I say this tongue in cheek and of course with a sense of humor and love for the people of Ireland. They are good, courteous, warm people and the country is very beautiful. Toni and I learned, however, that they will tell you a lie in a heartbeat, a very specific lie. We know of no other lies told to us during our trip, but this very specific lie is apparently a nationally adopted lie as we were told from coast to coast the very same lie, over and over again.
What is the lie? “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”
That was the words we heard over and over again. From Dublin to Kilkenney, from Cork to Killarney, from Sleigh Head to Nag’s Head , on to Ennis, and from Galway to Tara, the hill of the Kings, on back to Dublin, every person we asked “Where is the best local coffee shop or restaurant?” The answer was almost the same every time.
I have developed a pretty solid Irish accent for when I tell the story in person. Since that won’t translate here, just try to imagine a leprechaun with a southern accent, that should give you a good idea of how it sounds.
Day 1: Land in Dublin. Ask taxi driver where food was. “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant! Tis ov’r by the Guiness factory. Easy walk, no problem , no problem.” 50 minutes later, we find that the hotel restaurant is the best bet.
Day 2: Drive to Kilkenny. Check in at Bed and Breakfast (B&B), find out the lady that owns it was a Delaney. “Lovely people. Just lovely.” She says. We ask where the food is. She says ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!” “Walk toward downtown, you will be there in no time. No problem, no problem.”
45 minutes later, Toni is looking over her shoulder at me like I am a dork for listening to another Delaney. We find the café and she gets hooked on coffee with brown sugar made from sugar beets.
Day 3: Still in Kilkenny. Ask the same lady for a pub with good food. Same response. “No problem, no problem, 20 minutes brisk walk. Lovely and brilliant.”
40 minutes later, still walking. Toni curses under her breath and asks what Guiness is, then decides she wants two of them.
Day 4: Leaving for Killarney and it is getting cold. Find, along the way, Delaney’s Pub out in the country. Drink coffee and get directions from Mr. Delaney, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a twenty minute drive, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”
5 hours later, after being lost in the mountains in central Ireland and having seen no leprechans or fairies, we finally find a café to eat not far from Killarney. After eating we asked the waitress how far to Killarney, you guessed it. “No problem, maybe a 20 minute drive. It’s lovely, just lovely.”
2 hours later we call the B&B and limp into the parking lot. It was just before dark and he states “You have to get up to the top of the hill over there before sundown to see the most beautiful place in Ireland, just off the Ring of Kerry.” How far is it?” I asked, exhausted from the drive and white knuckle roads (on the left side no less). “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”
I swear that is what he said. Ask Toni if you don’t believe me.
45 minutes later, we reach the top of the hill. It was breathtaking, no doubt. But here is the problem… I don’t care how pretty it is up there. If Toni is tired, achy, and hungry, there better be a coffee shop up there in one of those trees or someone is getting smacked. Since I was the only one with her, I kept my distance. Once we made the hike back down the hill, she was considering adding a Guiness to her diet. I tended to agree that it would be a good idea. Oh, by the way, we did eat at 8:00 pm, and yes, it was only a brisk 20 minute walk that only took us an hour. We decided to call a cab. Best idea of the trip.
Day 5. Drove to west coast. Amazing scenery. Toni attempts to push me over the cliffs of Moher because they have no coffee. Irish man playing music on the street said the café was only 20 minutes away if you walk briskly. I don’t remember if we ate or not. She slapped me into three days from then.
Day 6: Arrive at B&B in Ennis. Hear a great story from the Innkeeper and his wife on Irish history and the revolution. Asked them both where the oldest café/pub was to feed Toni Guiness AND coffee. His answer, no kidding, “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”
Toni nearly pushed me into the river at minute 40 and stated that if she didn’t’ get coffee and chunky chips soon she would drown me herself. I learned to walk faster but still 45 minutes to eat. Did hear wonderful music from local students and ate like little Irish oinkers.
Day 7: Drove all day in amazement of the West Coast. Arrived in Galway Bay. Knowing what the answer would be, we asked the Innkeeper anyway, “Where is the closest restaurant, and DON”T tell us it is a 20 minute brisk walk! We know better.” He replies, “Oh, well, truly, it is only a 20 minute brisk walk down the boardwalk.” We thought, “LIES!!!” lol.
We sat out walking and it was twenty minutes or so down to the water’s edge, yes, but we had to turn left and walk from there. Ten minutes into that walk we met a man of around 90 years of age walking with his 60 year old daughter. He was on a cane. Ten minutes after that, he caught us walking back the same way. He strikes up a conversation with us, tells us of how he is retired and now drinks Guiness and chases women, to which his daughter agreed. Fifteen minutes later we came to the end of that sidewalk. I asked him, “Can you tell us how far it is to the downtown area and the café’s?” Knowing full well what his answer was likely to be. He looked at us with an Irish smile and confidently exclaimed, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”
Day 8 and 9: Much of the same, great food, great people and great long walks, all over twenty minutes, but after a while, we realized that we were just slow walkers.
Day 10: Arrive in Atlanta airport and then in Memphis. We out-walked everyone on every concourse. I think we were even faster than the train! No problem, no problem. Brilliant and lovely! Toni looks everywhere for a brown sugar coffee and a Guiness. Her limit is 14 at this point but at least she misses me more when she slaps at my head.
So, the Irish lies were wonderful and so were the smiles. I recommend a trip there anytime!
Thank you to all that made the trip possible. It was a blessing from God and our wonderful girls, Tiffoni, Micala, and Monique, and we loved every single minute of it and will never forget it. Lovely and brilliant!
Time is short. Do you hear that calling in your heart? Jesus is calling. Please hear Him. He loves you and will never let you down, ever. He can help with any problem you might have, no problem, no problem. And He is always brilliant and lovely. Just call on Him and be amazed.