from fish spa to shopping, more on ireland

Sep 27, 2011

Rural Ireland through a camera viewfinder is like looking at a painting.  You can't help but marvel at the timeless beauty and feel like you're in an epic movie (cue the Shire music from Lord of the Rings).  Beautiful, sweeping landscapes are expected, as shown in my previous post on Ireland.  So, today,  I thought I'd talk more about the unexpected things about this country. . . like fish spas.

Fish spas are what I would expect in Japan, not in Galway, Ireland.  The idea behind a fish spa is that your feet are exfoliated by small fish feeding on dead skin.  I hadn't heard of fish spas before my friend, who was getting married, scheduled a session for the bridesmaids.  The description of the treatment is not enticing at all, but, admittedly,  I was intrigued.

For some reason, I was picturing an outdoor hot springs, but the fish place was in the local mall.  We signed up for a 15 minute session, each of us having our own tank of flesh eating fish.  And, you can choose between smaller or bigger fish- we all opted for the bigger. 

I guess it's supposed to feel like a tickling or bubbly sensation.  Seeing that my friends were nearly screaming the entire time, I don't think that was the case.  I didn't find it painful at all, but I also wouldn't say it was the most relaxing thing I've ever done.  Honestly, I'll stick with eating little fish than having it the other way. 

The next day, we continued with our feet-pampering bonding time with pedicures.  The last time I got a pedicure was two years ago, so I forgot to bring flip flops to wear afterwards.  My dear husband offered to pick up a pair, and he came back with something that reminded me of my Korean grandmother.  Yes, that is a bow on top.   I never thought that I would be eating bangers and mash in fabric flip flops. 

The most precarious part of our trip was renting a car.  We read a lot online and talked with insurance agents about the steep rental costs in Ireland (due to the extra coverage that is recommended).  After seeing signs like this all over Ireland, we now get it.  And I'm happy to report that we managed to keep our car out of the water!

Kellys, a boutique hotel located in the heart of Dublin

I try to support local businesses as much as possible.  And with Ireland's current economical hardship, I wanted to buy a few gifts that were exclusively made in Ireland.  I thought for sure that the little towns in Ireland would have plenty of craft and antique shops to keep me entertained, but, surprisingly, this kind of shopping was few and far between.  It wasn't until we arrived in Dublin when we stumbled upon a couple of amazing local shops.  Designist, located just a few doors down from our hotel, carries a wide range of contemporary and affordable home products made in Ireland and the UK.  And, just a short walk away, is the Irish Design Shop, which focuses solely on Irish designers and artists. 

One thing I was hoping to bring back was yarn made in Ireland, a request by my eldest daughter.  I found a number of shops that carried knit items, like the classic cable knit sweaters, but I had the hardest time finding skeins of yarn.  In Dublin, I finally was able to locate a local yarn shop.  But then I learned the most unexpected thing about Ireland- all their fleece is imported from New Zealand and South America!  I guess the sheep in Ireland don't have the right kind of fleece for harvesting.  But, there are so many sheep here, I stated to the store attendant.  Just for food, she replied.


Even after having my feet nibbled by little fish, driving on country roads with blind corners, and eating various versions of pork (just in breakfast alone),  I discovered that Ireland is very much like home.  And this has as much to do with its people as its scenic backdrop.  The Irish are friendly and down-to-earth, a description that is often times used for Portlanders.  We've already been invited back by some folks, and with much confidence, I can say that we'll be back one day. 


Charissa - The Gifted Blog said...

Just for food! I wouldn't have imagined. Thanks for sharing your travel pictures with us - love the stories that they represent.


Me gustan tus fotos de Irlanda, dan una sensación de levedad que me encanta. Enjoy.
Isabel Cosin

gretchenmist . . . {belinda} said...

great photos.looks like you had a fabulous trip.
not sure i could do the fish/feet thing ;)

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...