Whats so funny about Beer, Studs and Irish Dancing?

Signs at the National Stud

So I’m in Ireland. Trip over was uneventful…a bit on the bumpy side, and more than a bit on takeoff, but otherwise nothing so bad. The mechanical engineer in me knows that turbulence is just a bunch of air pockets, and that as long as we maintain forward velocity everything is pretty much ok. But it’s still unsettling.

Anyway, once on the ground I was met by my brother, and we drove to his wife’s family house in Kildare, County Kildare. I hadn’t been to the house…on our last trip for Matt and Kathleen’s wedding, we never made it over for a visit, with all of the other activities that were going on.

My arrival at the Curran’s house came on the heels of far less jovial times – Kathleen’s father passed on this week after a long illness. He died at home, with loved ones around him. The funeral was Thursday, and I arrived Friday.

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about coming right after such an event, but the Currans are as warm and gracious a family as I’ve ever met, and any fears I had about being an imposition were quickly dashed. When I arrived, there were family sitting around the kitchen table, and Kathleen was at the stove making Irish rashers – bacon sandwiches on buttered white bread. No, I’m not kidding. Bacon and butter in one food item! Can you say delicious?

Kathleen’s sister and her children were also around, and after purchasing the affection of the kids via coloring books and candy I gave Matt his birthday loot (the 13th being his B-day). Nothing too fancy from me, just a Mets t-shirt with Gary Carter’s name and number on the back.
After a short while, we decided to head out to the Irish National Stud for lunch at their restaurant and a tour of the stud, pastures, and their beautiful Japanese Gardens. Kildare is horse country, home of the Curragh race course and loads of horse farms.

The tour of the Stud was cool. It is, as the name implies, a horse breeding farm dedicated to siring championship thoroughbreds.

The Stallions live in these posh stables, with their names and accomplishments listed on bronze placques on the stable doors.

In the pastures, the stallions are each kept separate – can’t be having them fight and hurt themselves, after all. These are some really beautiful horses.

Along with the horses, the Stud has a completely unrelated Japanese Garden. While lovely, it’s completely hilarious and ridiculous…i’ll scan in the text of the guided tour so you can see for yourselves. In the meantime, enjoy this vignette courtesy of Matt and Kathleen:

After the Stud, we went back to the Curran’s. I grabbed a nap and a shower, and afterwards felt very human. Matt and I then walked down to Cunningham’s for a pint.

My first Guinness of the trip

Ann and Kathleen met us, and we ate Upstairs at Cunninhams – the same place I ate back in 2004 with my friends, after Matt and Kathleen asked us to write their table place cards for the reception. I’ve been to this town twice, and eaten in the same place each time! But, no worries – the food was wonderful, and the company wasn’t too bad either.

We did cake and candles for Matt’s birthday.

The Frankencake

So now it’s 4am here…it’s 11pm back in the states, and I’m completely off my schedule. My Mets are tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 7th. Liz is at the game, and sent me a view from the (not so) cheap seats.

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