I haven’t poured my heart out about Ireland in a while. Over the course of a couple trips, my husband and I accumulated a nice collection of cardboard coasters from various pubs we shared a Guinness or two in. I made it a habit to write on each, what pub we were at, the city and the date, as well as nuances around us that we could remember and giggle at later. Well, I would giggle and he could belly laugh. Anyway, we found a full size Ireland poster and I’ve started to plot a small selection of the coasters according to region. I create many things, but this is one that really makes us reminisce and long for just another pint. It’ll be a highlight of our bar…whenever we create that.
Saint Paddy’s Day will be here soon. Last year I spent the holiday having major surgery. The anesthesiologists told me that the stuff I’d be getting was much stronger than my Irish whiskey. They were right.
Although St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal for our family, I hadn’t been too devastated because we had returned from Ireland only a couple months before. My husband still swore he’d dress in his annual Leprechaun costume for the occasion, but luckily he didn’t. Though part of me would have liked to see the looks on people’s faces as he sat in that surgical waiting room, in one of the country’s best hospitals, with tights and a top hat.
We enjoy Irish whiskey any time of the year, but the Irish season is amongst us in America and I thought about our trip to Bushmills in Northern Ireland. Alongside many brands of Irish whiskey, Bushmills is a classic. Most startling was when we took the tour and saw Jameson bottles being pushed along the rolling conveyor belt. Come to find out, that Jameson drives tanker trucks from the southern tip of Ireland to the northern one, as they have a deal to use Bushmills as a bottling plant. I find it hard to believe this economic reasoning, but whatever it is, it is humorous to have the #2 Irish whiskey in the world, bottling the #1 guy’s stuff.
We also discovered the greatest job in the world; if you enjoy whiskey that is. Bushmills whiskey is blended, with other malts and derivatives of other flavored casks for the best flavor. The master blender, Helen, tastes and tests the blends of Bushmills. That is her job. Our guide said she’s picked up and driven home each day because her job is to drink whiskey. Whether that was a bit of Irish humor or not, I like to believe that Helen has the greatest job in Ireland.
We had such a great day at Bushmills. My husband and I only take tours that truly interest us, and not for the sake of adding admission tickets to our scrapbook. I can’t remember a time that we didn’t connect with the guide and develop further conversation as the day progressed. We ask questions and honestly want to learn. This day was no different. We ended up having our complimentary tasting and a few more, thanks to the generous tour guide when we went back to the tasting room. We sat amongst a gigantic copper still and enjoyed some of the greatest things Ireland has to offer; whiskey and banter. Our love for Ireland doesn’t end with these two things, but we’ll save more for another day.