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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oklahoma - The end of the trail

"End of the Trail"

OKLAHOMA - WHERE THE SOUTH MEETS THE WEST

Oklahoma was the last stop on our November road trip around the southern states. It had been a whirlwind of big roads, big smiles, big hair, big meals, big hearts. I urge people to visit the south - learn about the civil rights struggle, have a chat with a local, lose yourself in their melodic hypnotic southern drawl, maybe drink a little whiskey, definitely eat fried food, and if you’re up for super charged excitement drop into a church, remember, down south, you’re in God’s Country and God is throwing one hell of a party!



Arkansas - Fort Smith

"Rock me Momma like a wagon wheel"

WHAT'S BUZZIN ELVIS?

If Little Rock was a ‘big city’ in Arkansas, what was a small one like? We booked ourselves into a B&B in Fort Smith and set off to find it.

I thought it was going to be a pioneer town, something like Tombstone, Arizona. But it’s actually just a regular small town in America. A historic downtown and original army fort surrounded by strip malls.

It’s famous for a few things - the John Wayne movie True Grit was filmed there, Elvis had his famous army buzz hair cut there and lots of people were hanged there!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Arkansas - Little Rock

Mill view, breathtaking

ARKANSAS - LITTLE ROCK, LITTLE BIT COUNTRY, LITTLE BIT OF BILL

Little Rock, Arkansas, at Thanksgiving time is as quiet as a politician on the prairie when his running mate has disappeared with his bandwagon. More simply put, it was DAMN quiet!

We tied our horses up outside the Capital hotel and sauntered in. It was exceedingly nice, it’s the kind of place you see well heeled older southern gents, dickie bows in place, sipping on their whiskeys as they stare out at the Old State House. Commander General, and 18th President of the United States, Ulysses Grant stayed there, I’ve impressed you enough -granted he was no Kardashian ;)


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Memphis - the land of the Delta blues

Damn straight!

WALKIN' IN MEMPHIS

All jacked up on Elvis we jumped in our rental car and drove along Grant Avenue to the sweet spot where Elvis (among other legends) laid down tracks, Sun Studios.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Graceland - Fit for a King

The sign says it all


FAR FROM THE GHETTO

Memphis… it was here that Elvis sang lullabies to his precious daughter in their Graceland home. The ebullient activist Martin Luther King Junior was sadly shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel. Musical maestros jammed at the legendary Sun Studios. Songs have been written about it, books have been set in Bluff City, it all happens here, but where to start…



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mississippi - Jackson and Tupelo

Elvis walked down this street, ELVIS people ELVIS

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

I’ve wanted to visit Mississippi ever since I learnt how to sing-spell it in school. Jackson has the potential to be a grand southern city but half finished initiatives leave it a little shy of captivating. In short, there’s not a lot going on in Jackson!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Alabama - The magic/tragic Birmingham

Y'all come back now, ya hear

SWEET HOME ALABAMA!

We drove into Birmingham Alabama in the dead of night… Ok, maybe it was about 7pm, but it had started to rain, we had driven all the way from Nashville Tennessee (read about Nashville here), everybody was hungry, everybody was tired, and everybody was a little bit excited to be in Ala-friggin-Bama-Baby. Yes, I may have sung more than one refrain of “Sweet Home Alabama” as Dom negotiated his way in the dark drizzly night.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tennessee - Jack Daniels Distillery

Every day we drink it, we'll drink it as quick as we can

"WHACK FOLL THE DADDY-O, THERE'S WHISKEY IN THE JAR"

Whiskey is an impressive drink, we could debate for hours why Irish whiskey is spelt with an ‘e’ and Scottish whisky isn’t? Or what the hell makes bourbon bourbon? But something we can all agree upon is that the coolest whiskey has to be a bottle of Jack Daniels.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nashville - Music City

Joe, I believe ya!
NASHVILLE - MORE THAN JUST BIG HAIR AND SHINY BELT BUCKLES

It was winter time, everyone was talking about the Polar Vortex and other cool names for a band, it was time to shakes things up and take Róisín on a little tour of this country she calls home. Rooooooad Trip, bags shotgun!

Our 1,500 mile road trip (I helped out and drove zero miles!) began in Music City, also known as Nashville, Tennessee.



Friday, November 7, 2014

Napa and Sonoma - wine country

Purple gold as far as the eye can see
IN VINO VERITAS

It is almost a criminal offense to visit San Francisco and not hot foot it up to wine country. If you don’t drink, don’t worry, neither do I, it’s not obligatory (although I’m sure it helps!). The major places you’ll hear gurgled about as insufferable sommeliers slurp their way across a wine menu are Sonoma and Napa. Even though I no longer drink, I am fascinated by wine, the making of it, the varieties, so bear with me while I blurb about what I learned from my jaunts to wine country.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Northern California - Only in America

He's behiiiind you!


NOR CAL - SO CAL'S EDGIER BROTHER
A lot of people come to San Francisco and photo snap 
their way across the Golden Gate Bridge, stop at the vista point, more photos, then back over the bridge back to the city. The trick is to keep on going.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kyoto - The Ancient City


East meets West

WALK AMONG THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

Bullets are my new best friend - a 7 hour train journey from Tokyo to Kyoto took a mere 2 and a half hours on the bullet train. Plus the seats swivel so we were able to face eachother. Thankfully Róisín is no where near her teenhood or I imagine she would have slowly re-swiveled away from us, drowning in her Dr Dre Beats headphones and teenage melodrama.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tokyo - Land of the Rising Sun

Elmo does Tokyo!

TOKYO - GODZILLA'S HOMETOWN

Japanese Terry Wogan??
Japan is bonkers… good bonkers. Tokyo is a cacophony of technology. Before you even enter their air space you realise you’ve taken a comfy front seat on the information aerial highway - Japan airlines have cameras on the nose and belly of the planes so you get a birdseye view of takeoff and landing via your seat screen. I’m not sure if seeing the airport shrink to a dot, birds stuttering and flailing in an effort to keep up, as the craft shreds through the atmosphere, is for the nervous flier, but I sent my elbow into overdrive nudging a weary Dom to check out every millisecond of it.




Friday, June 27, 2014

Singapore - Asia for Beginners


Is it a ship on top of a building? Is it a half lion, half mermaid? Is it a massive lotus flower? No, Ladies & Gents, it's Singapore

DISNEY DOES ASIA

When Dom said he had to take a work trip to APAC (‘Asia Pacific’ for those of you who have managed to avoid the jargon) I grabbed my toothbrush (plus my three month old) and called an Uber :)



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tribute to my Mum


Mother and Daughter

MY DAUGHTER

Five years ago I wrote the letter below. I sent it to no one. Dom had encouraged me to do it as way of saying goodbye to my Mum. I wanted to relook at this letter now that I am a Mum myself. My beautiful little daughter Róisín was born in March. Róisín is a miracle and I always said if I was lucky enough to have a child I would share my story...



Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Mexico - Good for Nothin'


White Sands National Monument (plus one horse)

NEW MEXICO - FOR SPACECADETS

You may remember a while back I wrote a post about my trip to Arizona (read about it here). I left the reader at the point where we were crossing the state line into New Mexico and were ‘greeted’ by Border Control…




Friday, January 17, 2014

Arizona - Where Wild Meets West

Flower of the desert? Stick that in your bridal bouquet!
FROM TUCSON TO TOMBSTONE

I’ll be honest, I never had a burning urge to visit Arizona, it seemed a little on the uneventful side. But with a burgeoning bump and a work schedule that made Gordon Gecko look like a waster, uneventful sounded very appealing indeed.

You need a car to get around Arizona (we started in Tucson), as a European who’s always lived in cities with good transport I keep forgetting the American preference to drive, drive, drive. But we had learnt our lesson from a visit to Texas (for tales on Texas click here) so we were vehicled up to the max. Ok, I’m just gonna come straight out and say it, the drivers in Tucson were atrocious…Within our first 15 minutes of driving we saw a car skip across 4 lanes to make an illegal u-turn, then get stuck! Two cars broke red lights. A lady straddled 2 lanes as she crawled along wondering which way to go -she wasn’t even in a car! (Of course she was, I jest). Welcome to the Wild West!