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Eating in Ireland.

May 20, 2009

One month ago, or centuries depending on what time of day you ask, A. and I ventured to my father’s homeland, Ireland. Because we pinch every penny, budget every moment, and heavily use trip advisor, A. and I are lucky enough to have traveled to some pretty amazing places. The key to our travels remains budgeting. We realize the importance of a comfortable bed, breakfast/dinner, and good advice. Each trip, we usually save one night for a good, nice meal and the rest or searches for the best tasting pub/brassiere food we can find, which requires tons of research.

In Ireland, we listened to a hotelier in Dublin who told us about a great neighborhood place. In Sligo, we stayed at a bed and breakfast that would not stop sending us food. In Doolin, we ate a gorgeous meal at a B&B with a gourmet cook. The owner sat and talked with us for thirty minutes about politics and life. In Galway, we perused the farmers market. And that night, we tried some very old pubs, some in old churches, and ate at what is considered the best fish and chippery on the west coast. Now, wait, considered? I say considered because only two days later, we were speeding by the Cliffs of Moher. We whipped past small towns, but my stomach started growling. Normally fiscally conservative travelers, we like to grab lunch on the go, a baguette with cheese or a taco. In Ireland, this became harder– there are no small meals in Ireland. My stomach roared, and we pulled into Vaughns.

Moments later, We sat in the front section of the pub, next to the peat fireplace, and ordered the fish and chips. Now Vaughns is a true neighborhood pub. The men of different ages were loudly debating whether a wall had been built in the last 5 or 30 years, many expletives spouted, two men departed and, the bartender spitting nails, the debate was resolved. After thirty minutes, families flooded in with grandparents and grandchildren, mothers and fathers. Everyone going to the pub to talk, socialize and eat. Most who visit Ireland know that the pub is not a drinking space, but a social space. On that Sunday, it was a way for families to mingle and not have to cook. This atmosphere, amazing in itself, could not even explain the fish and chips. Crisp, hot, and tender. The fish and chips at Vaughns were the best of the trip, and the best I ever consumed. A mammoth plate, normally, I could never finish that much food, but that afternoon, I treasured the entire plate.

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