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Two Places at Once

This week’s prompt for the writing flash mob that is Five Minute Friday with LisaJo is: BELONG

Five Minute Friday


I stare out the airplane window at the beauty before me. Lights sparkle like so many diamonds strewn across black velvet.

I realize this is the last time I’ll see this skyline as I land in a plane for a very.long.time. Years.

My dreams are full of lush green hills, lilting music, rolling brogue. My heart already heading back to a land and people I love.

One foot in each place…my right foot in the Emerald Isle, my left in the “Land of the Free.”

I’m not sure how this works, but I know that both are places in which I belong.  One land formed who I am…the other transforming who I want to be.

Its a funny thing this, belonging. It both exposes who you are and who you long to be. All the while shaping who you will become. Arms embrace you, smiles welcome you.

And in the mystery of the way this world works, many places simultaneously bear the label “HOME.”


If You Came to My Village

Photo by Deibel Photography

Photo by Deibel Photography

If you came to my wee village in the west of Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day, it might look a little bit different than you expect. It might be more subdued. There might be less green. There certainly wouldn’t be any pinching. But it would no doubt be an experience that you would take with you and think of fondly for the rest of your life. You might even say it was magical.

If you came to my village for Paddy’s Day

– You’d come to our parade. You’d see a street lined with families and the air filled with laughter. You’d see the tri-color everywhere, with people wearing the three colors of the flag more than just green. You’d see floats made with tissue paper and poster-board.  You’d hear tin-whistle tunes from the children. You’d see political satire and comedic drama. You’d definitely hear some traditional music.

Photo by Deibel Photography

Photo by Deibel Photography

– You’d hear about folk “drowning their shamrock,” wearing a bunch of clover on their lapel and it wilts in the heat of the musky pub air.

-You’d laugh ’til your sides ached, even if you didn’t fully understand why. But the joy of celebration and lilting Irish spirit is contagious and when they laugh you can’t help but join, and when they sing you’d be hard pressed not to cry.

If you came to my village for Paddy’s Day

– You’d eat a 99 cone if the weather was nice.

– You’d not hear When Irish Eyes Are Smiling once, but quickly tire of The Fields of Athenry and Galway Girl.

– You’d drink tea with a friend round their generous table and perhaps take a stroll on the beach.

– You’d huddle around the bonfire as the sun went down drinking in the atmosphere, imbibing in the Irish strength of spirit and reveling in the craic.

Photo by Deibel Photography

Photo by Deibel Photography

And finally, if you came to my village for Paddy’s Day you’d be grieved to leave her behind. And every year hence you’d remember the day you spent in “my” land, among my friends family. And never cease to speak of the day when an Irish breeze kissed your face, and her people stole your heart.

I’ve linked this post up with The Better Mom, Women Living Well





So You Want To Learn Irish? {GIVEAWAY}




Whenever I post here or on Facebook about how we live our everyday lives through the medium of the Irish language, I always get loads of response. There’s a massive connection and draw for Americans to all things Irish. And the Irish language is no different. For some, they have no idea a language other than English is spoken here.

However, if you’ve ever listened to an Enya album, you’ve heard it and probably didn’t even realize it! (As a teenager I thought it was Latin! Ha!) Irish shows up in film after Hollywood film. In fact, there are some phrases in Irish uttered from the fox in Mary Poppins!

Granted, it is not the everyday language everywhere in the country. There are pockets around the country that are a bit like language reservations. It’s in these areas that Irish is the first language of most, with many children speaking little to no English before entering school.

We have invested a total of six years so far learning this beautiful language and we absolutely love it. Our kiddos are completely fluent, and we are fairly so. And I absolutely love introducing people to this lyrical, beautiful language.

So, imagine my excitement when I heard about an online company called Bitesize Irish Gaelic! They do online Irish lessons, with real, native speakers! How cool is that??

What’s more, they realize not everyone is in a place to sign up for a monthly subscription of lessons, so they have decided to create an album- “Learn Irish With Eoin” – that will teach you Irish to the point where you can hold a basic conversation. The album, which explains the concept to you in English, is created by Eoin (pronounced like Owen) who is a native Irish speaker and is fluent in the Irish (Gaelic) language.

The album is just over 16 hours long and includes lessons such as: learn-irish-with-eoin_3d-cd

  • Greetings and Introductions
  • Your First Conversation
  • Counting From 1 to 10
  • Greeting an Acquaintance
  • Countries and Nationalities

What I love about this album idea is that you can do the lessons when it suits you, where it suits you! The album is available on iTunes and is download-only which means you can listen to it absolutely anywhere.

Now the really exciting part!!

Bitesize Irish Gaelic have given me a copy of the album to giveaway to one of you awesome readers!! So if you’re interested in learning your ancestors’ native tongue, or just want to learn the beautiful Irish (Gaelic) language, be sure to enter!

Simply leave a comment below telling me what you would most love to learn in/about the Irish language!

You can earn more entries by sharing this giveaway on Twitter and Facebook. You will get one entry for each share (once for Twitter, once for Facebook). Be sure to come back and leave separate comments letting me know how you shared!

Entries will remain open until midnight EST, Tuesday, January 8.

An Irish Christmas Blessing

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe, happy and blessed Christmas! Click on over to The Better Mom as I share a lovely Irish blessing with you!


"Stay where you are, Beardy Man, and no one gets hurt."Photo by Deibel Photography

“Stay where you are, Beardy Man, and no one gets hurt.”
Photo by Deibel Photography

A Wee Bit O’ Irish {GIVEAWAY!!} (updated)


Congrats to our winners: Donna and Joyce! I have emailed you. :)

Living in rural Ireland, as you might imagine, can be just as idyllic as is sounds. Lush green hills, rugged coastline, lilting voices, vibrant music.

The area in which we live is a hotbed for culture, language and arts. Music, creativity, and arts of all genre – music, dance, painting, knitting, pottery, weaving, word crafting, and more – is highly valued. And celebrated. This area is renowned nation, and world, wide for it’s festivals, concerts and artsy vibe.

You’ve heard me talk many times about how much of our life happens over cups of tea and coffee; in a place where personal relationships still hold precedence over accomplishing tasks. And you’ve heard me mention numerous times about our favorite little cafe which we frequent.

What you might not know is that that amazing little cafe is located in the back of an entire craft village! This village houses several artisans all creating and selling their wares. One of our favorite shops, and one of the favorites of those who come to visit us, is An Spailpín Fánach (translates to The Migrant Worker).

This shop started selling badges (lapel pins) 30+ years ago. They traveled around in their caravan selling these Irish-Language badges at festivals, concerts and summer language camps. Over the years they have expanded their inventory to home decor, t-shirts, cards, stickers, etc.

Tourists love this shop because they can take home a piece of the culture – and language – to stump show their friends. He he. Locals love this shop because they can give gifts that reflect their heart language, and support local business.

Well, An Spailpín Fánach has just launched their new website and its worldwide! That means that you can now get a piece of their awesomeness without the expense of a transatlantic ticket! I mean, just look at some of these gorgeous items:

How gorgeous are these throw cushion covers?

Celtic Spiral cushion covers

Celtic Spiral cushion covers

You can also get some great Irish music!

Rosin Elsafty - a truly silky smooth voice carrying lilting tunes. Oh, and I know her. She's full of awesome.

Rosin Elsafty – a truly silky smooth voice carrying lilting tunes. Oh, and I know her. She’s full of awesome.

There’s much, much more on their site. You simply must go check them out! One thing I love is that they are the only Irish-language merchandise shop online that is fully bi-lingual! That’s right, you can experience their site in full Irish, or English! Seriously. It’s rad.

Now, the very best part! An Spailpín Fánach has generously donated two t-shirts for two of our awesome readers to win!! We have one of these:

Irish Place-name T-shirt

Irish Place-name T-shirt

This regular-fit tee has place names of Irish cities and towns in Irish, in the shape of a map of Ireland! We have one of these in this lovely moss green color, size XL to giveaway!

And we have one of these:

"Miss Happy" fitted tee

“Miss Happy” fitted tee

This adorable teal fitted tee donning “Ms. Sona Sasta” (Ms. Happy) in teal. We have one of these in size L to give away!

There are many ways to enter:

* MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit An Spailpín Fánach online. Leave a comment telling me which item from their website you like the most.
* Easy entry for all An Spailpín Fánach fans on Facebook!
* Easy entry for all This Gal’s Journey fans on Facebook!
* Follow me on Twitter.
* Subscribe to This Gal’s Journey via email or RSS.
* Tweet about this giveaway (do this once a day!) You can copy and paste this into your tweet: Win a wee bit o’ Irish loot from @thisgalsjourney ! 
* Share this giveaway on Facebook/Pintrest/Your blog.

Simply leave a separate comment for each entry you complete. Be sure to leave me your email address in your comments (you can write your email in this format: name at hotmail dot com). I will then use a random number generator to pick the two winners!

Entries close at midnight EST, Tuesday, December 11.

Open to US/CAN residents only.
Good luck, and have fun gettin’ your Irish on!

I’ve linked this post up with The Better Mom, Time Warp Wife

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