Do the Irish like or even Eat Corned beef and cabbage? The following article prompted me to use my secret ability of super sleuthing to find out.

I know its been awhile!! But here I am BACK IN ACTION contemplating world issues as we sit on the verge of a disaster in decision making that could cut us off from the rest of the world. Not slowly and torturous like first starting with a digit you may not need and working into larger anatomical necessities… but more like the BIG BANG, or in the words of Emeril Lagasse, BAM, all at once like a nuclear bomb.

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Therefore instead of solving some other world issues like, what are American’s thinking with Trump as one of only two options for president?  I thought I would dig deeper into the realm of real world problems and issues. So, let’s get down to it.

I read the following article :  and would like you to review it as well.

http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/why-do-irish-americans-eat-corned-beef-and-cabbage-instead-of-bacon-for-st-patricks-day-196470851-237570541?utm_campaign=Best+of+IrishCentral+-+2016-09-24&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Mailjet?success=t

All this did was increase my bewilderment on the subject matter. Before we vote in November, we must know the truth and get to the bottom of this pressing matter on our plate.  Please give me your observations, insights, and opinions on the above article as well as inclusive points regarding this, world matters and other food cravings you may want to discuss.

Thank you my fiends and Slainte!!  A reply of any kind would be a nice warm welcome back from my hiatus.

 

 

Only at Easter time in USA but ALWAYS… in Ireland

Wonderful Chocolate only available in the US at Easter time.

Wonderful Chocolate only available in the US at Easter time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cadbury.

A candy found in the good old USofA ONLY at Easter time. Many people, even in America do not realize this simple but true fact and to what extent we are thoroughly gypped in this area of candy bliss. As well, we are also stuck with the cream eggs which really aren’t the most attractive or tasteful Cadbury product you can buy. WHAT GIVES???
The Good citizens of America DO NOT have a clue what they are missing not being able to have a Dairy Milk bar and all the assortments of such: Turtle, Nut, Mint, and the like.
I really don’t need to say anything else, But for fun, lets analyze this word beginning with the first syllable. CAD> Cad… Several meanings that we can place in direct relation to this candy.

CAD.. Computer Aided Design.
Which is something I am sure they had to utilize to make the wrappings on these precious candies less attractive than whats inside. Because I must say, if I had my druthers, I wouldn’t waste a drop of this candy, including the wrapper. Its just that “aluminium” (because the Irish DON’T say aluminum) tends to give you that “fingers on the chalkboard” feeling when you chew it. Therefore, its semi easy to throw away that part of the wrapping,  but the paper with the pictures on it is still tempting.

CAD… Coronary Artery Disease. This goes without saying. However, I will say it. This definition goes along well with this candy. Its something I could easily end up with if I ate the amounts I wanted to. I’m sure there are many a Cadbury induced clog or two if they really analyzed the contents of the vessels.

CAD

  1. ungentlemanly man: a man whose conduct, especially toward women, (in this case we will change “women” to “chocolate”) is considered unscrupulous or dishonorable
  2. smallest piglet: the smallest or weakest piglet in a litter (which would be the person who obviously was NOT eating all the Cadbury)

OK. I believe anything that could be said about the origin of the first syllable has been voiced. Lets move on.

BURY.

Bury is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the River Irwell, 5.5 miles east of Bolton, 5.9 miles west-southwest of Rochdale, and 7.9 miles north-northwest of the city of Manchester. Which makes perfect sense since the origin of Cadbury is England but proudly served at any food store counter in Ireland complete with 4 leaf clover on the wrapper. Bury: What will happen to you when the CAD (coronary artery disease) portion of the candy violates you enough after you have made a  ungentlemanly large piglet out of yourself.

The Grammy Experience Jan 26, 2014

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This afternoon, Monday Jan 27th, at  about 11AM as I am sitting in my hotel room post grammy experience day 1, I get a Facebook message from my friend Noel in Ireland:  “Grammy awards are on Irish telly now !!!!! We will b keepin an eye out for u !!!”

LL Cool J as Host

LL Cool J as Host

I’m glad everyone in Ireland got to witness this historical music event. I’m ecstatic that I was invited to go this year.  We started the day meeting up with another set of  annual Grammy attendees for some lunch then off to the Pre-Show at the Nokia Center. It was casual but some big artists there too and hosted by Cyndi Lauper who did a fantastic job. Then after those awards, we went through a special entrance to the Staples Center where we were seated for the 5PM Live Telecast.  The seats were amazing. Row 13 and section 112 right by the stage. Seeing this event live makes you truly appreciate what goes into making such an event

grammy set building

grammy set building

happen. While a performer is on one side of the stage, prop guys and art department are literally building a set from the ground up on the other side of the stage virtually in minutes. This years event was star studded and historic with Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, Stevie  Wonder, Carol King, Lindsay Buckingham all present and performing. LL Cool J did an amazing job as host,  and there was not a bad or even mediocre performance, everyone was energizing, spot on and truly AMAZING!! It was a juxtaposed  feeling of surreal and yet seemingly natural to be there all at the same time.

imagine dragons

imagine dragons

(And yes, as I am writing, I’m once again brought back to experience each moment watching snippets of my own video clips once again re-living the night while sitting in my girly grammy t-shirt that came with the ticket.)

After a change of clothes for the after party which was a bit surreal, animated, full of acrobatic performers, and dazzling lights, nothing spared and you could want for nothing here.  There was gourmet food and drinks, performers and MUSIC!! I opted to stay in the main room vs. the JAZZ room. The jazz room featured a performance by Big Bad Voodoo Daddys and the main room  featured a former Grammy artist named Ciara who was tremendous and YAY!!!! BOYZ II MEN!!!! I got right  in front for that one. It was the highlight of my night, and I only made a few people mad squishing my way to the front. I got to shake their hand, and play with balloons that fell out of the ceiling at

Boyz II Men rocked the house

Boyz II Men rocked the house

the end of the show. I felt like a little kid again. Funny enough, I had JUST gotten done speaking with the guitar player in Boyz II Men maybe 20 minutes before the show about the younger generation, vinyl records, 8-tracks and having a bit of a laugh. Of course it was a fluke how we crossed paths to even get into that conversation and I didn’t know he was their guitar player, although I had a feeling. I wanted to ask him if he was going to play with Boyz II Men because I just felt that vibe. But of course I didn’t, and sure enough, there he was, up on stage with them. What a performance and a super great musician this guy was. But you would expect no less from such a superb group who has stood the test of time.

“Boyz II Men were the complete highlight of the Grammy after party and super charged the end of a great night. They engaged the audience with a flawless performance and had amazing musicians in the band. Felt like a kid again playing with balloons that fell from the ceiling after the show. The guitar player was a kindred spirit that I was lucky enough to cross paths with, if only for a moment in time… a great musician, great band, outstanding performance.” – Gina Dagostino on Grammy.com 

Written originally on January 22, 2014:

Even the Gramm’y are going to make the news in Ireland. I shall be in attendance this year. Check out the shenanigans on twitter @ginadag, on my blog, irishchatroom.net and my FB ”LIKE” page : Facebook.com/ginadagostinoinireland

http://grm.my/1eb0LdF #GRAMMYs

GAA Irish Games. “Fair-Play” to Them!!

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Dublin plays at Croke Park

Excited Fans

GAA / A symbol of strength of a nation

Hurling action / Croke Park

Croke Park from the ground up

Park from Above

Croke Park from Above

Croke Park Etihad Skywalk

Entrance to museum and Skywalk tour

Croke Park Entrance to museum and Skywalk tour

This is not only good Craic… but it’s serious business, and these are serious games. GAA founded in 1884 is comprised of two sports ; Football and Hurling. (The Female version of Hurling is Camogi) Hurling is one of the fastest games in the world, played with a “baseball-like” leather ball and a stick called a hurley. At least with this game you can wear a helmet. Must be the luck of the Irish that gave them that gift.  With Gaelic Football anything goes; no protective gear whatsoever. It dwarfs any other game in the world we attempt to call “football”,  be it premiership soccer or American Football (where we look like robots all geared up for outer space, sometimes even requiring oxygen on our own planet). Unlike Rugby, Irish Football is played with a round ball, and although confused by some with the game of Rugby they are completely different. The home of the GAA games isGills Pub Croke Park Stadium, which holds 82,300 people and is Europes fourth largest stadium. Comparatively speaking, in the US for example, my favorite American Football team is the San Diego Chargers which seats 70,561. I’m sure glad they placed that extra chair there just for me. Back to the rules: The object for both GAA games is similar. Each has a net which yields 3 points for a goal, minded by a goalkeeper, and upright posts with a cross bar above the net which yields one point. Either team can score at any time the ball is in their possession. There are 15 players allotted per team. You cannot carry the ball for more than 4 steps in either sport without an advancement of some kind. To advance the ball in Football it is carried, then either hand-passed, bounced, or kicked toe to hand to keep it in play. In the game of Hurling while running with the ball it must be balanced on the Hurley. However, the ball can be thrown, caught, scooped up or hit with the Hurley to advance the ball. The game is 70 minutes of pure adrenaline with no “commercial” breaks and only 1-10 minute intermission. Even if one of these boys gets hurt, the game goes on in hopes he doesn’t get trampled and hurt a second time. These boys are fit; unbelievably fit. Here’s the kicker for ya…(no pun intended), this is the world’s largest AMATEUR sport. You heard me. Not ONE player gets paid. Every man playing does so for the pure love of the sport and representation of his county. Yet they fill one of Europe’s largest stadiums with their fans, nearly to capacity every time. When its GAA season for the quarter, semi-finals and  finals, Croke Park in Dublin is buzzing, or rather, roaring with crowds sporting their colors in all forms of fashion: from flags to hats, Small to large braided yarn wear, jerseys, horns to blow; you name it. The fans are just as proud as the players and come from all over the country (and the world) to see their team. But win or lose, the fans are cordial, friendly and respectful of each other. This is evident when you hit Gills Pub. This is a must-go-to stop, on the way in or out of the stadium. It’s an icon, and only open on game days, teaming with high-spirited fans wearing their county jerseys. I was lucky enough to be given a HUGE County Cork flag (and a lovely kiss on the cheek) by a passer-by when their team won. Although it was more like a 4 person train of “runner by’s as they were bursting with excitement! Lucky was I, and proud to be allowed part of another piece of history in the making. The photographs will speak for themselves for the one football match and two hurling matches I was lucky enough to attend. For seating,  I would highly recommend the lower Hogan stand. Bring a rain jacket if you’re in the first 5 or so front row’s. (Not an umbrella like this stupid American​ did, and then realize you’re a moron when you can’t put it up.) Here’s another bit you may not know. You can enjoy Croke Park to its fullest even when there is not a game to be played. There is a Skywalk tour that EVERYONE must go on. Its spectacular in many ways. Not only for the views, but for the history. Remarkably, the vibrance and energy of a full stadium can be felt without a soul in the stands. I didn’t understand it, but the exhilaration​ and vibe was intense. Walking the top edge 17 stories above the park right down to the bottom edge of the pitch while going into secret corridors gives you a strong sense for how majestic  this stadium really is and how powerful its history, including an infamous bombing attack in 1920 during a capacity game which will be in my next post.  Croke Park also has a museum that is overflowing with history and open, as well, on non-game days. After all that excitement you can imagine my disappointment not being in Ireland for the all Ireland Football final after watching Dublin win the semi-finals. However,  I was lucky enough after returning to the States to find an Irish pub in Temecula, California grown by some Dubliners, who opened their doors at 7AM (8 hours difference) to watch the 3PM football final. They were die-hard fans and a thrill to be around. Fair-play to them, opening so early for a small crowd of about 15.  I was able to wave my Dublin flag in the Dublin V. Mayo football final. Although not many at that pub, (and I, almost the only American), I was proud to wave my flag. (Too bad the bartender couldn’t make a hot whiskey. If you read my other post “experiencing Ireland in the Sates, you can experience the Irish way to have Whiskey) Well, You can’t win ’em all with the drinks, but I was happy to help open the festivities by putting all the chairs down for patrons to sit as the owners were still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. And SO…we DID win ’em all in the end, as Dublin came through as the heroes for the year, which was all that mattered to most of us. ( It must have been my lucky Dublin flag from Croke Park). Camaraderie unlike any other sporting event in the world. It was as close as I could get to being there. Nothing rings more true than the GAA slogan: “NOTHING BEATS  BEING THERE.”

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Experiencing Ireland in the States

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Perspective from the bar

Perspective from the bar

irish times sign (1 of 1)After spending so much time in Ireland and realizing the grace and beauty it holds you seek out anything…. ANYTHING, that can bring you that bit of charm and vibe when you are back at home in the states. I found this at a lovely place called The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant in the famous downtown Saratoga Springs, New York. Not only is it centrally located in upstate New York, but it is owned and operated by a couple from Wexford, Ireland. I’ve been to many irish pubs in other parts of the US, but you know its authentic when you ask for a hot whiskey and they know how to make it: cloves and all. The food is truly spectacular and of course, sports galore on the tele at the nicely spacious bar. The decor is warm, charming and authentically Irish. There is even a supply of “Irish Central” newspapers for your enjoyment. Barry, a friendly barman by day, will take care of your every need. The warm and friendly atmosphere will keep you coming back. Which I did, several times during my stay. A must see even if you’re not on a “pub crawl”.

Pub Crawl day one: Whats the Craic? (The Late bar)

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Traditional Pub vs. the late bar

Traditional Pub vs. the Late Bar

One of the many great things about Ireland is the pub on every corner. (and in between every corner) There have been estimates of anywhere from 9,300 to 17,000 pubs in Ireland. I’m sure there has to be a register somewhere, but look…who’s counting anyway? You tend to lose count after 2 or 3 pubs and 4 Blue WDK’s anyway.  As long as you can still walk (or crawl), you are sure to find one pub more unique then the next; each with its own character and charm.  From pubs to clubs, they are all different in atmosphere and vibe and full of interesting people.

Commonality: just as we Americans like our Sunday football gameday, you can always find a game on the weekends, be it horse racing, Rugby, Hurling (and I don’t mean what you do after too many drinks) or Gaelic football. (which funny enough is referred to as NFL as well). But I will save the GAA/sports talk for the moment. Back to the pub/club scene.

Flannery's

Late Bar

The clubs in Dublin are all very diverse in atmosphere, however they share a common thread. Great DJ’s playing great dance music. You cannot help but get your groove on in these places. I’m referring here to the late bars of course… like Copper Face Jacks, Flannery’s and countless others.  Ireland is interesting with their drink system. Some bars close early, while others ,”the late bars”, stay open till 5am as long as your in the door by 3AM. These are the dance clubs. There is fun to be had here at any age.

This is a whole different animal from the traditional irish music bars, which are plentiful and have some of the most amazing musicians in the world. Check out my post on traditional irish music.  As a side note, for those places that don’t have music at all, you can always count on the “sing-song” that always breaks out just before closing time.

But after all the dancing…and the drinking…and the dancing, getting your very late night greasy food fix from Supermac’s, then off to bed at the wee hours of the morning (if you can find your way home that is… ) you suddenly find a new appreciation for the neighborhood bar. Although Dublin has its share, the outlying suburbs are the best places that truly give you a feel for what the Irish culture is about. Dublin buzzes with a large mix of cultures as one of the great hubs of Europe. But travel 30 minutes or more in any direction and you are very much in Ireland.

Shall we take a moment to speak about Irish drinks? I found that shots, are not all the rage.  At least not our American version of  “extra large put as many alcohols into that moderately sized glass and chug” shots. Which is why I took the liberty of bringing my “ULTIMATE SHOT BIBLE” with me, giving it to my favorite bartender at one of my favorite neighborhood pubs called Madigan’s.

Shots???

Shots???

Madigan’s is in Dublin right on O’Connell Street, in the heart of city center.  The Ultimate Shot Bible was a book they did not quite understand. “Are these cocktails?” “How would we charge for them?” “How do we fit all those ingredients in this little glass?” were the first of many questions posed by the very good but perplexed  barmen. Trying to explain as best I could that we have shot glasses that are about 3 times the size or more of a normal shot glass and that you somehow need to fit all that alcohol with fruity substances in there and chug it down as fast as you can remained a mystery to them. But the good barman himself spent some time studying the book and did utilize a recipe to make a perfect shot for me with 3 liquors … fitting it all in a regular sized shot glass. That was talent, and it was yummy.

Then as fast as you can say “d’yaknowwhatimeanlike?”  I’m traveling  out of the city to spend some time in the country in search of the Irish suburb neighborhood bar, more friends, great music, landscapes history and anything Irish. First stop, Athboy, Co. Meath….

Next post… Traditional Pubs and Traditional Irish Music