I have nine days left before I fly back from Ireland to the United States. Nine! A nine day vacation is plenty, so being here for a month has been downright luxurious. Here are some more highlights:
I walk for miles every day. I have a 15 minute walk to class, and most everything I want to do is a 20-30 minute walk from my apartment. I’m going to Arizona in less than a month to hike, so this somewhat prepares me for that. Somewhat.
Chips (french fries) are served with everything. They’re thick cut, served scalding hot, and delicious, especially with a side of malt vinegar. Every restaurant serves chips, from the traditional fish & chip shops, the late night kebab spot, and the Chinese restaurant next to campus housing.
Dublin was okay. I’m not a big city person, but I’m glad I went. My favorite part of Dublin was when I broke away from my group and explored it on my own. I was content with sitting in a coffee shop and rereading Dubliners, which I picked up at a street market for €3. And the best meal I’ve had so far in Ireland was in Dublin at Kathmandu, so that counts for something.
There are lots of tour buses in Ireland, which makes it easy to access many parts of the country without a car. They’re relatively inexpensive (€39 for an all day tour) and my drivers have all been entertaining. I booked a tour of the Ring of Kerry with Paddywagon Tours, and I’m planning another one to see the Cliffs of Moher. Yes, it’s touristy and yes, I wish I had more time at each place we stopped, but for the price and convenience I was okay with this.
Coffee is different here. It’s not as strong and it has too much milk for my taste. I learned to just order regular black coffee.
No mosquitos! No cockroaches! I’ve been blissfully aware of the lack of bugs here. I’m in for a rude awakening when I’m back in New Orleans.
The locals are friendly. I feel safe walking the streets but I still make a point to be aware of my surroundings.
Pizza is everywhere here.
It hasn’t rained nearly as much as I thought it would.
photos: Blarney Castle. My favorite part was the gardens. |Mussels at Kitty O’ Ses in Kinsale. One of the best I’ve had in Ireland. |Street scene in Dublin.| Ireland is unbelievably green, and the colors deepen to an even more unbelievable green after it rains. | Waterville, a little village on the Ring of Kerry.
My first week of classes in Ireland is over. Everything is happening at a lightening fast pace. It’s intense, in the best way possible. I enrolled in two classes (scriptwriting and creative non-fiction workshop) and we’re packing an entire semester’s worth of material into four weeks. I’m making new connections that will hopefully extend past my time here, and I interact with the locals as much as I can. (I’m looking at you, Monday night karaoke at Old Oak.)
While in Ireland I’ve noticed several differences from our culture in the United States. Some are subtle, some are noteworthy, and the longer I’m here the more I become attuned to. Here are some of the things I’ve picked up on so far.
Euros are somewhat cumbersome. There is paper money, but denominations of €2 and less are coins. I feel silly counting out a meal in coins, but it’s the norm here. Ireland is about to get rid of their one cent piece (1/100 of a euro), which, according to a wine shop owner I conversed with, really won’t affect the locals, except for charity boxes. There are boxes everywhere for people to drop change in, including bars, restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. He thought the elimination of the one cent piece might put charities at a disadvantage.
In general, everything is a little bit cheaper here. Some things are remarkably cheaper, whereas other items (like grapes) I find more expensive. Even the most touristy of places charge much less than what I’m accustomed to paying in the US.
Don’t bother buying an electrical adapter in the U.S. if you can help it. Electrical adapters are readily available for under €4 and work just as well as ones that cost $20 in the states.
My American Southern roots are showing. People are friendly but don’t make eye contact with each other on the street. I’m used to telling everyone hello, opening doors for people, and waving at strangers when passing by their house on my bike. I asked someone on the street for directions and she seemed startled that I approached her.
It’s refreshing to see not everyone is glued to their phones here. Except for a solo diner, I haven’t noticed people sitting around at bars and restaurants on their phones. I’m digging it.
I love the nuance of language. Irish phrases are just more pleasant than some of the vernacular we use back home. I was chatting with a warden (resident assistant) at campus housing about the weather. “Yes, it looks like it’s about to break cloud,” she said. My American inclination was to say something far less eloquent, such as, “looks like it’s about to dump out there,” or, “It’s getting nasty out there.”
photos: wildflowers grow in the cracks on the stone wall that runs down the street I take to campus, group shot in front of Blarney Castle, Charles Fort in Kinsdale, Ireland
I just arrived in Ireland and am so. flipping. excited. I will be here for a month (!!!) in Cork with UNO’s Writing Workshop. My first thought upon landing- I can’t get over how green it is here. I mean, way to live up to your reputation, Ireland. I flew from New Orleans to New Jersey, then touched down in Shannon and hopped on a bus to Cork. The bus ride was pleasant, with lush, idyllic landscapes straight out of a fairytale. The weather is perfect, especially coming from humidity laden New Orleans. I regret not bringing more sweaters, but I can live with that #firstworldproblem.
I’ve only been here for one full day and have so much to process. The city center (what I would call downtown) is walking distance from campus. There are enough recognizable names (H&M, Subway ) for the place to feel familiar, but there are also enough differences to encourage exploration. My mission is to only eat and drink food and beverages that I can’t consume at home. So far I’ve been somewhat successful, although I did buy a bottle of Jameson for a little nightcap.
Classes start on Monday, and I’m grateful we have some time to orient ourselves before diving into coursework. The University College Cork campus is stunningly beautiful. UCC, established in 1845, is one of three Queen’s colleges, which opened its doors under the reign of Queen Victoria. Limestone buildings are draped with ivy, and the earliest structure dates back to 1810.
I will be documenting my trip here, but you can also follow me on Instagram for more pictures.
Firsts: fish & chips from Jackie Lennox Chip Shop, first night’s view at Victoria Mills Lodge, first view of Ireland from the plane, first Guinness in Cork at Edison. All photos taken on my iPhone.
Christmas in New Orleans doesn’t even come close to the images commonly found on holiday greeting cards. One week we’re bundled up in boots and coats, the next week it’s perfectly acceptable to run errands in a t-shirt and flip flops.
I’m out of my normal routine because of my winter break at school, and the holidays have put me in a sugary slump thanks to overindulging in hot chocolate (even when the temperature reached 70 degrees this week), cookies, and pie. Instead of sitting around the house stuffing my face some more, I grabbed my camera, hopped on my bicycle, and went for a midnight ride down Saint Charles Avenue last night and attempted to photograph some New Orleans Christmas lights. I should have put a tripod on my holiday wish list (never mind that I don’t really celebrate), but these pictures came out okay despite not having one.
I’ve been enjoying three days off thanks to Christmas, and spending time with my sister while she’s in town. From watching bad reality shows at mom’s house on Xmas day, to introducing our dogs, a Greyhound and a French Bulldog, to each other and watching them fight over toys, it’s been a fun holiday break.
Our to do list also included supping at Matt & Naddies, a quaint bistro “where Freret meets the river.” With no hype or pretense, it’s certainly an underrated spot where only locals or in the know tourists go. I’ve been to Matt & Naddies a handful of times, and it never disappoints. Any excuse for a stellar meal- awww hell we don’t need an excuse, just good company and a reservation.
Filters and layouts result in album cover worthy iPhone pictures of my cats & neighborhood graveyard.
Oversized hoop earrings: c/o Rue Belle Maui Paris
Grey sweater: Cynthia Rowley via TJ Maxx
Celine sunglasses, silk headscarf, F21 skirt, NWT Lucky Brand leggings, and Big Buddha bow shoes via Buffalo Exchange
Local art & the shrimp bowl at Sarita’s on Freret Street.
There’s been some changes here at Slow Southern Style headquarters. Fear not, this blog isn’t going away, but I have so many exciting projects going on that I can’t spread myself too thin. To reflect all of my projects, I’ve changed my Twitter and Instagram handles to @ChristyLorio. Super creative, right?
Here are a few links things I’ve been working on that y’all might be interested in.
The New Orleans Free People store is creating a retail winter wonderland this Saturday, December 15th to help get you in the holiday shopping spirit. From styling sessions, delectable treats, to a live performance by New Orleans own Elli Perry, this will be one shopping event you won’t want to miss.
Purchases over $150 are eligible for a raffle for one of two $25 Free People gift cards, and there are free giveaways with every purchase. RSVP on the Facebook event page here and tell them Slow Southern Style sent ya!
While everyone else worked themselves into a shopping tizzy, I’ve been internet bashing Black Friday all weekend long. It’s not that I don’t like to shop, but I just can’t hype myself up into a consumer frenzy just to save a few bucks. Make no mistake, I’m all about saving money but fighting an angry mob ain’t my thing. And when the only message being thrown out there is BUY BUY BUY, it just ruins the holiday spirit.
My gifting philosophies don’t end at Christmas- my husband and I don’t go all out anymore for the Hallmark card holidays. A bouquet of flowers feels less obligatory, more special, on a random day of the week.
Check out the links below for snark, satire, and honest opinions.
Once relegated to hipsters or maw maws (that’s grandma, if you didn’t know), tacky Christmas sweater parties are pretty much de rigeur these days. With so many people hitting up thrift stores, eBay, or the back of mom’s closet, the supply doesn’t always meet the demand. It can also be unpredictably hot at this time of year, at least on the Gulf Coast. No one wants to be stuck in scratchy, acrylic knitwear when even the mistletoe is wilting.
Local t-shirt shop Skip & Whistle heeded the call and designed a collection of fun, tacky Christmas sweater t-shirts, an excellent alternative that ensures you can be comfortable and not be mistaken for a scrooge. Pick one up now at a special price during Fab.com’s sale by clicking here. Or, if you’re the type that would rather get a last minute gift (hey, some people work better under pressure) visit their Etsy shop at anytime.
This holiday season Bourbon & Boots, one of my favorite online retailers, is giving you a chance to win a $5000 shopping spree with their Pinterest contest Bourbon & Boots: Christmas is on us. Simply create a board, pin your favorite Bourbon & Boots products, and encourage your friends and family to repin. To help get you started I’ve created my own board on Pinterest, highlighting some of our favorites (my sis is helping me pin away), and be sure to create your own for a very southern holiday season.