Taking Stock in the Irish Bounty

Marty the Duck and Henrik the Duck sit upon the steps of the Ireland Court

If you caught my little friend that I brought along with me, he wasn’t the only little guy I brought with me. I also brought along Henrik The Duck.

The NHL store dug through a lot of boxes to find these two little guys for me to bring with me on the European trip. Cute, aren’t they?

We also found a new little friend at Carroll’s Gifts & Souvenirs on Aston Quay before we headed onto O’Connell Street. His name is Shanny the Sheep (come on…going with the hockey player names…Ireland…Shanahan…made sense to me).

Henrik The Duck and Marty The Duck Find a new friend in Dublin, Ireland: Shanny the Sheep

Sheep are a pretty big selling point to tourists beyond shamrocks, leprechauns and Guinness. The only thing I wanted to find today were old Guinness ads to frame when I got home. Luckily, I found the exact ad I was looking for (the guy driving with the horse in the cart…the roles reversed…man driving the cart), along with a lion chasing the zookeeper.

Luckily, I found some serious bounty at Carroll’s. Chocolates and more chocolates. Chocolates in the form of Jameson, Guinness and Bailey’s. I even found a few vodka filled chocolates. Nope…not for me. All for friends. The Jameson chocolates are for the office, because lord knows every now and again we need a shot of something or another.

The cast of characters with the Irish bounty.

I even found some cute tins filled with mints and teas. I also found that curry powder the woman told me about yesterday: McDonnells Curry Sauce. A little extra surprise I found was Wholegrain Mustard with Guinness. I kind of looked at it like…what do you do with this wholegrain mustard? Then thoughts of cooking it with chicken or fish made it sound like a really good meal to make at home.

One of the other major places I was looking for today was a bookstore. I found one off of O’Connell Street. It was a small book shop that was competing with a major bookstore across the street. It was very reminiscent of the “You’ve Got Mail” movie where Meg Ryan’s little shop was going out of business because of the giant bookstore moving in around the corner from her shop.

I always make sure when I travel to foreign countries (by myself) to pick up a classic or an art book. Today, I picked up the complete works of Oscar Wilde, and a book of poetry by Yeats. When I’m in Praha, I may lean more towards a picturesque book, since I bought a set of Shakespeare books in Czech last time.

One author I forgot was from Ireland is Bram Stoker…the master behind Dracula. They have a Dracula tour here, but I can’t seem to find it…or know if I’ll have the patience to dedicate the kind of time that goes into these types of touristy tours.

The Wall of Fame in Temple Bar

Near this bookstore, where I picked up the two classics, I found a shopping area called Jervis Centre. It’s this one long street filled with shops. It reminds me of a bigger version of South Seaport, filled with department stores.

I did find a store I plan on going back to tomorrow called Penneys. I don’t know if it’s any relation to JC Penneys, but the clothing there is a little more…fun. Not to mention the prices! I found a lot of sexy shirts for 8 euros, coats for 29 euros, and dresses for 19 euros. I may have to buy a whole new suitcase at this point! Such great clothing deals…and all in that SKA/Punk look I was looking for from Ireland.

All I can say is that I kept telling myself not to go in, but I did anyway…and found so many good deals…I may have to ship my new wardrobe back home (lucky me, there’s a post office on O’Connell street, right around the corner from Jervis Centre).

Jervis Centre

I was able to¬†find the famous stalls of the Moore Street Market. It’s one long block filled with so many colors…as in various colors of produce up and down the street, with butcher’s shops and Halal grocers in the shops along the street. It’s a mecca of color.

There was even a shop that catered to the various produce from all over the world. There were hot peppers I’ve never even seen before. And they looked spicy!

The market is a wonderful place to be. I kind of wished I had a kitchen back at the hotel so I could pick up some of the fresh produce and meats to cook them up. The brussel sprouts alone were so vibrantly green…they looked delicious!

In my ventures today, I found McDonald’s. My thoughts? Why can’t they have a coffee and dessert bar at all McDonald’s? They had strawberry shortcake and apple crisps in the dessert window, and you can order tea and coffee at the coffee bar…right when you walk into McDonald’s.

As for the burger…unimpressed. It still tastes like American McDonald’s burgers. Halfway through it, my body said to stop or vomit up the consequences.

Ronald McDonald looks totally different…more cartoonish…maybe a little more like the Good Idea, Bad Idea Animaniacs’ mime. The artwork on the wall though had this one guy that looked more like Ronald McDonald than Ronald McDonald himself. Actually, he was more like a creepy version of Ronald McDonald.

I will say this for the men in Ireland…lots of hotties in this city. My luck…they were probably all lawyers. :) LOL.

What I will say that I like about the female TV stars here in Ireland…all of the women look like real women with curves. They’re not the super thin women like what we are exposed to every single day in America. The usual size that you see at the stores are a size 12, not a size 2 or 8. Size 12.

The bigger, plus sized women in the shows all have handsome significant others. This isn’t something you see in America. Only the beautiful, incredibly thin women are shown with handsome significant others. If you’re big…you’re cropped out of the picture, and worse yet…considered to not be attractive at all.

Most of the women on television in Ireland/United Kingdom are normal looking women…not the 5’10” size 00 women that Americans are told to look like. Hey, I’m only as tall as Brian Gionta. I have to wear some killer platforms to make it to 5’10”.

What’s wrong with promoting regular women with curves? Why can’t size 12 women be a bigger presence in TV and film? The way the size 12 woman and above are portrayed in TV/film is never on equal stage as the 5’10” size 00 woman. Unlike in Ireland where real women play in these roles, not the 5’10” size 00 woman. Healthy is in.

Another rather interesting statistic in Ireland…they expect to have a 30% unemployment rate by the end of this year. Over 5,000 people emigrate from Ireland every month. That’s a lot of people leaving the country. They said it’s not the 20 year olds leaving. It’s the 20s to the 60s leaving the country for Canada, Australia, etc.

That would explain why so many shops and pubs are closed down in Dublin.

Alright, it’s getting late here in Dublin. I just finished off my Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Crisp (made in Ireland since 1933) and I’m waiting for some Samuel L. Jackson flick to start at 9PM.

Tomorrow…it’s Trinity College and a little bit more shopping.

A wall in Temple Bar

When You Are Old (WB Yeats)

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

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