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Travel Tales

June 03, 2001

Young Chang

A little alcohol lesson as witnessed by Ronald Clark during an April

vacation to Ireland: good beers take awhile to clarify.

The bartender should fill a glass with, oh, let's say McKinney or

Murphy's about half full from the tap, wait for the bubble clouds and

foam head to settle (that takes about 10 to 15 minutes), and then top it

off.

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"I've never known of American beers that need to clarify," said Clark,

a Newport Beach patent attorney. "The local [Irish] beers are just

sumptuous. That's why maybe I've put a few pounds on."

Clark and wife Virginia traveled to different parts of Ireland for 10

days in the spring. They visited pubs, learned about Rosslare Harbour --

where Virginia's grandfather had been a deep sea diver -- and took in an

Irish countryside that looked just like what the postcards promise.

There were meadows that were velvety green, sheep, cows, trees and

houses with colorfully painted little doors. The predominant paint was

yellow. But there were red doors, black doors, even green ones.

"I would suspect, being that they have so many rainy days, they

probably needed something bright to brighten up their days," said

Virginia.

The Irish have a saying, she continued, "They can have four seasons of

the year in one day. One day, we had sun and then it rained and then it

hailed."

The couple vacationed mostly in the county of Cork and the city of

Cobh (pronounced Cove) as part of Alumni College, an international group

of college graduates. In the mornings, they heard lectures from local

professors and other experts. In the afternoon, they toured the spots

they had learned about earlier in the day.

"I really found that the high part of the trip was listening and

learning from these people," Clark said.

The couple learned about Cobh's history as an immigration port, toured

the area where the Lucitania was torpedoed and visited numerous pubs.

Clark even picked up that beers were, at one time, meals for miners and

others working in the fields.

"A beer is a sandwich in a can," he said.

Neither of the Clarks had been to Ireland before, though Virginia's

father was born there. She said she plans on going to Belfast next, to

see where her grandfather was born.

Clark is also eager to go back.

"They have a northwestern Ireland tour," he said. "If they contacted

us, I'd go again."

*

* Have you, or someone you know, gone on an interesting vacation

recently? Tell us your adventures. Drop us a line to Travel Tales, 330 W.

Bay St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627; e-mail o7 young.chang@latimes.comf7 ; or

fax to (949) 646-4170.

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