A weekend of beer and giants

Closing out a perfect weekend on the island of Ireland (Republic and Northern), so many fun memories to look back on...

First, Dublin-style: yesterday's visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Even for a non-beer drinker (like me!), how could you not give in, after seven stories of Guinness history and Guinness advertising and Guinness tourist-friendly-flagship-shopping? How could you not indulge in your "complimentary" pint? Now that you know it's made from roasted barley and hops that climb the walls of the factory and a fluorescently-blue waterfall? Now that you're on the seventh floor of the storehouse with a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass and a 360-degree view of an unusually-sunny Dublin at your feet? How could you not at least have a few sips of the 'black stuff' just to appreciate that - yes, indeed - you think beer is absolutely disgusting, and yep, that's good, thank you, until my next brewery visit?

In sum, Guinness beer didn't win me over. But its storehouse and charm and whimsy sure did.

Then today, for an even-more-whimsical visit to the North. In a bright-green chariot, no less:

Where to begin in describing our day to a region that brought us us not only down Game of Thrones' Kings Road (trees!!!), but also clambering up the giant Finn McCool's causeway to Scotland, those 40,000 hexagonal pillars that lead into the sea! And even a hike to the perilous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, followed by a blink-and-you'll-miss-it photo stop of the romantic cliffside Dunluce castle.

Ireland, you showed me a few of your secrets this weekend. You teased me with your fairies and leprechauns and tales of Dark Hedges and and the Scots giant Benandonner (200 feet tall!) You welcomed me with unusually sunny and clear weather, such that Scotland and even the snowy peaks of the mainland were open to us. You made me smile and so much more.

I have a feeling there's a lot more you haven't told me yet. But wow, what a great start.