Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

After our adventures in Dublin, it was time to kick back and relax in a haunted castle for my birthday (as one does). We rented a car as we made our way out of the city center, and I took the right-sided helm.


A two-minute look at some of our adventures in Kinnitty Castle

For better or worse, we were on our way to one of the many haunted spots in Ireland — and planning to spend two nights in said hotel. Because I had every intention of spending my birthday like the high-maintenance princess that I am.

The drive itself was uneventful, but upon arrival, we got a glimpse of our lodging for the next couple of days.

Why yes, this is where I spent my birthday

With an epic view from the road, Brian and I just kept “holy crapping” our way up to the front gate. This was where we were staying for the night?

We were welcomed to Kinnitty Castle Hotel and told that our room wasn’t quite ready yet, but we made reservations for my birthday dinner the next evening in the hotel restaurant and made our way to the first of two bars in the castle. The Library Bar was a welcoming mish-mosh of weathered furniture (sofas, tables, and chairs) and old tomes lining the shelves.

We quickly discovered the entire place was full of quirky antique decor that added charm to an already incredible venue. I was here for all of it.

We had drinks in the library while we killed time before the Dungeon Bar opened. Upon opening, we made our way downstairs to the dungeon for lunch. Embracing the kitschy theming, we found a dark dungeon nook just waiting for us to occupy it.

Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar cellar table
Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar

Our bartender/server ended up being our favorite staffer in the hotel (everyone was truly kind, though!) and she spent time telling us about the hotel and just chatting with us about anything and everything. We saw her a few more times throughout our stay and she was wonderfully sweet and engaging. She also promised that the hotel was indeed haunted and that she had her share of spooky moments. I knew then I was going to scare myself into imagining something if nothing ended up being in our room…

Before dinner, we wandered the grounds and planned to take one of the walking loops. We found all sorts of neat slugs and snails (you guys there were seriously slugs every couple of feet and inches in some areas! It was so weird and awesome).

Slugs are so creepy, but they’re also so cool!

And then we accidentally hiked through part of the Slieve Bloom Mountains (we kept getting higher with no turn in sight. Eventually, we turned around to make it back in time before dinner service ended — this turned out to be a common issue in our Ireland travel…food service stops at 9 in most restaurants). If there’s anything Brian and I are good at when we travel, it’s getting ourselves a little lost and calling it an adventure!

That night, we played card games in the Dungeon bar until it closed and then in the library until well past midnight before quietly tiptoeing the creaky floors of our room.

I am kind of obsessed with this gif Brian made. I was deep in focus, and he was royally kicking my ass (hence the death glare). I don’t know if he said something or what, but I just love him.

It was at this point that I started worrying myself into a tizzy. What if there ARE ghosts? Throughout the night (including one wake up in the middle of the night bathroom check), I thought I may have heard creaks and noises, but I am about 90% sure they were all in my head. No hauntings for us. Which, to be honest, was probably for the best since we still had another night left in us.

I woke up the next day to embrace that birthday princess life, and what a magical day it was. I disneybounded as Princess Aurora in two different outfits (of course).

Living that Nap Queen life. Wake up in a castle. Eat. Nap. Repeat.

First, up was breakfast in my Ralph Breaks the Internet loungewear. Breakfast at Kinnitty Castle was amazing. It was definitely the best Irish fry that we had throughout our trip (and omg the brown bread was addictive here). For those who don’t know what an Irish breakfast consists of:

  • Eggs
  • Bangers (Irish breakfast sausage)
  • Rashers (Irish bacon — imagine marrying Canadian bacon to American bacon in one full slice)
  • Black and white pudding (bready sausages, sliced and fried)
  • Some combination of tomatoes, mushrooms, and or onions
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce

Basically, happiness.

After breakfast, I realized I was still beaten up from jet lag and opted for a two-hour nap. Because it was my birthday and I was wearing a shirt that said Nap Queen. It felt appropriate.

Nap time for this princess

We then left our castle to go to another castle (appropriate), Birr, where we toured fancy gardens that reminded me of our arboretum and saw what was, for over 70 years, the largest telescope in the world (science!). The castle itself was still lived in – remember our awesome server in the Dungeon Bar? She told us that her friend used to work at the cafe of Birr Castle and said that the residents of the castle insisted on being called Lord and Lady, and the way she said it had us giggling a little too much.

Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

We returned to our home castle in time for an incredible birthday dinner at the Sli Dala (the fine dining restaurant open on the weekends for dinner). This was the best meal that we had in Ireland, and I was in absolute heaven. When they arrived with dessert, they came in singing with a candle in my torte, but Brian was nowhere to be found. They stopped halfway through the first line, and I started laughing.

The server who was holding the cake looked at his empty seat, said, “uhh this is awkward,” and blew the candle out. I told him my husband had stepped out for a minute. Just as they turned around to leave, with me laughing like a hyena, Brian returned to his seat. They started again and I just laughed through the entire thing. It was perfect.

We finished our meal and went down to the bar for live music and after dinner drinks before calling it a night and preparing for the third leg of our trip. Overall it was a fine birthday adventure for this girl, and definitely one I’ll never forget. Level 36, bring it on.

Woke up in a castle. Went to sleep in a castle. Best birthday ever.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Last night in Dublin: Define the luck of the Irish

Brian and I just returned from an incredible 16-day adventure in Ireland. And in true Chrissy fashion, I managed to include a side of ridiculous (or twelve) in our summer vacation. Most notably on our last night in Dublin during the first leg of our trip.

Chrissy and Brian at the Guinness Storehouse
Visiting the Guinness storehouse on our first day in Dublin (running on zero sleep and pints of that ruby red life blood).

It all started after a nap. Well, Brian napped. I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram in an attempt to relinquish the final edges of jetlag without sleeping. We had arrived in Dublin two days prior after a sleepless night on a plane and been zombie-walking our way through the city into every uncrowded bar with music that didn’t prevent us from having a conversation (have I mentioned my husband is an introvert?).

After rousing ourselves from bed, we realized that we needed to locate food immediately because most restaurants in the area seemed to shut down around 9 pm. Our hotel felt like it was in the middle of a food desert, so our options were limited if we planned to walk. After some Googling, Brian found a bar/restaurant that piqued his interest. The food was Southern American, but the bar had a self-described enormous board game collection. Our people!

So I put on my nerdiest accessories — an Avengers Infinity bracelet featuring the infinity stones and dinosaur necklace, both of which were early birthday presents from Brian — and we began the twenty-minute walk to said bar.

Last night in Dublin wearing a dinosaur necklace
My sweet dinosaur necklace. Not pictured: this infinity stone bracelet.
Disclaimer: Amazon links = small commission for Chrissy blah blah etc etc.

When we finally arrived at the bar, I sat down and Brian went to check out the game shelf. I realized the bartender would not be visiting the table, so I pulled my credit card out of my wallet and strolled up to the bar to get menus and order drinks. I asked for a menu, and the bartender looked at me like I was an idiot before telling me the kitchen was closed. I slid my credit card into my jeans pocket and walked to Brian so we could discuss the situation. We left and went to the Asian fusion restaurant directly next to the bar to get food.

After eating, we decided that we didn’t want to pay 10 Euro to play games we already had at home and began the walk back to our hotel. There was a great looking Irish pub next to the hotel, and we figured we could go play our own games (why yes, we did pack three pocket-size strategy games for two weeks in Ireland, and it was brilliant) in a nicer atmosphere.

Though we had just eaten, snacks seemed like a necessary and important reason to stop at a convenience store…or two. At the first one, I paid with Samsung Pay on my phone, leaving my credit card safely forgotten in the pocket of my jeans.

Because we couldn’t find a snack that Brian wanted, we proceeded to a different convenience store a block further from our hotel. We found some snacks and walked to the self-pay kiosk. Brian put his credit card in the machine and then pulled it out after he thought it was through. When the receipt didn’t print, he put his card back in for a second attempt. The kiosk called for an attendant because he needed to sign a slip. The attendant didn’t know what was going on, and a flurry of chaos escalated everyone’s panic and stress. We finally left the store with our packages in tow.

As we walked, I started feeling the urge to use the ladies room. I thought I could make it to the hotel, but Brian spotted a pub that the hop on/hop off bus tour guide swooned about when we passed it. Knowing that sometimes my need to use the bathroom can have disastrous consequences, he offered a solution.

“I’ll go get a drink. You go to the bathroom.”

It seemed harmless enough…

We walked in, and I immediately regretted my decision. This was a local watering hole that reminded me of The Snuggly Duckling. I walked to the bathroom through a dark back bar and a dimly lit hallway. I stepped down into a tiny two-stall bathroom where a woman in her sixties was smoking a cigarette and ashing it into the sink. I went for the first stall when I realized there was no toilet seat to be found. So I had to maneuver around Smokey McGee to get into the second stall.

I wiggled around the door into the stall and locked it, noticing there was no hook to hang my fleece or my purse. The floor was soaked — and I’m not sure from what — so I zipped up my purse and placed it on the back of the toilet and prayed. I tossed my fleece up above the door, effectively hanging it over into the bathroom (Smokey had flown the coop, so it was just me in there at this point).

I went to the bathroom and then started collecting my belongings. First I grabbed my fleece, which was now accompanied by a thick layer of yellow, musty dust. When I tried to pat it off, my Infinity bracelet unclasped and went flying into a puddle of wet floor. Who knew my bracelet would become the latest in a lifetime of vacation fashion fails.

Visibly flustered, I grabbed my purse, wiggled out of the stall, washed my hands and bracelet, tucked the bracelet into my pocket — feeling it beside my credit card — and hustled out to Brian, who had not ordered a drink. We rushed out of the bar and I began regaling Brian with my bathroom tale reaching into my pocket and grabbing the bracelet to show him.

We arrived back at our hotel. Brian brought the convenience store snacks to the room and grabbed our games, while I waited in the lobby. A call came in from a 00000 number, so I ignored it (spam calls are not worth 25 cents a minute). When a voicemail came through, I listened to it, fully expecting a deletable junk message. Except that it wasn’t.

It was Capital One calling to tell me someone had found my credit card (the credit card I was planning to use to rent a car the next day), and they were trying to return it to me. After a brisk walk back to the bar, interviews with every human we came in contact with, and a complete walk-through of our evening, we finally let Capital One cancel my card and walked back to our hotel.

“Do you still want to get a drink?” Brian asked, after noting my overstressed and sad disposition.

“Uh yes. Yes I do.”

We walked just past our hotel into the pub, found a comfortable spot, and Brian reached into his wallet to get his credit card out…

It’s moments like this that you have to laugh. Because there is literally nothing as absurd as discovering that you and your husband both lost your credit cards within minutes of each other. We swapped roles as Brian went into a panic-and-anger-at-himself mode, I went into crisis-management mode.

Confident that his card was at the convenience store, we left the bar and I began Googling for a phone number. The hotel made a local call for us, and we discovered the store had just closed, and it went straight to voicemail. We called a cab to take us back over there and then back again (It was late, and not the safest-looking of neighborhoods). The cab driver let us out to go bang on the window of the convenience store until someone noticed us (they all had headphones on!) and waited across the street.

We thankfully retrieved Brian’s credit card, at least, and were relieved to walk back to the cab…when the cab wouldn’t start. The driver had to pop the hood and wiggle a few things until the engine finally started up again.

After all of the hoopla and insanity, we decided not to take any more chances with our bad luck, and we went straight to bed. Did not pass go, did not collect $200. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I couldn’t help but wonder if this evening was a preview of the rest of our Irish vacation or would we even bounce back from this nonsense?

What’s the craziest string of bad luck that you’ve had on vacation? Have you ever lost your credit card while traveling internationally? How did you deal? Let me know in the comments!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

When I Like Like Someone, I Internet Stalk Them

As we began our story last week, I met a couple of dudes in a bar and they invited me on a trip to Ireland. Just like that…

And I considered it for a hot minute.

And then fucking logic set in…

“But probably not. I don’t even know you guys!”

When I like like someone, I internet stalk themBright and Shiny was all, “Well give me your number just in case. Maybe we’ll all hang out again sometime or something. And then we won’t be strangers.”

So I gave him my number. I was having a good time with these guys…maybe I would end up going to Ireland with them. Maybe I would get to hang out with them again.

The brooding handsome guy didn’t say much…but he seemed really smart, and when he did speak, I’m sure he had very interesting things to say. I just don’t remember. But as they were leaving the bar, he asked for my email address instead of my number.

“Uhhh sure.” I rattled it off to him. Within 5 minutes, he had sent me a very simple email with his full name, the day of the week we met, and the bar.

So I got a number and an email address in one night. As a single, carefree 20-something, I thought it was a pretty successful evening. Even if I was way more interested in Handsome than Bright and Shiny.

Before any of us left the bar, I let my beer respond to Handsome’s email with, “you’re adorable.” And I meant it. (Yes, I emailed him while I was sitting across from him. Don’t judge me. That guy did it first!) Handsome didn’t read my email right away, and if he did, he didn’t let on.

He was attractive and smart. He had a job. He didn’t live with his parents (or anyone else’s parents). He seemed…like a grown up. And I had been dating a lot of non-grown ups. I decided then that I was interested in him. Apparently, the bartender, my girlfriend, could also tell I was into him before I knew it. She thought it was hilarious. After they left, she came up to me and teased me for my awkward flirting.

So I did what I always did when I was interested in a dude. I went home and proceeded to internet stalk the shit out of him. I  Googled his name. And searched for him on Facebook. And MySpace. And anywhere I could possibly find him on the internet. I searched by his name. His e-mail address. Everything. Anything. Every detail he had provided the night before. I was a woman on a mission.

And he was a fucking ghost. I was intrigued. Who doesn’t have a Facebook?

Do you vet potential dates on the internet before going out with them? Did you ever meet someone at a bar? How do/did you check out potential dates before going out with them?Who is this guy? Did I date him? Is this another story of unrequited crazy?

Click the pic below to read the next installment of this story

Desperately Seeking Something

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Was Working as a Waitress in a Cocktail Bar…That Much is True

Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a girl who waited tables at an Irish bar where people were mostly dicks. She also spent a few weeks running pub trivia, which is where our story begins.

(Oh hey, that girl is me, and I’m about to switch to the first person).
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I may not have loved waiting tables, but I really enjoyed running trivia. I was able to create questions and make really bad jokes in front of a crowded bar. They gave me a microphone. For several uninterrupted hours. Weekly. It was a beautiful thing. And I’m pretty sure I drank for free.

One night, mid-December, while emceeing trivia, a pair of dudes I had never seen before jumped into the trivia game. I didn’t take much notice of them until trivia was finished when the shorter of the two came up to me and said, “Hey! What are you doing, now? Come have a drink with us!” He was bright and shiny and happy…and offered to buy me a drink. Obviously, I joined them. I walked over to their table, and some of my regular trivia guys came over with me. Bright and Shiny was super chatty and hilarious. I loved him immediately. He ordered a round of drinks while his friend was in the bathroom.

When the taller, quiet guy returned to a fresh round of drinks, the trivia girl, and her posse, he seemed…perturbed, to say the least. But he was handsome. So very handsome. He mentioned something about it being late and having to work in the morning, and I just smiled at him and probably teased him, just a little. I didn’t have to work in the morning thanks to my server job, and so it was fun for me to play around with those who had dreaded corporate jobs (I was setting myself up for a karma ass kicking).

Bright and Shiny started telling me why they were at the bar. The two of them were planning a trip to Ireland the following spring and thought an Irish pub to be the perfect setting to do so. I mentioned that I was going to go to Ireland one day and the  bright and shiny guy said, “Hey! Why don’t you come with us?”

I laughed. “I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off.”

“No, seriously, I have a bunch of miles and stuff…if I helped with your flight, would you be able to pay for other stuff?” He looked so sincere and smiley. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or joking.

Honestly, to this DAY I’m still not sure I heard that right.

“Uhhhh…”

Every fiber of my being was screaming, “BE WILD! DO SOMETHING CRAZIER THAN YOU’VE EVER DONE!”

I looked at Handsome and Bright and Shiny. They looked nice enough. They seemed really cool. And they sure did have me laughing all night.

“Dude, that sounds crazy. And amazing.”

I considered for another minute.

“I’ll think about it.”

Would you have gone? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done after meeting new friends for the first time?

Did I go on the adventure of a lifetime with these two random dudes? Click the pic below to continue the story and find out what happened next:

When I like like someone, I internet stalk them

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!