My eureka moment among a herd of Kerry bulls

“Everyone here is so nice!” I said to LSB.

We were in Kerry for a friend’s wedding and I was rekindling my love for the island.

“That cashier was lovely!” I exclaimed after buying éclairs in a newsagent in Killarney.

“I can’t believe they made us pancakes!” I said after the staff in our B&B allowed us to customize our breakfast order.

“Oh, and the milk is excellent too!” I added after taking a gulp to wash my pancake down.

It wasn’t just the food and people I was waxing lyrical about either.

“Just look at this Landschaft!” I said, as we strolled through Killarney National Park.20160514_135004

It was breathtakingly beautiful, with the mountains looming ahead of us and swathes of green all around.

As we continued along the path, we passed some bulls.

They were grazing lethargically, indifferent to their paradisal surroundings.

“Don’t you know how lucky you are?” I asked them. “Don’t you realise that you counterparts in factory farms would kill  for this kind of outdoor, paleo lifestyle?”20160513_194023

But there was no reasoning with them.

They looked up briefly, before returning to their edible vegan carpet. One bull even rolled his eyes at me.

I recognized the display of disdain immediately. The kind reserved for outsiders with excessive enthusiasm for your native land.

I was taken aback.

After four years in Germany, had I really developed the unbridled exuberance of a foreigner? Had I become an Ausländer in my own country?

Desperate to stop the resurgence of an  identity crisis, I decided to fight back.

“You’re the ones with notions!” I said to the offending animals. “You’ve no idea what the real world is like. When was the last time you filled out a tax return? Or worried about your pension? Or wondered about your heritage?”

They shuffled awkwardly. Then one by one, they turned away to face the mountains, their tails lolling easily in the breeze.

Rose of Tralee 2012: The Highlights

Am writing this during the commercial break. My heart’s pounding. In a few minutes, Daithí said, we’ll find out who will be crowned the 2012 Rose of Tralee.

What an evening it’s been. The Coronas won’t calm me down at this stage. Thought Gerald Fleming was being sarcastic earlier when he predicted that “low pressure was coming.” It’s anything but here.

My heart went out to the Australian rose. There she was performing her telepathy card trick. Daithi outsourced to the Inspector of Ceremonies to pick a card. Didn’t work first as he blurted it out while waving his baton. He finally chose the 6 of diamonds. Rosie twirled around, took out the deck of cards, shuffled happily, beamed and asked “was it was the 9 of diamonds?” Silence. Daithi couldn’t go back now. “It wasn’t,” he said very apologetically. Quick as lightning she said “were you thinking of it upside down?” “I was yeah,” he said.

She left the stage promptly.

Of course the competition would be nothing without the close-ups of the mothers crying. Mother of Perth had to dab her eyes while her daughter sang and mother Cork got out the tissues while her daughter recited a poem.
Most original talent went to the rose who could imitate a dolphin.

Lovely girls. Image source:

Best anecdote goes either to the story of the Australian Rose’s boyfriend mistaking “Fir” for “female” and “Mná” for “men” or the nannie who objected to photographs of Debs dates in the toilet of her granddaughter’s suitor. But Prince Philip’s quip to the Dublin Rose (studying Nanotechnology) that she must have “very good eyesight” will go down in national memory too.

Daithi’s top question of the evening had to be: ” You fell through a garage, did you?” to which he got the reply “I’m sorry?” Maybe next year he should try, “you stumbled on a geranium, did you?” More Rose-like.

Nice to see festival branching out with Daithi parading around in red heels. It’s becoming terribly progressive with all these educated women included in the competition.

But I digress. The Coronas have stopped. And there they are now. All the Roses in a row. The audience is going wild, chanting. Who on earth will it be, Daithi’s asking.

Oh damn it, they’ve invited the Rose of Tralee CEO on stage now. Waffle. Come on now. He just said judges are “exceptional people.” Let’s get this done. What name is inside this envelope? “Will it be the scientist or the gymnast?” Daithi asked just a few minutes ago.

Here’s the envelope now. You could hear a pin drop.

And now….. drum roll..

It’s the Luxembourg rose! And she can’t believe it!

Her parents jump to their feet, whooping. The pride is oozing out. Their daughter the rose of Tralee.

The police band play the tune. They all sing along. Flanked by the other roses, Nicola gets her crown. Ends with a nice flashback of her reaction about thirty seconds before. What a lovely girl.