Thursday, 12 September 2013

Trip to Tipperary

"Ruairí. Ruairí. Are we going to Tipperary today?"


"Ruairí," pause for dramatic effect, "is it a long way?"


"Does that ever get tired?"

"You learn to block it out."
Catherine's House

We headed down to Tipperary yesterday to visit Catherine, Ruairí's mum. I last saw her at a VSO Rwanda reunion in Dublin in 2010. It was during the inter-blog period between my African blog and my (now defunct) Pineal Void blog, so there isn't a post for it. We had a lovely time visiting Glendalouch in Wicklow. Then I went with my friend Cathryn up to Northern Ireland to visit her family in Strebane, who took me to Derry, the Bushmills distillery and the Giant's Causeway. Gorgeous landscape, but fairly terrifying given it was the middle of marching season. All the curbs were painted in Loyalist and Republican colours just in case you weren't sure which part of town you were in. The Republicans had adopted the Palestinian flag, and the Loyalists had adopted the Israeli flag and turned it orange. It's the only time in my life I've seen a Scottish flag flying beneath an English one. Think I felt safer in Sierra Leone. Certainly never felt so aware, or so ashamed, of being English.

Me, Ruairí and Catherine, 2010 - Bread and Butter, Anyone?

Catherine's house reminds me a bit of Lindsay's place up near Killin. She's got a huge garden, which still has a little colour left.

View from the Road (click to enlarge)

There were even some beautiful Sika deer behind the house, but unlike Scotland these ones belonged to a venison farm.

We had a wonderful night, sitting beside the hearth drinking whiskey and talking about all sorts. Catherine's family is widely distributed, with strong connections to South America, Switzerland and France. Several anthropologists in the family, including an interest in Ayahuasca and native Amazonian tribes. Fascinating stuff, and she and Martine speak French fluently together.

After the others went to bed, Catherine and I stayed up with the whiskey until around one in the morning, as the fire smoldered down to ash.

She is an incredible cook. That night we dined on red onion and feta quiche with slow cooked tomatoes, olives, and meatballs. All done to perfection over the range.

The next day we had a fry-up for breakfast and then stayed for lunch: tomato soup with grated lemon and fresh coriander, then the pièce de résistance: homemade banana and rum ice-cream! 

Lemon in Before the Soup

Banana & Rum Ice-cream
Delightful, and the food did not end there. Like mother, like son. When we got back, Ruairí made us bacon and avocado wraps with chili mayo ~drool~

Which Martine topped off with chocolate chunk yogurt. Heaven!

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