Around Ireland with an Englishman and a Potato
In her early forties, during a period of restlessness, Elle Wonders narrowly escapes a mid-life crisis by planning not one, but three trips to Europe. After two back-to-back vacations, first to England, and then to Norway, Elle embarks on a ten day road trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland, with her favorite Englishman and their newly adopted potato. This sometimes witty and poignant memoir chronicles the many shenanigans they attend to in country pubs, old graveyards, and long winding roads that inevitably lead to stinging nettles and a cuppa tea.
In their quest for freedom and alcohol, and with nary a travel itinerary or GPS in site, Elle and Pierre (her very English traveling companion with a French name), navigate their way past real-life zombies, stressful roundabouts, and locals who insist on telling them six irrelevant stories, when all they want is directions to a nearby petrol station, before their rental car runs out of fuel (and Pierre runs out of bacon flavored crisps).
In typical style, the exasperating pair spend their days on the open road quarreling over the rules of food-ordering etiquette, and the proper way to read (and fold) a genuine, paper road map. They narrowly escape a run-in with traveler-folk, stumble upon a stampede of (semi) wild sheep, and very nearly steal the sweetest dog ever from a small village beach. But they experience true enlightenment during a long, drunken night in Galway, where in a seemingly normal pub, they encounter evil fiddlers who play never-ending songs, and an assortment of old Irish men who distract Elle with non-stop dancing, while their sons plot marriage proposals.
By the time this journey of madness and delight comes to an end, the exhausted duo discover the secret to cross-cultural friendship, the value of rust-free water, and the fact that petrol stations that sell bonafide Irish potatoes, is what you will find at the end of a rainbow.
Oh, and there may or may not be a bit of nudity along the way. And quite possibly crown theft, leprechauns, and a small amount of crying. But not necessarily in that order.
© Elle Wonders 2009–2016