Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hotels, Addresses, and Irish Potatoes

“You pick a city and I’ll pick a city,” I told my best friend of 20 years.

“Okay,” she said. “I pick Dublin. I do love Irish accents."

I laughed and thought for a moment. Where did I want to do?

“London,” I said. “I do love British accents,” I said jokingly.

We then proceeded to plan our trip. We picked hotels, flights, dates and all of that other good stuff you have to get done before leaving. We were two women leaving on an adventures. But were we also fleeing something? Susan Bassnett discusses how women travelers have been described. “Women travellers are therefore categorised as doubly different: they differ from other, more orthodox, socially conformist women, and from male travellers who use the journey as a means of discovering more about their own masculinity. The underlying impression gained from these volumes is that the woman traveller was somehow in flight from something, seeking to escape from the constraints of her family or her society”.

So what were we fleeing? Every day life, perhaps? Who knows? We were two women going to see the world.

Approximately, two months later we were on a plane headed straight to the unknown. We spent three days in London before taking another short flight to Ireland. It was on this flight to Dublin that we noticed the first difference between Irish people and Americans. Somehow, my friend and I had gotten separated and she sat across the aisle from me instead of beside me. She was seated next to a friendly Irish man that struck up a conversation with her. A few minutes in I heard him ask, “What hotel are you staying at?”

I could tell by the look on my friend’s face she was a little surprised at the question. We were young women traveling to another country and we had heard all of the stories. Our parents had warned us of talking to strange men and while this man didn’t seem strange, his question did. You just didn’t ask what hotel someone was staying at. We were pretty sure the guy had no ill intentions but we couldn’t let go of our parents' warning.

My friend brushed it off and simply said, “It’s one of them in Dublin. I can’t remember the name. We have the address and name of the hotel written on paper in our other luggage.”

The man didn’t seem to be offended and continued on with his talking and made some suggestions on what we should do and see while there. Once the plane landed, we parted ways and never saw him again.

That night we headed out in search of a place to eat. We wandered the streets of Dublin and took in the beauty of the city. All of the buildings had this old time, storybook feel to them. We eventually ended up at The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub.

The Brazen Head, Ireland’s Oldest Pub Est. 1198

We looked over the menu and I decided to order some kind of beef and potatoes. My reasoning was that Ireland was known for potatoes. I mean everyone has heard of the Irish Potato Famine back in 1845, right?

Well, it turns out that Irish potatoes are not the same as American potatoes, or at the very least, not like any potato that I have ever eaten. It was a yellowish color, had a funny texture and was extremely bland. I ate a couple of bites and that was about it. The potatoes were not what I had imagined and I can't say that I reccommend them. 

The next day, my friend and I headed out on foot to the City Centre to catch our tour bus to Blarney Castle. We assumed that City Centre was just somewhere in the center of the city and it would be easy to find. We had seen signs the day before so we were confident we could find it. After searching and asking numerous people who had no idea where to tell us to go, we flagged down a cab. He said he knew where to go so we hopped in. We explained to him that we were running late for our tour so he took us on a short cut down this small road (I would call it an alley). He apologized for taking us on it but said that it was the quickest way. We didn’t understand why he was apologizing until we saw a couple of homeless people on the side on the sleeping. Eventually, we made it there but unfortunately, we were too late. Our bus was gone. We talked to someone at the tour company and were able to get our tour rescheduled for the following day.

By this point our feet were exhausted so we took another cab and decided to see the Book of Kells aka a book lovers dream come true. The cab driver was very friendly and talked the whole way there. He even told us where he lived and gave us directions to his house. Apparently, Irish people have no problem giving out their address to American women.

The Book of Kells is believed to have been created sometime around 800 A.D. They are housed in Trinity College along with a lot of other books.  I sincerely think this may be the closest a book lover gets to heaven on Earth. The library was gorgeous with its high ceilings and books lining the shelves from floor to ceiling. 

Trinity College Library

My trip to Ireland taught me three things. 1. Irish men may ask you for the name of the hotel you are staying at. 2. Irish men may give you directions to their house. 3. Irish potatoes are not American potatoes, famous or not.


  1. Hi Ashley - Wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blogger award. (It's basically a tag, as I just learned - it's not spam, I swear LOL) Here's a link to the post so you can join in if you'd like: 

  2. Hi Ashley,

    I like the way you describe your trip through the lens of "things we didn't know to expect" when visiting Ireland. You were able to bring out how odd these different approaches seemed to you without putting a judgment call on them. By the way, sticking with the potatoes in Ireland might have been wise. When I was in Britain years ago and missing Mexican food, I tried a fajita. Let's just say that fajitas are way different in Britain.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ashley,
    I agree with Vanessa that your "experiencing what you didn't expect" perspective in your writing of this post is great. I think it would be much more effective, however, if you included ideas from our readings in order to expand on how you expected certain things from Ireland's culture, what you actually experienced that you didn't expect, and how this affects your writing about it.

    As a fellow book lover, I love your photo of the Trinity College Library. But how does your post play into your general blog topic on the beauty of your travels besides the photos you include? Do you think it's a "beautiful" thing that cultures are not what you expected them to be? Did you have an expectation of Ireland's beauty? If so, was it what you expected or more?

    1. Hi Britney,

      Thank you for your comment! I wasn't sure how to fit in the course readings on this particular post but I plan to work them in during the revision process. Also, thank you for pointing out how this post didn't really stick with the theme of my blog. I didn't really notice that but I think I was so focused on making sure my post discussed this week's topic. I think I struggled more with this week's post than the others but hopefully I'll figure out a way to tie in all in! Thanks again for your comments and suggestions!!


    2. Ashley,
      I totally understand, it can be difficult to sift through all of the information and ideas in our readings to incorporate into our personal experiences and posts. I've found it easiest to go through and write down any points/quotes in the readings that I think would support my ideas of my posts, and then fit them in. Some of them make it, most of them don't, but at least you have a nice list of things you could incorporate instead of having to read the documents over and over again!

  5. Hi Ashley-
    I didn't realize Irish men were so forthcoming with women...I wonder if they were simply making small talk or had amorous intentions. On a serious note, I was wondering if in your experience you noticed any ill effects of British Imperialism in Ireland. Their presence in Ireland technically ended almost a hundred years ago, but based on this week's reading, it seems like imperial influence has a tendency to linger for quite awhile. Great Post


Find Me!

Blog Archive

Grab My Button!


My Rating System

AMAZING!!!! You should be at the book store right now buying it! :)

My Blog Designer

I'm an Affiliate!

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository
Powered by Blogger.

Blog Nation Badge

Book Review Blogs

Follow by Email