Fifty Shades of Green (and also some footie news)

June 23, 2016

We’ve been in Ireland for just over 13 hours and we’ve taken a bus across the country, a car to our bed-and-breakfast, and a bike ride in the rain. Tomorrow, apparently, we will be taking more bike rides in the rain. I would complain, but I knew what I was getting into when I booked this bike tour: a country doesn’t earn the nickname Emerald Isle because of its dry, hot climate.

50 shades of green

Ireland earns its nickname because most of it is this color, and you don’t get all that green without a whole lot of rain.

On the plane from Vancouver to Dublin on Wednesday, I sat next to a lovely septuagenarian, Moira, who moved to Canada from Ireland nearly 50 years ago and was flying back with her daughter and granddaughter for a family visit. She described her homeland as having “40 shades of green.” I think there may be 50. Or more.

We are bedding down in Killybegs, 30 km from Donegal. As fitting for a town on a peninsula that sticks out into the North Atlantic, it’s a fishing village.


We did not buy our fish here. We bought our fish cooked (also fried, baked, grilled, steamed, smoked, and in a salad with crabmeat) at the Turntable Restaurant at the Tara Hotel. We are now officially addicted to smoked mackerel.

It’s also the home of Seamus Coleman, captain of the Irish national football (soccer) team that beat Italy Wednesday night to advance to the round of 16 in the Euro 2016 tournament in France. His father owns the hotel down the street from our B&B.

bay view hotel

Seamus Coleman’s father’s hotel, the Bay View. True to its name, it is directly across the street from the Bay (the watery one, not the famed Canadian department store).

There are signs in all of the windows saying, Good luck Seamie! There are signs everywhere, actually, cheering on Seamie (and the Irish team).

good luck seamie2

The front door of the Bay View Hotel. Good luck, Seamie! (and the Irish team.)

good luck seamie

A window at the Bay View Hotel. Good luck, Seamie! (and the Irish team).

Apparently, Seamus (Seamie to the locals) and his team will need the luck when they meet France on Sunday. Patricia, who runs our B&B, The Seawinds, with her husband, Gerry, told us that the last time Ireland played France, France got away with a handball and as a result, Ireland lost. The locals fear that history will repeat itself.

seawinds dining room with seamie pic

That’s me in the mirror, taking a picture of the cereal counter in the dining room at The Seawinds. Gerry and Patricia don’t have a Good luck, Seamie! (and the Irish team) sign, but they do have a signed photo of Seamie. His handwriting is illegible. When he wraps up the soccer career, he should work on his penmanship.

I thought Patricia was talking about a game that happened a couple of weeks ago. In fact, she was describing a 2009 game, leading up to the 2010 World Cup, when French forward Thierry Henry touched the ball with his hands. The ref didn’t make the call, and France scored, thwarting Ireland’s opportunity to short-cut its way into the World Cup (the team had to take the long, hard route).

This article — — provides background, including details of what is probably best described as a a don’t-sue-us-for-screwing-you-over payout to Ireland, courtesy of Sepp Blatter, underscoring yet again what a crooked knob he was, and why we should all be glad that he’s no longer running FIFA.

dave in front of mginleys

Dave poses in front of McGinleys, a wonderful little sporting goods and clothing shop across from the Bay View Hotel, where we purchased rain pants on Friday morning, partly to keep dry, and partly to ward off the rain. Stay tuned to find out if they worked. Note the 8.5 x 11-sheet of paper in the lower half of the front door. You guessed it: it’s another good-luck-Seamie sign.