Irish Giants And Turf For The Fire

PUBLISHED: 10:15 25 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 04 May 2010

MUCH as I love Ely it was nice to have a little break and go away for a holiday. I spent just over a week in Ireland as my brother moved over there a couple of years ago when he got engaged to an Irish girl. They live in Donegal, which is in the north-wes

MUCH as I love Ely it was nice to have a little break and go away for a holiday. I spent just over a week in Ireland as my brother moved over there a couple of years ago when he got engaged to an Irish girl. They live in Donegal, which is in the north-west and it is absolutely beautiful. Miles and miles of unspoilt coastline and beautiful green landscapes. The only downside of miles and miles of lush green hills and fields is that it comes from the enormous amount of rainfall they get in the region, but probably no different to what we have experienced here this summer.

We decided to go and visit a distant relative in County Antrim for a few days because I wanted to visit the Giant's Causeway. If you have never been to Ireland, I can recommend the Giant's Causeway as a good place to start exploring. It is one of the eight wonders of the world and the scenery is just magnificent. Basically, it is a volcanic rock formation, which formed 65 million years ago and is still intact. Historians believe the volcano erupted shortly before the ice age and the lava cooled rapidly and became frozen in time. There are 40,000 rocks and stones and thanks to the efforts of the National Trust it has been open to the public since 1963. Well, that's the historical version, but according to Irish mythology the rocks are the aftermath of a skirmish between an Irish giant called Finn MacCool and a Scottish giant called Benandonner.

The Irish giant was much smaller than the Scottish giant so he used his Irish cunning when the Scottish giant came to look for him. He dressed as a baby and when Banandonner saw how big the Irish baby giant was, he ran off across the water too terrified to confront the daddy giant.

Volcanoes or giants, it is breathtakingly beautiful and amazing to see and touch something that has been around for millions of years.

I have been to Ireland quite a few times now and each time I go I am amazed at the hospitality of the Irish people. The pace of life is definitely much slower and everyone loves to talk for hours on end.

My brother has settled down well and loves the countryside and the fact that they are just 10 minutes from the sea. He loves the Irish people and their funny ways, but sometimes struggles to understand certain phrases as people in the north do have quite a harsh accent and they talk very quickly. He told me that when he first moved over there, his fiancée Amanda was out and a man knocked on the door and offered to sell him some turf. He thought the man must be up to no good as he could clearly see the front and back gardens of their house had very nice lawns. The man was a bit insistent and said he had called last week and the lady in the house had told him to come back as she was waiting to be paid. My brother sent the man on his way with a flea in his ear. When Amanda came back he told her about this cheeky scoundrel who was trying to sell him turf. Only it turns out that turf is what they call the stuff they burn on the fire and she had run out and was in desperate need of some and it is much cheaper than coal. Some people call it peat, but it is grown in local fields in abundance and smells delightful when it is burning.

The weather was pretty awful in Ireland and I understand it wasn't a lot different here. Before I left I was contacted by my local councillor Jackie Petts who said she would try to sort out my rubbish collection issues. While I was away, Veolia delivered another black box, which I don't need as I already have one; and a brown bag which got soaking wet as it was left outside and still no black bin bags. I am very grateful to Jackie Petts for taking the time to contact me personally and attempt to sort things out, but to be honest I give up on Veolia. I will buy my own bin bags and take my recycling to one of the supermarkets.

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