Cloves, Clementines, and Jetlag.

I arrived in Ireland finally after an interesting flight with Air Asia… can’t complain really… but it’s interesting that clarity that comes over you after 7 hours on a flight when you’re sure it’s been 10, and you’re told you have another 6 to go… that I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. Next holiday is to a nearby country where I may have to have several injections prior, but at least I won’t need to feel like pulling the emergency lever of the plane door and plunging to a certain death below.

But of course, as soon as you arrive, everything is peachy. Maybe I’ll even do it again next year.

Ah, Grafton Street.

I lived in Ireland for a year in 2008, and it still feels like a second home to me. I have many wonderful friends here and I love the lifestyle and pretty streets.

I am staying with one of my best friends who I used to live and work with, very close to the centre, so I am a very lucky bean.

The thing I love most being here is the unusual enthusiasm leading up to Christmas. At home you avoid mentioning Christmas – it’s a pain in everyone’s arse that we wish would just go away so we could save three grand and a bellyache. It creeps up on us in the height of Summer while we’re busy going out and going to concerts and picnics and the beach (for some… I often forget we have them). But here everyone loves talking about it. Planning it, buying presents, planning meals, buying a real tree to decorate. There’s even a craze to wear outrageous Christmas Jumpers your Grandma would have knitted you and you would usually need to discreetly hide under your bed. There’s an entire radio station dedicated to playing Christmas songs only. And people LISTEN TO IT.

A little tip my friend has shown me is to buy a bag of Clementines, pop them in a bowl and pierce a couple through with dried cloves. IT SMELLS AMAZING. Like Christmas, she says. But if you’re not into Christmas, do it anyway. Substitute with Oranges, apparently the effect is the same.

So simple!

Before I left for Ireland I went to visit Grandma, she was making Brandy Balls for Christmas. These, I hear, are Rum Balls substituted with Brandy. They taste much the same but leave a boozy aftertaste. Grandma always adds generous portions of alcohol to sweets, to the point where I may take the back streets home, my own Brandy breath making me dizzy.

Action shot.

Yum yum yum! Must get the recipe next year...

I also printed Grandma out what I’ve posted on the blog so far, and she called me the next day at work to tell me she really loved it. Phew!

I’ve left Diana at home as I was a little short for space and really only needed to knit about 15 rows until I need Grandma’s skills again to decipher the pattern. I hope to knit a scarf for a friend at home while I’m here, and hopefully find a yarn store to make something else with later. Want to buy something nice for Grandma while I’m here too… suggestions are most welcome!