The first thing I learned while in Ireland is that the locals will tell you a rule, and the immediately disregard it. They are habitual line crossers!
They will tell you all about the rule, and then they immediately break it! And I love this! I absolutely adore it, and hope that I can bring a little more of this Irish spirit to my own life.
The following is one such story:
It was about 10:00 in the morning, and it was the first day of my trip in which the intermittent Irish rain arrived. I was about 31 miles into my ride and had just climbed the Ballaghisheen Pass.
After conquering this challenge the reward is riding downhill! But, speeding down a wet road on two skinny tires at high speeds is scary!
I was white-knuckling it and riding the brakes hard through beautiful wide open landscape. By the time I reached the bottom of the hill I was soaked and was cold in my bones.
Shivering, and with my toes in a puddle that used to be my shoes, I pulled into the small hamlet of Glencar. I noticed a few cars in a parking-lot next to a little hostel/pub, a good sign that it was open (something I had rotten luck with throughout my trip!). I leaned my bike against the building and shuffled inside.
I started peeling the soggy layers of bike clothes off my frozen limbs and a weathered man enjoying his morning Guiness immediately questioned my sanity for riding my bike in that weather. “Doesn’t look like a fun thing to do.”
Well, he wasn’t exactly wrong in the moment.
The barmaid appeared:
Barmaid: What can I get you?
Me: Do you serve lunch?
Barmaid: Well, I can’t serve you lunch. But I can make you a toasted special.
After explaining to me that a toasted special is in fact, a sandwich, I thought about the barmaid’s statement:
You can’t serve me lunch, but you can make me a toasted special?
What?! How is that not the same thing? Is this a rule? What does this even mean?
Oh I don’t even care! YES PLEASE A SANDWICH!
I silently thanked my lucky stars to have this line-crossing rule-breaker here to help.
Barmaid: Would you like: ham, ham and cheese, or ham, cheese and tomato?
Me, starving and sopping wet: Yes, please, ham and cheese would be lovely!
Me: Oh yes please!
Barmaid: And would you like tea with that?
Me: Yes, yes that would be amazing. Thank you.
Can we talk about tea for a moment? Oh tea. Where have you been all my life?
Maybe I should have led with this because many of you dear readers are British, but this was the first time I really understood the wonderful, comforting and warming power of tea. And now I get it. Tea has officially become a constant in my day-to-day life.
I am so grateful for that small pub on a soggy day for introducing me the glory of a toasted special and tea.
So it seems that Irish silver linings are served with ham, cheese and tea.