Ireland: Grey skies, rocky shores, and a bit of fighting

Posted on
Oct 1, 2012

Not all trips go smoothly.

I’d like to say that they did. I really do. I’d like to tell you that every single journey is a cakewalk, that my hair looks consistently wonderful and blows in the wind as my husband and I frolick through fields hand-in-hand.

But, oh, that would be a big steaming pile of hooey, and I can feel my nose growing longer when I just think of telling you that. And frankly, I can’t afford to have this nose of mine get any longer that it already is, or I’ll have to start buying it its own seat on our next flight.

That just makes bad financial sense. So I’m going to tell you the bitter truth: Ireland was rough.

I meant it was figuratively rough. But I guess it was literally rough, too.

It wasn’t Ireland’s fault, mind you. Ireland was beautiful and sunlit (I’m not kidding), and so, so friendly. Nor was it the occasion that brought us to that part of the world at fault – we headed to Belfast to see a friend get married, and our table at the reception was – as the groom put it – a little party in and of itself. We were surrounded by people we know and love, some of whom were even at our own wedding. We had a fantastic time.

And our accommodations were grand. The food was excellent (there was sticky toffee pudding and honeycomb ice cream and bags and bags of chewy sour candy, fresh oysters and rich stews and fish and chips and dense, earthy breads). There were glasses and glasses of Guinness and talkative folks with fantastic accents; beautiful, blue-eyed women and men with bright smiles who referred to everyone as “love”.

It was great.

So, no, the problem we had in Ireland didn’t actually have anything to do with Ireland. It had to do with us. And I can say this definitively, because the problem followed us all the way back home, creeping into our suitcase with us and releasing itself in our home, a vicious and unwelcome stowaway that I wish had fallen off somewhere over the Atlantic.

Finally, finally, we exorcised that demon, sent the specter packing into the ether, but its presence was still felt, the wounds it left not yet healed, so that for days afterwards we still chose our words carefully, we tread lightly, so that our voices didn’t lure it back into our happy home.

(I am incredibly proud of that last paragraph.)

The point was, it wasn’t the best trip in the world, and that was our fault. I look at our faces in some of the photos, and I can see it. I can see that we were angry with one another. I can see that we were stressed, and frustrated and really, really pissed off.

But we still went out. We still saw things. We still took a ton of photos and held hands. We kissed. And even when we didn’t kiss, we shared glasses of whiskey and pressed our lips to the same spot on the glass. A small but significant gesture that said, “I am still willing to get drunk and go home with you. And only you, for the rest of my damn life.”

And we still had some stupid fun, too.


It was not the best trip in the world, but by no means a bad one. That I should hold such a positive impression after all the personal turmoil is a testament to the country and its people.

Looking at the pictures don’t make me sad. Thinking back on the days that we fought aren’t that painful, because it was such a temporary thing. It would be like looking at a photo of rain cloud and worrying that you are going to get wet.

And I’m just going to let this photo speak for itself.

It was just a long, shitty fight on an otherwise nice trip. And the photos where we aren’t quite smiling at one another crack me up more than anything else. Because, good heavens. There are times when I look like I might slit someone’s throat.

But as I look at the sky in those photos, changing from  sun to rain and back to sun again, I am reminded that things do turn out okay in the end.

You find yourself back where you should be.

Oh, and honestly? My hair is constantly a mess.

And ready for your next trip together.

Leave a Comment

  • Thank you for posting this super honest piece!
    With five years under my belt of rambling about with my Partner In Crime, you can bet I’ve been there. It can feel so frustrating to be somewhere you’ve been excited to go for so long, and to look around and not even fully see everything around you because of some rubbish tension you’ve got rocking with your S.O. Very frustrating indeed.
    Cheers to you guys for making it work out in the end, even if it wasn’t the easiest of times. I’m sure it’s made you a stronger couple overall!

  • Not every trip can be ‘grand’ but it looks like you two had a lot of fun anyway!

  • Well. Well, well, well, well, well. Thank you so much for this post. Partly because it brought back memories of our holiday to Ireland. But mostly because you told us you and Rand had a fight. I love reading about your life, and how fun it is and how loved up you are – and now I just adore you even more for talking about the ordinary-life grey-sky bits 🙂
    There it is, it’s out there – I’m a huge fan. x

    • Jen

      Hear hear 🙂

      I know it must be very strange for complete strangers to read about your personal life. But we adore you and Rand, even if we only pretend-know you. And while it’s nice to hear that you two act like real people occasionally and have a spat, it’s nicer to hear that you are still so vomit-inducingly in love. It gives me something to aspire to.

  • 🙂

  • This is so funny, cause I JUST posted about this, about how sometimes I just want to punch my husband in the throat, but still love him like crazy. Isnt that just the magic of marriage?

  • So we went to Ireland a few weeks ago and we actually fought a bit too. My husband thought the the speed limit was the speed you HAD to go or else look like a tourist. Never mind his wife hanging on for dear life and praying that she wouldn’t throw up. I quickly lost patience with this scenario.

    It’s funny because I even remember thinking at one point that Geraldine would never have a trip like this. So thanks for making me see that I’m not abnormal at all.

    By the way, we loved Ireland too and had beautiful, warm, sunny days.

    • Driving in Ireland will destroy your marriage. When I plan trips for people, I always recommend against it at all costs. Take the bus. Take the train. Walk if you must. But never, ever attempt to drive over there as an American. Unless you want to get divorced.

      Every time I guide trips there (which is several times a year now), we take taxis and the taxi drivers say: “You know, you could just rent a car and drive. It’s not so bad.” The first time, my clients innocently turn to me and say: “Yeah, Jess, why don’t you just rent a van and drive us around?” By the end of the trip, we all turn to the taxi driver in unison and laugh bitterly. EVERY TIME.

  • Allie

    I feel ya Geraldine. I hope your wounds heal quickly.

  • It must be something about Ireland. My husband and I went there (before we were married) and we had a great time too, despite the fact that we were fighting just about the whole trip (during which it rained exactly once, on our last day home). Ugh. I still look back on it and shudder/smile at the same time.

    • Haha. Come visit Ireland where you will want to kill your significant other!

  • Oddly, this post has nothing to do with cupcakes. However, I’ve just seen the polite way to eat a cupcake and it made me think of you:

    Random, I know, but we really can’t ignore the important things in life now, can we?

  • Congrats on successful marital feuding—a crucial skill to master if you are to remain contentedly married for the long haul.

    My recollection from a prior post is that you rented a car with a stick shift despite the fact that Rand would be driving and had not used a stick shift for years. Based on rueful experience, I think that having to drive on “the wrong side” racks up the travel stress points and impacts negatively on relationship harmony. We also recently did a road trip in Ireland and I was moved to blog about this aspect of the journey.

    • I just read your blog post and laughed so loud that I worried my coworkers would hear me. Living through a driving experience in Ireland is definitely an experience I will never forget. Most of the trip I spent hovering as far to the right as I could so if we hit something, I wouldn’t get hurt.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I find wry humor to be the best way to recount stressful situations. If I’m lucky, I realize that they are in some way funny (or absurd) while they’re happening, so I can divert my bad energy into thinking that “Well, at least it will make for an entertaining blog post.”

  • How refreshing! Every time I think about posting something about my husband/our relationship in a not-so-positive light, I cringe and imagine him making some remark about Americans and their lack of subtlety, how we feel the need to overstate everything (he is English).
    But you worded this all so nicely, saying that it’s okay to argue and at the same time not calling the whole trip a wash. Ireland and the wedding *do* sound lovely. I hope I get to see it sooner rather than later!

  • I just want to thank you for this post. You’re always so honest without telling us everything which is very classy. It also helps to know that my boyfriend and I are not alone: that someone else out there knows how frustrating it can be to be traveling and fighting at the same time. It’s also so nice to see that, no matter what, you know it gets better and the love certainly never dies. Totally feeling you on this one. Totally.

  • I think what I admire most about both you and Rand is your plain and simple honesty. Like others have stated before, you are indeed a breath of fresh air. There is a lot of fakery out in the blogosphere and many facades of people and their supposedly idyllic, dreamlike lives. I prefer the real thing you present every time you write and for that I thank you!

    • Yeah, I agree. And since I follow Rand’s professional persona pretty closely, it’s hard to believe anybody could fight w/ him since his vids and presos are always so warm and laid back.

      But we all have our moments–it’s true maturity to acknowledge them, work them out, and grow through them. I hope my relationship w/ my soon to be wife looks the same:)

  • John

    I’ve always had a negative depiction of Ireland for some reason, but you’ve made it seem quite lovely. I only wish you took pictures of this ‘honeycomb ice cream’, it sounds delicious and you made me crave something that I didn’t even know existed.

    Your blog is inspirational, by the way. I am glad people like you exist! Thank you!

  • Bridget

    Oh Ireland… I had a similar experience there with a (now ex) boyfriend. Like you said, it wasn’t the country’s fault. I’m sad our fight mired such an amazing trip but it’s what happens sometimes.

    Glad you and Rand recovered!

  • Jay

    This is such an honest and respected post! My husband and I have days like this while we’re travelling – days where we’re on each other’s nerves, where neither one of us can say the right things and where we just don’t jive. It has never ruined a trip but it certainly taints the day and the photos. Thanks for sharing a bit of honesty!

  • Thanks for sharing because … too often places like blogs and FB are mirrors that reflect only the part of our life that is “perfect” or enviable. It’s misleading, in the sense that others believe your life is charmed and the thought “why can’t that be me?” pops into mind. With this little dose of grey you show us that … it’s not always sunshine, bunnies and cupcakes. But there is always Rand. Glad it’s all healing nicely.

  • thanks for the honesty!

  • Derek – ThePointsGuide

    I absolutely love Ireland! I surprised my girlfriend at the time and proposed in Ireland. She was traveling with her parents for 3 weeks and they were staying at a bed and breakfast about 3 hours from Dublin.

    I guess that positive experience has given me a fondness for Ireland. Too bad I was only there 4 days total so going back is definitely on the agenda.

  • Jason Nelson

    I’m not a regular on this blog but you did a fantastic job writing this post Geraldine. I wish you well and hope I can rid myself of specters one day 🙂

  • I was married 20 years and had two kids with a man and we fought exactly four times during that marriage. I loved our life!!! After a dinner party he’d look me in the eyes and tell me I was always the loveliest woman at the table. Six weeks, later he left me for a much younger (less lovely) woman.
    I have now been with Mr French for five years and we fight sometimes, and sometimes we’re angry for days at a time, but it is real and it is wonderful.

  • Mary Rose

    Thanks for this. Marriage scares the living shit out of me, even when I read beautiful cuss filled love stories like you and Rand. But reading beautiful (yes, beautiful… kudos on that paragraph) accounts of fighting makes it seem more real, like something that could actually happen in life.

    I admire the hell out of you.

  • I love how you said that your accommodation was grand – everybody in Ireland uses that word, all the time, whether they mean it or not. 🙂 It’s actually often used sarcastically!

  • These pictures are great; thank you for sharing. My desire is one day I can meet someone who will still want to be with me even though we fight a little bit. Someone who wants to be in it with me for the long haul NO MATTER WHAT.

    This post is real and it’s spectacular.

    Thank you.

  • Hi Geraldine,

    I’ve been following your blog ever since an article at SEOMoz referenced your site.

    I sure can relate to this post! Arguments that turn into silly and invisible war have their way of creeping into a lovely vacation. My husband and I did experienced it, too. But, like what you said, things turn out okay in the end 🙂

    Keep on inspiring us with your honest, witty and funny post 😉


  • Pink has a duet with Lily Allen on her new album called True Love. You should totally listen to it!!

  • It was really nice to meet you both, such nice people you are.

    Every relationship has its ups and downs, the best part is when the downs turn to ups again. Yet its a cycle, a process. There is no perfection, but there is something much more.

    The pics do look lovely though, seems like you seen some nice places when you visited.

    Ádh mór

  • Hannah from Montana

    I spent last Spring in Ireland…studying abroad in Galway! Did you make it there?? It was such a fun place to explore….oh and honeycomb ice cream is the BEST! Along with caramel digestives (amazing cookies that are yummier than they sound), Barry’s Tea, and Galaxy chocolate 😉

  • We were in Ireland at the same time. HOW WERE WE IN IRELAND AT THE SAME TIME?

    Also, we had a pretty shitty time, too. Not the actual trip itself, but so many things went wrong (I’m just going to blame Ryanair for all of them…and inspired by you, I have a “Dick Move, Ryanair” post slated for next month). And that caused me to be a bitch to my mom and sister when we should have been enjoying every last second.

    And also the people there were so, so friendly despite it all, and it *was* a great trip, I just have regrets from getting so stressed out by the little things and letting it affect my perception of Dublin.

  • I love you for so many things, Geraldine, not the least of which is your honestly. I saw Rand’s post, too ( I think you’ll both end up looking back on this as a good thing. Hugs all around.

  • Aislin

    I loved this post so much. Even though it wasn’t perfect, I’m glad you were able to appreciate my favorite country in the world.

  • Micky

    Hey, that’s not Scotland, it’s Rathlin Island. Scotland is off to the right. But, sure, as they say up in those parts, “If you can’t see Scotland, it’s raining. If you can see Scotland, it’s gonna rain.”

    Love, Micky (the best tour-guide in the world-EVER!) McCoy

    Edit: “Duplicate comment”??? Don’t think I wrote the same thing? Anyway, did you go to Carrick-a-Rede rope-bridge?

    • Everywhereist

      Ha! Hi, Micky (aka, the best tour guide in the world, EVER)! You are totally correct, of course- it’s not Scotland. Someone on the trail told us it was, and we got waaaay too excited about the prospect. And yes, we made it to Carrick-a-Rede, too!

  • Sarah Weise

    What a beautiful post, Geraldine.

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