Monday, 31 May 2010

When Irish eyes are smiling...


Have suitcase, will travel..

Or, if you're scabbing it on a cheapie airline like EasyJet or Ryanair, then it's more likely a battered brown leather bag where the challenge is to conceal it from the eagle-eyed check-in staff, lest it exceeds their silly size regulation.

Fortunately, our flight was so ridiculously early on Thursday that the bleary-eyed staff missed the over-stuffed bag and, marvelling at the lack of passport control in this security conscious era, we were off to Belfast. It's the second time I've had the good fortune to experience Irish hospitality - last March I visited the once battle-scarred region on a media trip - and I'm convinced that hidden somewhere in this green and pleasant land is a school that churns out some of the nicest, most generous and helpful folk on the planet. The location of Marty's second cousin's wedding was the idyllic Dunadry Hotel and Country Club...if I hadn't opted for the Vegas/Elvis wedding for a story, then this would definitely have been on my 'top 10 list' of places to get hitched. Shame the weather gods were off having a long lunch which meant no outdoor ceremony...but hey, it wouldnt be Ireland if it wasn't peeing down.

Needless to say, a grand time was had by all. Beautiful bride, lovely food and wine and great conversation - even if some of it almost required sub-titles. No hangover, as we bailed about midnight but my arteries are still recovering from the traditional Irish fry up - don't quite get the need for soda bread AND potato bread on the same plate, but when in Belfast...

Speaking of potatoes, I gave up this high GI foodstuff more than a year ago after a media trip to the glorious Queensland health retreat, Gwinganna, where the nutritionist told me to stick to sweet potatoes (or kumera for the Kiwis out there) as they were low GI. But there's no getting away from tubers in Ireland - the wedding dinner did, in fact, feature potatoes not one but two ways - roasted and 'whipped'. And the waitress looked aghast when I refused both!

Now back at the Bristol slum and enjoying my first Bank Holiday for some years...

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