Sherryl's Excellent Ireland Adventure
I'm not even going to attempt to explain away the weeks since my last post. There are no good excuses. Instead, I'm going to spin a tale about my own trip to Ireland a couple of years ago and how it evolved into Luke O'Brien deciding to open a pub in The Summer Garden.
Ever since my dad convinced my cousin and I to start digging into our genealogical roots some fifteen or so years ago, I'd been longing to go to Ireland where at least some of our history began. Maeve Binchy's books only added to the allure. I had visions of small villages, not unlike my fictional Chesapeake Shores, warm fires and cozy pubs. So, the second Aer Lingus launched non-stop service from Washington to Dublin, I was on the phone to my cousin.
"Let's do it," I said, and that's all it took. Sandy is always ready for an adventure.
So while I diligently researched hotels and a few essential sights for our weeklong stay, Sandy did what she does best. She pinpointed every single pub in the nearby neighborhoods, plus a few beyond. I have to say that my contribution to the itinerary was pretty dull by comparison. I did offer up one pub, based solely on its name -- O'Neill's. Two of my dearest friends from childhood were O'Neills and the guidebook made it sound like a Dublin landmark. Truthfully, as it turned out, not so much a landmark, but a deserted dinosaur of a place. It did, however, have window boxes overflowing with colorful blooms outside. The charm ended there.
Overall, though, we made it our mission to find good Irish music and classic pubs. By our last night, we'd blazed quite a path, but wanted one more pub before heading home. The concierge at our hotel tried to be helpful. He named the two pubs down the block.
"Been there," we informed him.
"And the Arlington Hotel. They have lovely song and dance. It's just across the river."
He tried a few more. We'd been to each of them.
"Now there's another lovely place. It's a ways from here, up in the hills. Johnny Fox's. Very old. Very traditional."
At that point I'm sure he though we must have spent our entire trip to Dublin getting well and truly sloshed. Not so. It was all "research" for Luke O'Brien and the pub he creates to bring a little taste of Ireland to Chesapeake Shores. Just as he wants O'Brien's to be an integral part of the community, a place for more than food, drink and music, that's what we discovered so many of these Irish pubs to be.
And if we didn't come home with even one new addition to our family tree, well, it hardly mattered. It was an excellent adventure!