A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

back it up, back it up, back it up March 29, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 4:21 pm

Oh my. It’s been FOREVER since I last wrote. I think April 2015–a terrible, terrible lapse on my part.

There’s a reason why, but I’ll get to that in some later posts. For now, I want to back the blog up. Since I consider this blog more personal and less about the readers (though I love anyone who reads this blog and truly think I must usually bore you to death) I want to preserve my memories here. So pardon the next few posts, which are purely so that one day when I’m old and can’t remember how to pee, I’ll have an online record of all I did.

I’m backing it up to June 2015 when I went back to Ireland. Why Ireland again, you may wonder. Because I love that damn country, and I would travel back there any day of the week.


I once again flew Air Canada Rouge and as you can see from the first few photos, there cheaper prices mean really small, uncomfortable seats. I think I’m a pretty small person, and even I was uncomfortable. But that’s traveling on the cheap.

I met up with a friend that I made last time I was in Ireland, and we vacationed together. I didn’t spend any time in Dublin or Galway since I had already been there, so as soon as he picked me up from the airport we headed to Northern Ireland, aka the UK.

We took the black cab tour, which focuses on the war zones of the IRA. It was actually quite devastating. But I learned a few things:

  1. The people of Northern Ireland do not want to be part of Ireland. A common saying I heard was “queen first, Irish second.” The people of Ireland also do not want the people of Northern Ireland to be part of their country. I have to say, this was so odd to me. I spent most of the day confused, but if both sides seem happy then who am I to judge?
  2. I guess I didn’t realize how new this war was. I met quite a few locals who said things like “Oh, I’ve been to the United States. Connecticut/Alabama/Kentucky” and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how an Irishman ends up in Alabama. But then I learned that thousands of Irish children had been shipped off to the states for safety reasons living with American foster families connected through Catholic or Protestant churches. The locals I met who had been sent to live in the United States until it was safe to return were just a little bit older than me. That was shocking.
  3. Never, except in Northern Ireland, was I asked whether I was Protestant or Catholic. I mean, it felt like that was everyone’s first question after “where are you from?” Answering became tricky so I started going with Buddhist. Below is the Peace Bridge in Derry: an absolute gorgeous town with lots of political people.28
  4. Even after the tour  I was so utterly confused that I bought a history book to read when I got home. At the bookstore when I asked where I could find a good history book, I was honestly asked, “Do you want one that is biased or unbiased?” Ummm…how about unbiased??? How can that even be a question??? But it was an adorable bookstore.29
  5. The last picture is my favorite: “I can’t change the world but I can change the world in me.” If that isn’t capital T, Truth, then I don’t know what is.


We went to Giant’s Causeway, which is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It was cool, I guess. The ocean is spectacular, but I was freezing. Everyone was talking about how hot it was. It was 60 degrees. That’s not hot, people.

We then went to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. Now this was beautiful. I could have lived in the tiny cottage I took a picture of.


From there we traveled to Castle Leslie, which was STUNNNG!!! Located in County Monaghan, it is best known for being the wedding site of Paul McCartney’s marriage to Heather Mills. Their marriage might not have lasted, but their wedding was probably spectacular.

After our jaunt in Northern Ireland, we zoomed back to Dublin, caught a flight (RYAN AIR–best deal for flights throughout Europe ever!) to Rome, Italy for a day and then to Sardinia for another day and a half. I know this is unpopular to say, but I did not like Rome at all–except for the food and wine. It was hot, so crowded, and kind of dirty. And I hate to be such an American bad tourist, but that coffee below is a LARGE???? I just don’t understand that. If you want to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and chat with your friends then that conversation will last about 2 minutes. I think I’d like to go back in the off-season. I’m dying to see all the historic places, but that seemed impossible during tourist season.


I enjoyed Sardinia much more. It was cooler, less crowded, and a beach resort. We happened to be there during the famous Rally d’Italia Sardegna, which is held on narrow, twisty, sandy and bumpy mountain roads around the town of Alghero. All car companies seem to compete and it was fun to see part of it, but I was especially impressed with the police’s Lamborghini.


While we went to many, many beautiful towns in Ireland, Adare was my absolute favorite. They had the thatched roof buildings (although from one of the pics you can see how easy those roofs catch on fire) and just overall, it was adorable.


Adare also had the most charming and beautiful church. I mean, it’s a tiny town with an amazing church!


Our second to last stop was the town of Dingle, where everyone gets excited to see….wait for it…a dolphin. I guess I’m being a snob because I’m from California and see dolphins all the time, but these Irish folks were over the moon about possibly seeing…one dolphin.


I finished my trip in Cork, Ireland where I had the privilege of seeing BECK play. I’ve seen Beck a few times before, but this show was my favorite.


After a long night at the show, I caught a bus to Dublin, and boarded my no-room-plane home. I miss Ireland every day, but I should probably think of going somewhere else in the future. But maybe not.