Ireland: Land of Beers, Breakfasts, and Beastie Friends

You’ll be glad to know that Finn McSpool has made it safely home after over two weeks of traipsing around the land of his birth. I was ready to jump into all the adventures this wooly monster had in Kilkenny, Cork, the Aran Islands, and Dublin, but Finn insisted on a post to highlight his favorite parts of his Irish homecoming: the beers, the breakfasts, and some very special (and very monstrous) friends he made in between breakfast time and beer time.

The Most Important Meal of the Day: The Irish Breakfast

Also known in more honest terms as the Irish Fry, this is a meat-and-calorie laden meal that will keep beasties and humans full until late in the afternoon. On his first morning in Kilkenny, Finn was eager to fuel his day out with one of these hearty breakfasts.

finn mcspool, irish breakfast, ireland

“Wait a minute. What in the world is this? Fruit? Yogurt? Is it at least fried yogurt?”

“Sorry, Finn, but those of us not made of wool and stuffing need to eat a few healthy items.”

Soon enough though, “real” breakfast was dropped in front of him. He was too busy gnashing his way through the scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh-baked scone to notice I hadn’t ordered him the full Irish.

finn mcspool, irish breakfast, ireland

As if all this wasn’t enough, on our final day in Kilkenny, our wonderful host Josephine of Carriglea B&B filled our bags with some fresh-out-of-the-oven apple muffins for our onward journey. You know, just in case the 10,000-calorie breakfast didn’t see us through.

There were no home baked treats in Cork, but once we made our way to the Aran Islands, Finn was in hog heaven once again. Not sure how the hogs feel about this pork-filled breakfast, but…

finn mcspool, irish breakfast, ireland

And just as my arteries were starting to flow freely, on our final day in Dublin, Finn managed to cram in one more massive plate of cholesterol…

Irish Beastie Meets Irish Beer

Longtime followers of Finn will know that this Beastie loves his beer. And since alcohol is a solvent for lipids, it only makes sense that once the stomach starts to rumble, you should fill it with beer to wash away any lingering fat from breakfast. Science!

However, a beer that’s nearly twice as tall as yourself, might be overdoing it.

“You doing okay, Finn?”

 

“Perfectly shhplendid. Why do you ashk?”

“No reason.”

finn mcspool, guinness, ireland, beer

And then there was this. Luckily Finn doesn’t weigh much so he’s easy to carry home, if needed.

finn mcspool, guinness, ireland, beer

Still, Beasties must have amazing abilities to metabolize alcohol because by the time Mr Husband and I were done with our dinners, Finn was ready for more drinking. A lot more drinking!

finn mcspool, guinness, ireland, beer

Let’s just be glad Finn doesn’t have the skill (or muscles) to tap kegs!

By the time we made it to Dublin, this little monster was getting bored with his usual pint of the black stuff. Luckily, his maker, Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties, had the perfect cure for stout-overload and booked us in at Open Gate Brewery, the more experimental side of the Guinness World. The three humans each got a sampler of four craft beers, but it didn’t take long for Finn to claim them as his own.

finn mcspool, beer, ireland, guinness, open gate brewery

“So, what are you guys having?”

Most of these beers are a bit stronger than your usual Guinness, and it took even less time for the results of his hoppy gluttony to become apparent.

But that Beastie metabolism kicked in and he managed one more glass of a super tasty IPA.

finn mcspool, beer, ireland, guinness, open gate brewery

Loads of New Friends Including Some Wonderfully Wooly Ones

As you know, Finn loves making friends on his travels. Whether it’s cats in Italy, surfers in Hawaii, or giant pickles in Portland, he’s always ready to meet the locals. In Kilkenny, he had chat with this representative of the Kilkenny Cats hurling team.

ireland, finn mcspool, kilkenny cats

Also in Kilkenny, at the castle, Finn met up with this fellow who, if I remember right, represents the River Suir. Regardless of who he is, he looks like he’s already downed a pint or two himself despite it only being about 10am!

finn mcspool, kilkenny, ireland,

I’ll save all the friends Finn met on the Aran Islands for a later post, but when he got to Dublin, he was eager to get his photo taken with a couple celebrities. He got a bit too friendly with Molly Malone one morning, and I really hope there isn’t a sexual harassment suit in Finn’s future.

finn mcspool, ireland, molly malone

Although I always though he’d be fun and witty, Oscar Wilde didn’t even glance at Finn. Guess fame has gone to his head and he no longer has time for the little people monsters.

finn mcspool, ireland, oscar wilde, merrion square

Luckily, there were better friends to be made in Dublin including Finn’s maker. On our very first day in the big city, it was group photo time. That’s the world famous Explorer Beastie there on the right and, as you can see, from his work at Crawcrafts Beasties he’s a natural in front of the camera. The other three Beasties, just don’t seem to know where to look.

But wait, who are those other two Beasties? Well, strange things happen on an island that is so full of mysterious creatures and legends. Sometimes, you may find yourself Beastie-fied. That’s right, let me introduce you to Tammie and Mr Husband Beastie (aka “my birthday present from Mr Husband”).

As you can see, Helen really had her work cut out for her not only with two different outfits for these monsters (see dress and Hawaiian shirt in the first photo versus the Aran Island sweaters above), but also with loads of accessories, including a couple Hop Monster IPAs, a sandwich, cookie, satchel, backpack, sketchbook, Ireland guide book, and even a copy of every Beasties’ favorite book The Trials of Herc-Woolies!

Finn was a little jealous of the new Beasties at first, but he soon warmed up to Tammie Beastie. Wait, no, I think he just wanted to steal her cookie. Ah well, it’s a start.

Finn will be back in a couple weeks to begin his official Trip Report to show off all the sites he saw in between the breakfasting, beering, and befriending. And be sure to stop by Wednesday for a super exciting announcement from my writing world!!!

See you then!

 

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The Beastie of a Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Céad míle fáilte (a 100,000 welcomes) from the Emerald Isle!

That’s right, the Beastie has landed! Finn McSpool is in Ireland, the land of his birth, for a couple weeks and is having far too much fun (read: drowning in stout and other libations) to do much of a post this week.

Still, you know how he is. Despite the jet lag, he’s been eager for as many photo ops as possible and wanted to share a few pics to tide you over until he can start on a full trip report a couple Saturdays from now.

So, from Finn and myself (and Mr Husband, too), “Tabhair aire!!” and “Slán go fóill!

There we were, enjoying a nice cuppa, then Finn decided the tea cozy would look better on him than the teapot.

 

Enjoying a sunny day and cooling his paws in the grass at Charles Fort in Kinsale.

Ooh, breakfast!

Finn declared he had found his Irish roots. Then I told him those were tubers.

See you next Wednesday with another peek at the myths that went into creating my upcoming book, The Bonds of Osteria.

PS – Apologies for any non-Finn weirdness with this post. Let’s just say the WordPress app is a nightmare to edit on.

Finn McSpool Plans to Meet His Maker

Ooh, that’s an ominous title, isn’t it? It’s quite true, though, and I didn’t even know about it.

See, the other day, I heard some paper rustling. Since I was cranking out a novel and had my notebook firmly pinned down with my writing hand, I knew it wasn’t my paper.

It was time for a writing break (aka “make-sure-the-monster-hasn’t-gotten-into-any-trouble break”) anyway, so I went to see what trouble Finn might be getting into.

Uh-oh.

“Finn, are you plotting world domination with those maps?”

“Nope.”

Okay, maybe I’ve gotten a bit wary from his other rabble-rousing antics and his desire to “help” me with my projects around the house, but I didn’t fully trust this quick response. Then I noticed Finn had designed his own little travel journal.

“Are you going somewhere, Finn?”

“Yep.”

These succinct answers were making me nervous. Could the travel journal actually be his notes for world domination? But before I could sneak a peek, he’d pushed it off to the side and had pulled out some light reading. This giant tome started to clue me in on what might be going on.

“Finn, hey Finn.”

“Yes?”

“Are you going to Ireland?”

“How did you know!? Are you a fortune teller, too?”

“No, I leave the fortune telling up to the Great Finnisky. Are you really going to Ireland?”

“Yep. And I’m going to meet my maker.”

“Ah cool, can I go?”

“Well…..”

“Ah, c’mon, I take you on all my trips.”

“Not ALL your trips.” (Cue disgruntled Beastie noise.)

“Okay, I left you home ONCE when I went hiking a few weeks ago. You would have been scared of the witch’s house anyway.”

“True.”

“So, I can go?”

“Sure!”

“Yay!! Thanks Finn!”

“I’ve even found a nice place for us to stay, complete with flowers that color-coordinate with my skin tone.”

Not my highest priority when picking places to stay, but….

I’d like to think this invitation was an act of generosity on Finn’s part, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because I’m the only one who knows where his passport is.

Either way, we’ll be heading to Ireland in the near future, which means plenty of Beastie fun and bloggy fodder. And yes, we are hoping to meet Finn’s maker, Helen Crawford of Crawcrafts Beasties while we’re in Dublin.

By the way, if you’re brave enough to risk letting a monster into your life, you should really go check out Helen’s fancy new website and maybe pick up a Beastie of your own!

I’ll be back next Wednesday with more from my writing world, and Finn will be back next week with his first photos from the Emerald Isle!! See you then!

How about you? Any monstrous plans coming up? Any trips planned in the near future? Been to Ireland recently and have tips to share? Tell me all about it in a comment below.

 

Finn Sees Into the Fruity Future

It’s another couple weeks that Finn McSpool hasn’t gotten out and about. While he’s complaining that this is ruining his chances to have the paparazzi chase him down and slap his photo on the cover of a gossip magazine, I have assured him that a BIG adventure is coming his way very soon.

Luckily, Beasties don’t have the greatest of attention spans and Finn was soon bragging about  his new talent: Seeing into the future. He did note that he needed to be amongst nature for the skill to work. Curious about this newfound skill (and hoping it might relate to lottery numbers), I followed him out to the garden.

Finn scurried on his tiny little legs, then halted at the edge of the patio, put his paw to his head, and, in a rather mystical voice (I wondered why he’d been practicing that), stated, “Behold! Future strawberries!”

“Gee, Finn, thats, um….impressive?”

My lack of awe for the Great Finnisky’s new talent didn’t stop him from scrambling up my espalier and proclaiming, “And here, I see future pears.”

Actually, I started to hope he did have some insight into the future since I’ve yet to get a pear off that tree. “Okay Great Finnisky, what do you see on the other espalier?”

“Puh-leeassse, that’s not even worth my powers. Even the least powerful oracle could see those are going to be currants in the near future.”

Understanding he wanted a challenge (and since he’d already gotten distracted from his visions by the chance to climb up a trellised vine), I said, “Tell me what the future holds for that vine you’re in, then.”

“Hmm, a tough one, not so willing to give up its secrets…”

“You don’t know, do you?”

“I fear the Great Finnisky’s Sight is not so clear in this part of the garden.”

“It’s a chocolate vine.”

“Ooh, chocolate!!!”

“No, don’t get too excited. It’s just an Akebia vine that produces bizarre fruit that smell a bit like chocolate.”

“So, it doesn’t grow Hershey bars?”

“Sorry, nope. Any other visions of the future?”

Finn–sorry, the Great Finnisky, shimmied down the akebia and dashed across the lawn toward the birdbath. Maybe his “Sight” isn’t so good in this part of the garden either because he had to get a reallllly close up look to see the future of his next customer.

“Yes, another tough one, but something’s coming from this one in the very near future. And I see before me…..future honeyberries!!!”

“Wow! I am impressed the Great Finnisky knew that one. How did you–?”

But before I could find out how the Great Finnisky learned about honeyberries, he was back to being Normal Finn and wanting his picture taken with plants that matched his purple and white coloring…

I thought we were finally done, but before I could get back to work, Finn saw a perfect photo op with some tulips and bluebells…

…but when he tried to climb the tulips it was time to rein in the Great Finnisky for the day!

How about you? Any future hopes for your garden? Any plants coming to life after this horribly long non-springy spring? Have a great weekend everyone and see you next Wednesday!!

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Finn McSpool Springs Into Easter

With a busy writing schedule lately, I haven’t had time to take Finn McSpool on any local or far away adventures, but he said, “That’s no excuse not to do a blog post about me!” (because you know how he is) and insisted we do a little spring-/Easter-themed photo shoot (again, because you know how he is).

As I was mentally preparing for this ordeal, I had to step outside for a few moments and enjoy the peace of my garden where my first tulip had just bloomed.

Full that bit of zen, I was ready for my monster modeling session. In a rare moment of sharing the limelight, Finn had called up a couple friends to start things off. Continue reading