Maybe it’s a little premature, but as my time here in Ireland winds down I can’t help but reflect on the moments from the past year that I won’t soon forget:
· -Along with two other Mitchells, celebrating the passage of health care reform with Cuban cigars. All ironies intended.
· -Kissing the blarney stone at the height of the Swine Flu epidemic.
· -A night at the Empire club in Belfast, wherein I learned that even five middle-aged denizens of Belfast can sing the blues.
· -With Sarang and Matt, accidentally driving halfway across Ireland in the wrong direction on our drive back to Dublin from Bushmills. Despite frequent signs proclaiming that we were traveling “WEST,” and the composition of a song to go with the signs saying “WEST,” it took us near an hour to realize we were, well, traveling West.
· -Going clubbing with a 93-year-old member of the British aristocracy, who just so happens to own Winston Churchill’s christening outfit and a quill from Pope Pious IX.
· -Sampling Matt’s home-made oatmeal stout, which despite a distinct lack of carbonation could rival Ireland’s finest.
· -A vicious debate on the Lisbon treaty at UCD that made clear political rancor is not uniquely American.
· -Sending Shane and John Marino on a search across a sleepy Country Antrim to find poppy and sesame seeds for everything bagels. They returned, triumphant.
· -Following six nations rugby at my favorite pub on Parnell Street.
· -A lunch of bangers and mash at Dublin’s Gruel.
· -For that matter, any of my many trips to Howth, ostensibly for the cliff walk, but really for Beshoff Bros’ haddock and chips.
· -Watching garda pose for pictures with tourists in Temple Bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Something tells me the NYPD wouldn’t be so amenable.
· -Thanksgiving in Dublin with Trina and the rest of the Mitchell family.
· -Realizing that a particular bog person in the national museum has a striking resemblance to John Boehner.
· -Discovering the budget-stretching power of eating Flahavan’s porridge two meals a day.
· -Witnessing national agony when a cheating France topped Ireland and eliminated the Republic from World Cup contention.
· -A beautiful day spent in Galway’s Saturday market.
· -The smell of burning turf wafting out of homes in the Ulster-American Folk Museum.
· -And reading Joyce’s Dubliners along the Liffey.
With two more months in-country, I intend to add to my list.