Glendalough- Irish Round Tower

Glendalough

Irish Round Tower

 

glendaloch cross + tower

 

Often called a gothic tower, this one was built in the 11th century and sits 30.5 meters (100 feet) tall.  It can be found in the early medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in Glendalough.

 

Glendalough (pronounced “Glenn-dah-loch”), is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park outside of Dublin, Ireland.

To see more of the monastic settlement and graveyard area, click here.

 

glendaloch tower

 Note the “window” near the bottom.

 This is actually the main -and only- door to the tower and is located about 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) from the base.

 

(the following story is roughly summarized from the tour company video below) :

As you may know, the Vikings had a lot of interest in the Celtic Isles and have raided this area a bit “back in the day.” Round towers were built as a place to hide from the Vikings, and the doorway was built to high up so that the Vikings could not get in.  You can learn more by watching this video by Viator:

 

 

~~ ~~ ~~ THIS IS FALSE ~~ ~~ ~~

 

There are a number of stories about the creation of the towers.  The one above, is actually told by a number of tour guides.  IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!  Aren’t the Vikings smart enough to figure out how to get in that doorway if they wanted to?  Or they could set the wooden door on fire and smoke out/kill everyone who was “hiding” in the tower.

Yes, the towers were often used as lookout or bell towers, but the doorway was built that high up -oh I don’t know- perhaps because the tower is freaking tall and built with little to no foundation!  If there were a door big hole in the bottom portion of the tower, it would be much less structurally secure.

Also, the towers were the libraries, the record-keeping rooms, and the keeper of all things important.  Having the door so high up meant that the tower would be much less likely to flood, and everything kept on the first floor (now 3.5m up) would be dry and happy.

 

glendaloch cross and tower 2. Ireland

 The tower is constructed of mica-slate and granite

 

glendaloch pretty cross and tower

Just look at the detail on that cross!  Beautiful!

 

Thank you for visiting and learning a little about the round tower and the monastery in Glendalough.

 

 

Love Ireland?  Click here to check out my post about St. Paddy’s Day (and learn why it’s “St. Paddy” and not “St. Patty”)

 

 

  •  Have you heard any other incorrect stories about the use of the round towers?  Or would you like to make one up? :)
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7 things you should drink INSTEAD OF green beer

Green beer is generally food coloring poured into the cheapest beer the pub has on tap. Bad idea guys!! Because quite honestly, green beer is [expletive deleted]! Why would you even consider drinking that [expletive deleted] when there are soooo many other fantastic Irish choices??!!?  Friends don’t let friends drink green beer.

 

If you’re not sure what to drink, here is some inspiration for you:

 

1. Guinness

guinness tap at academy st james's gate

Guinness is an Irish staple.  It’s a tasty, dark pint of goodness.  (and if you haven’t yet, click here to learn 14 Guinness facts!)

There are some fantastic Irish stouts made by other brewers too!  Check out O’Hara’s, Murphy’s, and Beamish to start.

Dark and rich, stouts may not be the best choice for everyone. No worries- read on to find other fantastic Irish drinks.

 

2. Jameson

 

jameson barrel

I personally find Jameson to be quite lovely.  I prefer the smooth taste of Jameson (and most Irish whiskeys) to the peat of Scotch whisky or the smoke of American Whiskey/Bourbon.

But let’s not just limit it to Jameson.  There are plenty of other awesome Irish whiskeys out there to try: Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, and Teeling – just to name a few.

 

Though it’s fantastic neat, on the rocks, or with just a splash of water, feel free to try some of these whiskey cocktails to spice things up:

from ezrapoundcake.com and buzzfeed.com

 

Whiskey Ginger= whiskey + ginger (served with lime)

Irish redhead= whiskey + grenadine + Sprite + lemon and lime juice.

Manhattan= whiskey + sweet vermouth + bitters.

Or get other ideas here

 

 

3. Cider

Magners Cider

photo from telegraph.co.uk

Ireland has a number of fantastic ciders too! Magners, Bulmers, and Kelly’s are the most famous, but there are a number of small/craft ciders to try as well (such as Stonewell)!

This is a great idea if you’re not a beer drinker or if you need a gluten-free option, as most ciders are sans-gluten!

 

 

4. Any other awesome Irish beer

irish craft beer festival

irishfest.ie

I went to craft beer festival recently in Dublin (by recently, I mean a few days ago). It was pretty awesome.

If you have not yet tried the app Untappd, and you’re a craft beer guru, I recommend it! It’s like facebook for beer!  You can even friend me by searching for museinitiative :)

Keep on the lookout for a number of fantastic beers made my smaller Irish breweries such as Trouble Brewing, Eight Degrees, Metalman, and Galway Hooker.

 

 

5. Shamrock Shake!

shamrock shake recipe alcoholic

Alcoholic Shamrock Shake image from http://www.irishcentral.com/

Not just for kids anymore (was it ever?  I think not)!  Visit this page (click here) to learn how to make your own alcoholic shamrock shake!

 

 

6. Irish Coffee

nationalirishcoffeeday.com

The original recipe as per Joseph Sheridan:

Cream as rich as an Irish brogue;
coffee as strong as a friendly hand;
sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue;
and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.

Visit this page to learn more about Irish coffee and how to make it!

 

If it seems too complicated for you, you can always make the “poor man’s Irish coffee” (which is not like Irish coffee really- but it’s still yummy) by adding some Bailey’s Irish cream to your coffee.

 

 

7. Irish Car Bomb

irish car bombs because bartenders love when you puke on them

idowhatiwantblog.com

 

These are definitely not my favorite, but some people swear by them…. so here’s to you:

Traditional Irish Car Bomb

  • 3/4 pint Guinness stout
  • 1/2 shot Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey

Directions:
Add the Bailey’s and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey’s on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug. If you don’t drink it fast enough it will curdle and increasingly taste worse.

 

 

Or- Any drink whatsoever…

Seriously guys, it’s St. Paddy’s day- go drink what you like (even if it doesn’t include alcohol)! Gather up a fantastic group of mates (friends), wear something green, find the best Irish pub you have around, and just enjoy the festivities.  Have fun and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

 

I know I missed posting this prior to the weekend; I apologize and I hope you didn’t indulge too much in the green beer.

 

Slainté!

(“cheers” in Irish.  If you want to learn some more Irish phrases or get some ideas for fun things to do for your workplace on St. Paddy’s Day, click here!)

 

  • Do you have a favorite Irish drink or a St. Paddy’s day drink tradition that you would like to share?
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14 facts about Guinness

14 guinness facts

 

In hono(u)r of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share some great facts about Guinness as well as some photos I took from my visit to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland. Learning is fun (especially when learning about alcohol)!

 

1. Guinness is good for you!

  •  Studies show that Guinness might actually be good for you.  Participants in the study who were given a pint of Guinness a day showed reduced clotting in their blood, which could help prevent a heart attack.

 

2. Give blood, receive Guinness! (ok, not anymore… but history is cool)

  • Guinness is very high in Iron and Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), and in Ireland it has been given to blood donors, post-operative patients, and pregnant women. The hops used in Guinness has been said to prevent excessive calcium build-up as in kidney stones.

 

guinness bottles at the academy

 

3. Guinness is low in calories!

 

4. The perfect Guinness has two pours.

  • Click here to learn how to pour the perfect pint- or go to St James’s Gate where you can learn how to pour the perfect Guinness by the masters themselves!  Below is a photo of me passing my Guinness “exam;” scroll further down to see my certificate!

 

guinness proper pour dublin

 

5. Guinness cannot be hurried.

  • A number of “FACTS ABOUT GUINNESS” posts say that the amount of time to pour the proper pint of guinness is 119.5 seconds.  However, that is simply the amount of time Guinness recommends you allow the first pour to settle.  If ever you order a pint of Guinness, expect it to take a while (if they are pouring properly).

 

6. If you’re not near a proper pub, you can still pour yourself a proper Guinness at home.

  • It’s arguably not as good, but follow these recommendations from Guinness for pouring at home:
  • GUINNESS® Extra Stout (bottle) – Pour into glass or drink directly from bottle.
  • GUINNESS® Foreign Extra Stout (bottle) – Pour into glass or drink directly from bottle.
  • Draught GUINNESS® (can) – Pour into glass.
  • Draught GUINNESS® (bottle) – Drink straight from bottle.

 

proper pour certificate

 

7. Guinness is not actually black

  • Often called “the black stuff,” Guinness is not really black.  The coloring comes from roasted barley, which gives Guinness a dark ruby hue.  It can be seen when looking at a light source through a pint of Guinness

 

8. The St James’s Gate Brewery will be around a looooooong time.

  • Arthur Guinness leased St James’s Gate Brewery for 9,000 years.  9,000 years!! The lease was signed on the 31st of December 1759.  Do the math, kids! That brings us to the year 10,759. (Though this is a cool fact, the family has since purchased the land outright).


 Arthur Guinness signature

 

9. The majority of Guinness breweries are located in … ::drumroll:: …    AFRICA!

  • Guinness owns 5 breweries in 5 countries around the world. These are in: Ireland (Dublin), Malaysia, and three in Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.  Overall, however, Guinness is brewed in approximately 50 countries by other breweries.

 

10. Guinness, though thick and tasty, does not contain oatmeal 

  • There is a slight misconception that Guinness contains oatmeal.  It does not. The ingredients are barley, hops, water, and yeast.

 

horse at st james's gate dublin

 

11. Ten (10) million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed every day around the world

 

12. Guinness and the Irish government share a symbol- the Harp

  • The ancient Irish Harp symbol was first used as a symbol for Guinness and only later adopted by the Irish Government as the official government symbol.  The two are identical except that the Guinness harp faces left while the government harp faces right.

 

 

guinness tap

 

13. The Irish drink a lot of Guinness

  • (See?  I told you that you would likely know a number of these facts!) Almost 1 in 2 pints consumed in Ireland every day is a pint of Guinness.

 

14. Guinness is an aphrodisiac!?

  • Guinness is known as an aphrodisiac and is advertised as such in Nigeria. “It makes me feel powerful,” says 46-year-old Adegbite, “If I have three stouts, my wife knows she had better watch out. I have energy in my body.”

 

dublin view from sky bar

Gravity Bar is the highest bar in Dublin located 46 meters off the ground.

 

 

Side note: If you find you can never remember how to spell ‘Guinness’ correctly, here’s a hint for you: A person should always have TWO pints- just one would never do.  Thus, there are TWO of each consonant in question.  GuiNNeSS. Also, the “G” is always capitalized out of reverence/name.

 

pass me a pint!

 Sources for the facts are all linked somewhere on this page- mostly, the Guinness FAQ site.

 

  • Which fact was the most surprising to you?  Do you know of any random tidbits that you would like to share about Guinness?
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6 ideas to bring Irish fun into the workplace for St Paddys day

In hono(u)r of St. Paddy’s day, I figured I would give some inspiration for spreading Irish cheer!

st-paddy-ideas- inspiration patrick irish

Are you “that person”? You know- the one who likes to bring in treats to the office, or spread some joy by leaving smiley-face post-its on your coworkers’ monitors or occasionally writing inspirational quotes on the coffee room white board? Or do you just like any reason to celebrate?   Well- rather than dressing up like a leprechaun and handing out lucky charms, here are some ideas to bring some Irish cheer into your workplace!

 

 

1. Ireland-inspired decorated cupcakes!

irish cupcakes

Who doesn’t love cupcakes in the office? I love decorating cupcakes (as you may already know)- but I don’t have the patience to make them perfect (nor do I use icky fondant- which is much prettier).

Use some of these design ideas to decorate your own!

- Shamrock

- Celtic knot-work  Or click here to learn how to draw your own.

- Irish flag – Irish phrases (see #2 below)

- Leprechaun hat

- Celtic cross

-Pot of gold

- pointillism icing painting of St. Patrick banishing all snakes from Ireland

 

 

2. Irish phrases

http://www.flowinglass.com/art/cards.html

http://www.flowinglass.com/art/cards.html

Learn some Irish sayings or phrases to say or write and leave around the office. I’ve listed some examples below; note that I call the language Irish. Yes, it’s Irish Gaelic, but every Irish person I know just calls the language “Irish.”

Sláinte- “health” in Irish. It is what to say when clinking glasses as a drink cheer.

Phonetically= Slancha

Éirinn go Brách- “Ireland forever” in Irish. Often seen as “Erin go bragh” which is the anglicised spelling.

Phonetically= Erin guh brawkh

Céad mile fáilte- “A hundred thousand welcomes” in Irish.

Phonetically= Kayd Meelah Fallchaa

Go raibh maith agat- “thank you” in Irish.

Phonetically= gu rav mah ugut.

Póg Mo thóin- “kiss my arse.” I don’t recommend you tell this to everyone at work…. but it’s an important phrase to know, just to be sure that an Irish person isn’t pulling your leg by telling you “Póg Mo thóin” is how to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” in Irish.  Phrasebooks could be wrong, you know.

Phonetically= poag mah hone.

What’s the craic? (pronounced “crack”)= “what’s up?” or “what’s going on?”

 

And a few other fun quotes and sayings:

  • May the luck of the Irish be with you!
  • “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” -Oscar Wilde
  • Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear. Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere!
  • A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.
  • Better good manners than good looks.
  • “A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.” – George Bernard Shaw
  • May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.
  • There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.

 

 

3. Limericks!

Writing a limerick is not too hard
Just get a pen and paper or maybe a card
Use your rhyming ear
And drink a pint of beer
And you too can write limericks like a bard

One year, I wrote a personalized limerick for everyone in my office.  To this day, I believe only two of them knew it was me.

A limerick is written with the following rhythm and rhyme (say it out loud):

Rhythm and rhythm and rhythm and A
Rhythm and rhythm and rhythm and A
Rhythm and B
Rhythm and B
Rhythm and rhythm and rhythm and A

Or for you musicians/dancers:

1+a 2+a 3+a 4(rhyme A)
1+a 2+a 3+a 4(rhyme A)
1+a 2(rhyme B)
3+a 4(rhyme B)
1+a 2+a 3+a 4(rhyme A)

The rhythm does not need be exact, but should fit in the rhythm relatively well.  (You should be able to fit the words with emphasis on the down beat comfortably).

The following limerick – which won an Irish ‘Listowel Writers Week’ prize in 1998 – exemplifies the structure:

Writing a Limerick’s absurd,
Line one and line five rhyme in word,
And just as you’ve reckoned
They rhyme with the second;
The fourth line must rhyme with the third.

Below are a few examples of ones I’ve written for co workers.

There once was a lass from New York
Whom, I doubt, would listen to Bjork
This next part is random
You can say it in tandem:
The sweedish chef says “bork bork bork!”

 

There once was a lass who did crafts and things
She treated all people as if they were kings
She liked apples that weren’t mealy
and learning Swahili
and the joy that each day brings”

Hints:

– feel free to use “there once was a lass/lad….” as your first line:

“There once was a lad from HR

Who enjoyed spending time in a bar…”

-or-

“There once was a lad who liked bacon

A lot of ruckus he enjoyed makin’…”

 

– think first of what words you can rhyme easily.  I don’t recommend “there once was a lass from Ohio” or trying to rhyme the word “orange” for example.

-If their name is easy to rhyme, consider using “there once was a lad named ____” as your first line.

– when you can’t figure out what word to use that rhymes, go throughout the alphabet:

Trying to rhyme the word “small”?
All?
Ball?
Call?
Dall?
Fall?
Gall?
And keep going until something makes sense in your limerick

 

 

4. Traditional food

Research some traditional Irish food to bring in to share!

http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/vegan-irish-soda-bread-2/

Irish Soda Bread with honey butter is always a great idea. Sadly, as I am currently on the road- I cannot make Irish soda bread and share the recipe and photos with you.  I CAN however, link you to a few recipe suggestions (even a gluten-free and a vegan one).

 

Also, making honey butter is always more impressive than it should be (it’s just what it says guys- honey and butter).  Let a stick of butter sit on the countertop and soften.  Put the butter in a bowl, pour honey over the top and mix it (I use a knife, just because I don’t want to dirty more dishes).  Keep mixing until smooth and all the lumps are out.  Do a taste-test and be sure you like the sweetness.  If you want it more sweet, add more honey.  If you want it less sweet, add more butter.

 

Click here for St. Paddy’s day recipe ideas!

You could always do an Irish office potluck for lunch.  Food ideas include: potato-leek soup, Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, steak and Guinness pie, black pudding, pork pastie, Guinness cake, and whiskey cake.

 

 

5. Figure out everyone’s Leprechaun names and use them ALL DAY!

http://girlsguideto.com/articles/what-s-your-leprechaun-name

Because being a little ridiculous is always fun!

 

 

 

6. Contests!

Organize or host an office contest for St Patrick’s Day. Ideas include:

– Encourage everyone to dress up for the occasion and give an award for the most green or best Irish spirit.

– Hold a limerick contest (call it an Irish poerty slam?) and have everyone vote on the best one.

– Challenge everyone to some Irish trivia.

– There are a large number of famous Irish authors and playwrights. Pass out a sheet with the authors and a list of famous quotes. See if everyone can pair the quote with the proper author.

– See who can perform the most convincing jig. You might even have a coworker who actually knows some Irish dancing! Perhaps they will teach a dance to the group!

– Do an Irish singalong, or see if a group can perform an Irish drinking song “Whose Line is it Anyway?” style:

If you want to skip to my favorite part, go to 7:04.  It’s worth it.

If all else fails, you can just dress up a bit too much, bring your Irish whistle to play a few tunes, talk in and Irish accent most of the day, and keep asking folks if they’re heading to the pub after work…which may or may not be what I did last year ;)

 

 

Speaking of which, be sure you all go out to the pub afterwards for a pint, or some Jameson, neat.  And tune in- or subscribe, because the next post is dedicated to Guinness!!!

 

pass me a pint!

 

 

  • Do you have any Irish cheer ideas for your office/workplace? Think you might try one or more of these ideas? Share your stories with us!
  • Oh! Oh!   – and what is your leprechaun name??
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