Posts Tagged ‘dining and entertainment Eastern Shore’

Wearing O’ The Green- Celebrating The Emerald Isle On The Eastern Shore Of Virginia

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Kelly's Gingernut Pub Cape Charles, Va.

Like so many people, I have really have been saddened for a week by the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. So when March 17th  rolled around it seemed like an opportunity for a welcome respite,  for a wee bit o’  fun even.  Although I am not Irish, I do love many things Irish including a little blarney,  the fantastically funny series,  “Father Ted”,  from BBC  Ireland,  the movie  “Waking Ned Devine”,  the folk tales of Wm. Butler Yeats and  the amazing  stepdancing of  the Riverdance company ( whose live performance we enjoyed at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk some years ago,  and lots more.   (  I could definitely enjoy meeting up with a leprechaun or two from time to time,  particularly  if they could reveal the precise location of that wondrous pot of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow,  no doubt cleverly hidden in a fine meadow of  shamrocks. )  But  also welcome,  and considerably easier to come by,  would be an authentic Irish dinner at one of the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s  two excellent Irish Pubs,  Kelly’s Gingernut Pub on Mason Avenue in Cape Charles  and  The Blarney Stone Pub on North Street in Onancock.  

And just for fun,  I shall share here a few interesting bits of trivia about the Emerald Isle which I recently read in  the book,   “Little Known Facts about Well Known Places In Ireland”,   by David Hoffman. 

  1. Although you may think that the most popular drink in Ireland is a “pint”  ( of Guinness, of course ), actually the the most popular drink is tea and Ireland has the world’s highest per capita rate of tea consumption.  Because of this,  every pub in Ireland is required by law to serve hot tea.
  2. There are twice as many cows as people in Ireland and  5% of  its entire milk production is used in the making of Bailey’s Irish Cream,  a noble use indeed !   And  let’s not forget the cream needed for Irish Coffee.
  3. My husband loves  Irish steel cut oatmeal but the Irish apparently eat more corn flakes than oatmeal. In fact, the Irish  are believed to eat more corn flakes per capita than any other country in the world.   I’m sure the Kellogg cereal company is pretty pleased by that, especially as the name Kellogg is an Irish name, a variant on the name Kelly,  which has as one of its meanings  “brave warrior” which may be what it takes to deal with the 250 days per year, on average,  that it is cloudy or rainy in Ireland.
  4. The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia which apparently means  “pig marsh between two saltwater inlets.”  And to think we ever thought Eastern Shore names like Nassawadox,  Chincoteague and Kiptopeake were tongue twisters .
  5. The Irish have a great  saying,   “Ni the’ann cuileog san mebe’al a bhi’os du’nta”.  Or,  for those who don’t read Gaelic,   “A closed mouth catches no flies”.   Truer words were never spoken.
  6. Peter O’Toole,  the famous movie actor and star of   “Lawrence of Arabia”,  was born in County Galway and has worn green sox in honor of the Old Country every day since he was 14 years old, a pretty long time indeed.
  7. Bono,  of the famed Irish rock group U2,  is the only person in the world  ( so far anyway)  to have been nominated for a Grammy,  an Oscar,  a Golden Globe and  a Nobel Peace Prize.  Congratulations, Bono- Is fearr beaga’n cuidithe na’ mo’rdn trua !   And by the by,  the Irish alphabet does not contain the letters J, K ,Q ,V ,V , W , X , Y or Z.
  8. The term “honeymoon”  was derived from an old Irish tradition of giving a bottle of   “honey wine” ,  a type of mead brewed by Irish monks containing honey, water and yeast,  as a traditional wedding gift for the bride and groom, to be shared by them for one full moon after they were married,  the honey moon. 
  9. The ill-fated ship Titanic was built in a shipyard in Belfast.  The chief designer there informed the owners that it would be possible to outfit the ship with 64 lifeboats.  If this had been done it  would have provided enough seats for the 1517  passengers who were on board when it sank on its maiden voyage in April, 1912.  But the legal requirement was only 16.   The Titanic’s  owner,  White Star,  cut the number from 64 to 32 and ultimately to 20 because having too many lifeboats would  “sully the aesthetic beauty of the ship”.
  10. The Garda Si’ocha’na,  the Irish national uniformed police force,  does  not carry firearms.  The 11,000 member police force carries a lightweight, retractable baton which replaced in 2007 the previous wooden truncheons which had been in use since the 1800’s.  ( Amazing what better gun laws can accomplish ! )

At any rate,  on Thursday  I was really looking forward to having a real Irish dinner  at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles, Virginia.  Kelly’s is a great place anytime,  good food, good people, good music, good fun but on St. Patrick’s Day it really outdoes itself.   I had been envisioning for several days the  first blissful mouthful of some really good Shepherd’s  Pie,  buttery mashed potatoes  piped over  tender bits of  lamb smothered in a silky gravy with the perfect balance of  carrots and onion.   My husband prefers a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner served with carrots and potatoes cooked in the corned beef broth,  all low cal of course.   So Kelly’s  was  the plan  for St. Paddy’s Day dinner….

But,  alas,  it was actually not to be.  My husband and I had a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Virginia Beach which I thought would be over by 4:00 PM,  plenty of time to get back to the Eastern Shore for dinner.  But  the meeting  started late, as meetings often do,  and didn’t break up until nearly 6:30.  Then I had two errands which absolutely had to be run before going back to the Shore.   By  7:45  we  had finished our errands and decided to call Kelly’s to see if they had plenty of our favorite dishes left as it would take at least 45 minutes to an hour from where we were  to get to the Pub.   When Gene Kelly answered the phone I could tell things were really rocking and rolling  because,  although I was just about yelling at the top of my lungs,  Gene kept saying ” I can’t hear you,  I’m not hearing you”.   I’m sure the place was packed to the rafters,  the background laughing and talking  just roared through my cell phone.  Clearly a wee  party was underway at   the Gingernut Pub !

But by then,  sad but totally true,  we  had worn down a bit,  I started mumbling something about low blood sugar  and  we opted for eating  at a little Vietnamese restaurant we love in Virginia Beach,  Vietnam Gardens  near Hilltop, only 5  minutes away.  So,  no Shepherd’s Pie for me,  no corned beef and cabbage  for my husband,  no glass of Guinness for either of us.  But…. there’s always next year.   And the beef  pho was delicious,  as ever,  as was the lemon grass chicken– not what or where I had expected to be eating  that night   but delicious nevertheless.