My weekend-in-the-middle-of-the-week trip to Ireland has concluded and I am back in the land of fish, chips, Tamil protestors, and Pounds (£). Gone is the Euro, pubs, ultra-friendly people named Patrick O'Casey, and medieval castles. There is much to say about our island neighbors the Irish, so don't expect to get a comprehensive analysis of island culture here, now. Yesterday we took a 14 hour tour, leaving Dublin at 6.45, going to Limerick, Moneygall, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burrens, and Galoway Bay, arriving back in Dublin at 19.45. If you aren't familiar with Moneygall, and you are American, and you voted for Obama, you will love what I am about to tell you! Moneygall is the home of Obama's great-great-great grandfather! I saw the house, complete with an American flag and "Obama" and "Change" posters in the window. In fact, there is even an "Obama Ancestral Tour" offered here, which was tempting, but we opted for the "Lucky Charms Factory" tour instead. I will never buy Marshmallo Mateys again- there is no substitute. The Irish countryside is absolutely breathtaking. The rolling, agrarian hills are smooth, green and lush, dotted with sheep and cows and horses. The Cliffs of Moher, or as I call them, The Insane Cliffs of Moridor (said in a low, jazzy, Hispanic voice meant to strike fear in the ears of all who can hear) were steep and stunning. At the cliffs the ocean and the earth meet in a violent and uncivil manner as if each pounding were meant to divide the Earth asunder. Also on the tour we witnessed several castle ruins, rock walls, and the Irish coastline. Driving up the coast was a little like driving up Highway 101 in California, except in Ireland the roads are as narrow as a paperback book, the brown is replaced by green, and there were no Sea Lions. Also, replace Hearst's Castle with Medieval Castle. My favorite part of the driving foray was seeing the ocean. I miss the ocean in London, and it was a relief to know it's still there. The Irish countryside is green and ould, and I love it still.