A recipe for living with cancer.

Our last official vacation night in Ireland and we have found a small piece of heaven. Driving out into the bucolic wonder of the Irish countryside Tom reminds me, “you are on the wrong side of the road.” But the road is barely wide enough for one car.  Stay to the left he admonishes, the left of what?  One lane and the sides of this country road are 8 feet high with grasses and vines and quite impenetrable.

It brought to mind Harry Potter in the labyrinth, looking in every direction, unable to find which way to go, hoping to find the exit. With no sight line, not sure how far we need to go and winding like a slithering snake had made the road, where would I even go should another car come at me?  We kept going and Tom kept muttering I don’t know about this Barb, we are in the middle of nowhere.

I found Carrygerry Country House on the Internet. G-d bless the Internet.  A young couple Niall and Gillian Ennis bought this old house, and then their adventure began. To say they will ever “finish” renovating is questionable, think of your own home needing a repair, on steroids!  They have done  a lovely professional job and it is comfortable, clean and enjoyable. There is also an award-winning restaurant run by the husband.
So back to our circuitous journey to heaven. Tom suspected this journey was never-ending, and if it did end it would be with woeful results I think he was certain our money was lost and we would need to find another place to stay the night.

Suddenly the grasses parted and there like Moses in the basket stood a jewel, Carrygerry Country House.
A huge antibellamish mansion surrounded by acres of farms, horses on the right, cows all around and a picturesque small lake in the distance. We rang the bell and were greeted by Niall, the owner and  she led us up to our room. Huge four-poster bed, antique chairs with marble top dressing table and a spick and span en suite bathroom. It was so far superior to our previous lodging I immediately felt my shoulders drop four inches and the stress of driving on the wrong side of the road for three hours evaporate.

I walked the grounds met some of the horses and enjoyed a delicious breeze. There were two gorgeous horses in one field and I walked over to a sign that read: THOROUGHBRED HORSES KICK AND BITE.  In other words, leave the damn horses alone, so of course I went over to them!  A male and a female, the female came over to check me out and as I talked softly she put her head over the fence and I pet her nose.  Zelda loves horses so I’d put the video on and captured it all.  There was an electrified line around the top of the fence and the curious lady inched toward it.  I kept telling her no, no, don’t touch that and she sniffed just a tad to close, got shocked and bolted out into the field.  Not sure whether that line was actually for the horses, or the humans, for had I leaned on the fence and draped my hands over, I would have bolted as well.

I decided to explore the house and was immediately taken by photos of the chef and his two young sons working in the kitchen. I am a sucker for kids and chatted with Niall about the boys and how rambunctious they can be.  She asked if I’d like anything to drink… I have been jonesing for a Guinness all day while driving. I have never been a Guinness drinker but have found a real enjoyment of it while here.  A (wee) Guinness would be great I said. She poured me a glass or 1/2 pint.  She slides down the lever and releases a cascade of white foam to fill a glass, this she sets aside. Then she does another pull and fills the glass with white foam exactly, precisely, and with grace that says she’s done this many times before– to the rim, not a drop overflows. This she sets aside and waits. The bottom of the glass starts to turn dark and from there up a firestorm of activity, a collision of molecules so simple yet complex is mesmerizing. The storm clears and there sits a chocolate-colored elixir topped with a perfect layer of nutmeg colored creamy foam. Done right and the layer of foam will last until the last drop slides  gently down your throat.

When finished the sides of the glass are painted with foam with a modern artists rendition of life’s fullest delight and deepest sorrow. The delight of the first cool sip producing an invisible foam moustache to sadly the last with its promise of more to come.  I am so glad to be alive, to have survived breast cancer so far, Guinness for your health, cheers.photo-2photo-3

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