Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with my favourite Irish writers!

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{Cliffs of Moher on my last trip to Ireland}

One of my favourite things about visiting Ireland is their admiration for their literary heros. I’m not sure it’s possible to not be reminded of James Joyce or Oscar Wilde while you’re there. Their literary history is constantly referenced throughout the country. I love that. I don’t see a lot of monuments to Canadian literary icons when wandering around here. Not to say that there aren’t any, I just haven’t seen them.

Anyway, last year I posted My 5 Little Bits about Ireland and this year I thought I’d add to it. As I mentioned, Ireland has a rich literary history. Without a doubt, that tradition has continued to this day. In fact, I find that many of my favourite writers are Irish women. Here are my top two. If you haven’t read a book by these ladies recently, I suggest you pick one up!

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{Source}

Sheila O’Flanagan: I was introduced to Sheila O’Flanagan’s books when my parents received a recommendation from a bookstore employee. I was working at a resort at the time and they included it as part of a care package. I’m not sure which book I read first but after that moment, I made sure to finish her entire catalog. Her latest, “Better Together” focused on life in a small town from the perspectives of two different women. The first, Sheridan, a young woman who’s just lost her job, boyfriend and apartment and Nina whose husband of decades has found national fame and isn’t sure if the small town life is right for him anymore. The book struck a perfect balance of the romance of new love and the difficulties that may come with older relationships.

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{Source}

Marian Keyes: Upon my discovery of Sheila O’Flanagan, I started looking for Irish authors specifically. Marian Keyes was another terrific find. I loved the way she marries serious situations with romantic comedy. I particularly like her series about the Walsh sisters which has been spread out over a decade with a book focuses on each one. The latest in the series, “The Mystery of Mercy Close“, has sister Helen a private investigator, trying to track down a missing member of a newly reunited boyband. While trying to solve the case, she’s also struggling with depression which she has been hospitalized with before. Although, you would think this would be a completely maudlin story, it’s actually very interesting and quite funny.

Who are you favourite Irish writers? How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day! My 5 Favourite Bits of Ireland

I’ve been so out of it for the last week or so. I’ve been stressed out about various things and when I’m stressed, I kind of shut down and hide away.  I even started grinding my teeth again which is awesome! Fortunately, everything has been sorted out for now. 🙂

Here’s a post I meant to create on St. Paddy’s Day! I’ve been fortunate to visit Ireland twice. The first time was during my nine week European backpacking trip in 2003. Yikes! That’s a long time ago! During that trip I spent the weekend in Dublin. The second trip was a couple of years back to visit a friend who moved to Galway for the year. I spent two weeks on the western side of Ireland and I absolutely loved it. Ireland is such a magical place I’m sure everyone who visits falls under its spell.

I apologize as this is likely to be a long post.

My 5 Favourite Bits of Ireland:

1. Aran Islands
I only visited the Aran Islands during a day trip but if I had an endless supply of time and money I’d definitely spend several days exploring the islands. I only ventured onto Inishmore and it was as though this bit of Ireland was stuck in time. Just beautiful. To find out more about the Aran Islands, visit their website.

Here’s a view from Dún Aonghasa. I have to admit I was afraid to blow off.
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From within Dún Aonghasa
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Other shots of Inishmore
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Leprechaun house! You have no idea how much this made the trip for me. On Inishmore, a lot of the homes had these mini leprechaun houses. Apparently they bring good luck but I imagine that it could also be for the tourists. Either way, how cute! I’ll so be building one when I buy a home.

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2. Once
Everything about this movie is perfection. It’s the perfect thing to watch while you’re having a lazy day in with a mug of tea. This song is perfection.

3. The Claddagh
Both the place and the ring. I’ve wanted a Claddagh ring ever since Angel gave it to Buffy in the nineties. So when I found myself in Galway, I had to get one. Of course, now people like to tell me that the Sister Wives use them. 😦
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4. Connemara
Such gorgeous landscapes!
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5. Galway Girl by Sharon Shannon & Steve Earl.
Not exactly Irish but I heard it everywhere when I was over there. I’m sure every band in every pub has to play it.

More photos can be found on Flickr.

Have you ever been to Ireland? What did you love? If you haven’t been and want to go, what would you like to see?  I haven’t been to Northern Ireland yet but I’d love to go particularly for Giant’s Causeway.

Happy Leap Year!

Hello lovelies!

Did you do anything special for Leap Year this year? I’ve never thought of it as a special day before but last week it occured to me that I should do something special to remember the day for every leap year that follows. Does that make sense? So today I went out and bought myself an floral arrangement just because.

February 29, 2012

Isn’t it pretty? I never buy floral arrangements for myself unless they’re the sale bouquets at Safeway but that’s not really the same thing is it? It turns out that a lot of people don’t. In fact, when the florist asked me if I’d like a card for the arrangement, I said, “Nope. They’re for me.” She said that it was the first time she’s ever heard that. REALLY?! It made me a bit sad but it’s often the case that you’d splash out for a loved one before you’d splash out on yourself.

Anyway, considering today is Leap Year it also reminded me of this terrible movie.

Photo credit.

Ok I’m probably being a bit harsh. There are a lot of good points to this movie. I LOVE Amy Adams and I love the scenic views of Ireland. Those two things sell the movie for me already and I would probably watch it again. However, the thought that you’re only “allowed” to propose to a man one day every four years is a  bit grating. I also was really annoyed with the geography in the movie. Anyone with a basic understanding of the UK and Ireland would know that you wouldn’t aim to end up in Dingle if you were leaving from Wales and heading to Dublin. Not that you would care if you didn’t know that.

Sometimes I think I get too distracted by unimportant things like that in movies.  The same thing happened to me when watching The Tudors. I got so distracted by the fact that I was so sure Henry’s sister Margaret didn’t marry the King of Portugal. It was so distracting I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I had to stop watching *nerd*. Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, I will say that Leap Year is definitely worth watching if only for the stunning Irish landscapes that make up the backdrop to the movie (even if they aren’t where they say they are). There’s not enough movies shot in Ireland if you ask me. Actually, I think I’ve kind of talked myself into watching it tonight. lol. I hope it’s on Netflix!!

Did you do anything special for Leap Year?