES – try a PBJ (the J is for jam NOT jelly!) sandwich! I really am not exaggerating when I say this is a staple of most every American child’s diet. It’s even better if you have some chicken noodle soup, but I know that would be really pushing the envelope!

      Funny you should mention Glasgow… A old friend of mine’s daughter here is going to Glasgow for a month this summer via Dublin both going and coming back home. I’m sure because it’s cheaper from here as well (BUT not as cheap as if it was booked in Europe – no fair!)

      I’ve only been to Glasgow once, but I remember this wonderful whisky pub called The Pot Still. It was magical! I also remember the cab driver we had from the airport into town. I was the only one of the 3 of us who could understand his very thick Glaswegian accent! It was charming…

      Thanks again for your kind comment and making my day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah The Pot Still that’s a favourite of my Dads 🙂 well done you on understanding your ‘Weegi’ cab driver, I find it difficult myself!!
        The PBJ sandwich gets a thumbs up from me, weird but fairly enjoyable. I used strawberry jelly(jam) is that right? Or should I try a different flavour? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Strawberry and grape are the standards. I wouldn’t risk using anything else. I cannot be responsible for the outcome! I’m happy that you gave it a go – I think it’s one of those things that might be an acquired taste if you didn’t grow up with it.

        And I didn’t say I understood everything the cabbie said… 😉 He’s actually the one who told us about The Pot Still! Next time I’m in Glasgow, I’ll have to meet him for a wee dram!

        So what did you think of the election? Or shouldn’t I ask?

        Liked by 1 person

      • If I’m honest I couldn’t really decide who to vote for so went with who I disliked least, haha….and they didn’t win! Ugh another 4 years looking at David Cameron’s face!!
        Oh yes come for a dram, maybe not while we’re under conservative power though, the Scots will all be miserable sods for the next 4 years haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s usually how I vote – for the least disliked! Maybe the election results call for increasing the drams on a regular basis! But the Scottish National Party roared back to life, so it should be interesting right?


  4. I’m an Irish/Australian living in Viet Nam and made me laugh. My family is from the same area as your friends and I can see all their expressions when you do something weird. I am smell the peat burning, hear the Gaelic.

    This has been nice, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yikes, I just read back what I wrote, I should have written that “I CAN* smell the peat burning” I sometimes feel that spending so much time with non-English and English as a second language speakers that I’m losing clarity and nuance in my English. At least that’s the excuse I’ll use today…

    I hope I can get back to Ireland soon, but it probably won’t be for some time. I move to Bangladesh in three months and I’ll probably be too busy. Still, I do get to live vicariously through the good people like you that share their Ireland stories.

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s