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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.