We are basking in the glory of a visit to Ireland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and our son’s graduation from the eighth grade as a valedictorian — a “twofer.”
This is our second trip to Ireland, but this one is longer. We landed at Shannon Airport and are traveling counterclockwise around the country — to the counties of Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Mayo and Galway.
This trip is about sightseeing, farm-stays, farmhouse cheese tours (St. Tola), Galway oysters and Atlantic salmon, gin and tonics in lawn chairs before dinner, lingering over coffee and the Irish Times, cooking classes for my wife and me, and archery, fishing and a “hawk walk” for our son (guided by an instructor, you fly the hawk from tree to tree and to your outstretched gloved hand) — not political discourse. We voted before we left, and that was it. (Good luck to all the local candidates in western Nevada County CA, where the politics are “good craic”, to borrow an Irish expression).
But politics are inescapable on holiday, thanks to the American presidential elections — and Donald J. Trump.
Waiting for our “red-eye” flight to depart at JFK, The Donald turned all the Irish travelers’ heads — almost in unison, in fact — when he began talking on CNN. We noticed some alarmed looks.
Then Trump became the focus of a dinnertime conversation at noted chef Dan Mullane’s Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge, a lovely country house in Ballingarry, Co. Limerick, which we’d visited before. A distinguished Irish couple in their 60s were eating dinner, when the woman suddenly turned to an American couple next to them and in a perfect Irish accent declared: “Trump. Isn’t is just dreadful!”
After an awkward pause, the American woman responded: “Yes, it is embarrassing.” (The husband seemed to be on the fence).
The Donald is planning a visit to Ireland later this month, where he owns a giant golf resort. (He wants to build a “wall” there too).
The Irish newspapers carry the news of Trump’s visit with headlines such as: “No red carpet treatment for Trump’s Irish visit” or “5 bombastic things Trump has said about Ireland as he gets set to visit here” or “let’s badly photoshop Donald Trump into less well-known Irish landmarks.”
A column in the Irish Mirror declared: “He’s a phoney, misogynistic bully – surely Donald Trump can’t become President?”
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has described previous remarks by U.S. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump as “sexist” and “misognyistic,” the Irish Independent reported. Varadkar was speaking after Taoiseach Enda Kenny labeled some of the U.S businessman’s speeches as “racist” and dangerous,” it added.
As for Trump, he has branded popular RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) journalist Sean O’Rourke an a**hole after their rocky interview. Trump fumed: “It was not a nice interview. I told him: ‘You’re an a**hole.’ Essentially that.”