I’ve been in Waterford, Ireland since the weekend through this coming weekend. I’m over here with my roommate Jayme and her boyfriend Keith who is from Waterford and back for the week for work. I’m functioning as a combination of third wheel / daytime entertainment for my roommate. It’s a role I’m happily embracing.
We left on Friday evening from Boston and arrived in Shannon around 5am. Couldn’t sleep on the plane like I had planned so I was happy I bought Watchmen to read while in the airport. It was then a two hour drive from the airport where I again had planned on sleeping. Instead I spent the entire ride like a dog staring out the car window. This was mostly due to the fact that I was scared. Two-lane highways with walls on either side and tons of rotaries. Wow. (Though it wasn’t until about the sixth rotary when I figured out that’s what they were and it wasn’t just that no one felt like paving straight roads.) Along the way we stopped at a gas station for some coffee which was where I first felt like a stranger. Man in front of me as I waited turned to joke with me and my face just dropped as I realized he spoke English and I had literally no clue what he had just said and wished not to sound impolite. Keith stepped in at that point fortunately. Still think that man must’ve thought I was a tard. Now I realize why I sometimes have to speak slowly to Canadians.
Eventually we made it to Keith’s sister’s house where we met the family and had some breakfast. White pudding… Actually not bad. Still haven’t experienced black pudding however. My favorite is still the breakfast sandwich. All I can picture is Homer telling Bart to butter his bacon. Take some bread, slather butter on it, then throw some bacon on top. Of course it’s pretty awesome but as I noticed later so few fat people and I’m amazed how that is possible when they butter their bacon. (Tried to buy shirts some days later and I’m a large or extra large in the US while a double extra large here. I happen to be reasonably slim in the US and of course don’t butter my bacon.)
We hit our walls after breakfast and made our way to Keith’s place then for a relatively short nap at around 11am. Just four hours since we had to make our way out to the pub for the Ireland vs. Wales rugby match. An Ireland win would clinch the Six Nations tournament as well as be their first grand slam (beating every team) in about sixty years. I spent a little time having Keith explain the game to me during the England vs. Scotland match beforehand at his place and then we made our way off to the pub. Was feeling still a little sleep deprived but maybe eating while we were out would pick me up slightly. Need sleep or food in order to drink. Ended up at T&H Doolan’s in Ciddy Center around 4:30. Back home I once went to my local bar and found it closed only later to find out it was because of a kitchen problem and serving alcohol without being able to serve food would just be irresponsible. (This attitude doesn’t apply in Pennsylvania where I hear even serving peanuts would just encourage you to drink more.) Learned quickly that pubs don’t really serve food. Drinking, tired, and hungry at 4:30pm.
T&H is about the oldest pub in Waterford and the crowd was interesting. Half Irish and the other half Welsh transplants. Interestingly while a little tough at first I found the Welsh the easiest to understand after a short bit. They sounded like my old neighbor. (If you know the story, yeah, THAT neighbor.) Let me first start by saying that the Guinness in Ireland DOES NOT TASTE AND DIFFERENT. The difference is you’ve probably been drinking bad Guinness from lines and taps which haven’t been cleaned enough. It tasted no different than a good Guinness that I’ve had many times in Boston. Granted, I’ve drank a lot of bad Guinness in Boston too. Got into the rugby match after it started. Possibly because of the excitement surrounding me. Possibly because of the drinking, sleep deprivation, and hunger. The bar has about three parts to it. One side is the