"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
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
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."
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