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Ireland Day 1...New Music...Shaq's Place

May 18 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Good morning from Ireland where the sun is rising and the grass is green…really really green.



We did make it to Ireland after a very long day of flights.  It’s 7 AM here just north of Belfast and we are 6 hours ahead of Nashville.  My daughter gets married this Tuesday up on the north coast and it’s my first time overseas so everything has been quite the experience for sure.


Heather flies for American…which we flew on and this trip gave me a better appreciation of how exhausting that job can be.  You fly 6-10 hours or whatever working the entire time…go to sleep and you body is exhausted and within a short amount of time you’re back on the plane doing it all over again with time zone changes and your body going “what they hey”?  Pretty sure the perk of being able to see the country and the world for free might lose some of it’s charm for me in pretty short order.


With that said…our flight at 2:40 pm Thursday?....took us to Philly where we had a long 4 hour layover and then sat on the plane for an hour I’d say as they actually waited for a family who were late getting there.  I had no idea they would wait that long for you…and I’m guessing it was because of their plane arriving late to make the Dublin connection.  I’m guessing.


Finally airborne…a long flight through the night arriving in Dublin early in the morning and of course exhausted.  Heather and her soon to be husband Casey took a different flight over through Charlotte so we had to find them at the Dublin airport.  Simple right?  Not exactly.


We took out an international data package that will allow me to work and keep in touch while we’re here BUT…my phone does not work.  And we have no idea where to find our kids.  So while standing in line to get our passports stamped (another first for me) I’m on the phone with our carrier who walk me through turning on my “roaming” to make my text, internet and data all work.  Success…and we found the kids waiting on the other side of “baggage” for us…calm…and tired.


My wife Kathy has done a ton of work putting this adventure together including getting us a bank card that would allow us to exchange currency and use as a credit card without overseas additional add on charges.  Except…that did not work either and we still are waiting on the bank back home to figure out why.  A completely different card got us 100 pounds to help pay tolls etc in SOUTHERN Ireland…and I can’t wait to see what the add on charge might be for using a different credit card.  Sigh.  I kept reminding myself…this an adventure…roll with the flow Bill.



Then…renting the car.  Hertz.  They promised us one car with enough trunk space to accommodate the bags for the four of us…and of course they did not have that.  The clerk who was very friendly offered to upgrade us…which we did not want because of a pretty steep jump in price.  On his own he found us another car with more trunk space…but only after we are on the road does my wife discover they stuck the additional charge on our card.  That leads to another call while I’m driving on the wrong side of the road that ended with Hertz taking that charge off of our credit card with an apology.  Have I mentioned this is quite the adventure?



I’m gonna admit…driving on the wrong side of the road is going to take some getting used to.  I have three navigators in the car doing their best to keep me on the LEFT side of the road while trying to stay calm themselves.  It’s been a mind game keeping me on the side of the road I’m supposed to be on.  But again it's a big old adventure.




My wife found a castle that rents out a room that sits about an hour and a half from the Dublin airport where we landed…just a few miles north of Belfast. Our two-bedroom apartment is the only one on this property where this castle sits.  Built in the 1800’s they tell us with lots of history…with acreage.  Most surely it makes us feel like we are not sleeping in Nashville. 





After some of us (Me!) crashing for a few hours we drove into the little town of Warrenpoint which sits on the water…and found the charming town square where we found a local place for dinner where we did the tourist thing and ordered fish and chips.  Good grief.  It was a huge piece of cod with fries…delicious.  They expect no tip at a lot of restaurants and there’s not a place on the slip even to leave one when you go to pay.  Our waitress kept insisting it was okay not to leave a tip since we had no small Euro bills to leave her.


Yes…we got pounds at the airport in Dublin…but in Northern Ireland you need Euros. We’ll be doing that…if the ole new credit card will let us later today. 






We got back early enough to take a stroll of the property here which is really cool.  We stumbled upon their equestrian center where you can sign up and learn to ride if you’d like.  They saw us peering over the fence at the stables and horses and the young man in charge came over and opened the gate and let us wander around with the horses.  He could not have been nicer and his dream is to move to Nashville some day!  He admits he’s a terrible singer…but would love to come.  Made me smile.  I told him he was making much more money with his steeds than he would trying to be a singer-writer-whatever in Music City which made him laugh.  Nice guy.


One of the horse we petted had a new foal in stable with her as you can see in the picture.  It was a nice unexpected surprise on our little Irish walk in the countryside last night that had lots of wonderful views and vistas of the green grass, valleys, lakes and little mountains.





In the middle of the forest we entered lays an old abandoned castle in ruins.  It was like visiting a house in the “Hobbits” for crying out loud.  Old archways…and stones and vines now growing all over it in the middle of the forest.









Just down the little trail blue bells filled the forest floor.  Absolutely beautiful.






And even further down the road we walked on we dodged farm equipment…big tractors and trucks hitting the fields to mow the hay and grass in this gorgeous place.  The air was clean…the views incredible and it smelled like newly mowed hay.








Then back to the castle where everyone bedded down early last night…and all but me are still sleeping right now.






So quite the start to our Irish trip.  With some rest…I have a feeling we’ll start to enjoy this even more each day we’re here.




The work I do for New York continues…so yesterday at the Nashville airport you would have found me with my laptop banging out yet another parody song about that other wedding going on over here in England.  Their wedding is going to cost a bit more than ours at Windsor Castle so I had no problem making a funny song out of that.


Heather’s wedding will feature an old castle on the northern coast of Ireland.  She and Casey will have a little spot to stand on that should provide some incredible pictures of the castle and the sea it’s perched on.


I’ve sent a note to the Queen of England asking her to pick up my tab too but have not heard back from her yet.  Weird. 


A lot of folks…especially locals have used this little spot to stand on to say their “I Do’s”.  You can see why. 





I love how we are able to communicate quickly from anywhere.  Because of that I was able to open my e-mail and find two brand new music demos from co-writers waiting on me to listen to.


Larry Frick…a great young country singer recorded a song the two of us wrote a few weeks ago in Nashville…our first time meeting and writing.  The song turned out great that day…and what he sent me was even greater.  Talented young man who plays several instruments…and I got to hear all of that on the demo he sent me.  Thank you Larry…made my day over here!


And…my friend Steve Williams who co-wrote “Redneck Yacht Club” for Craig Morgan…went back into his files and found the first song we wrote together and re-recorded the song and sent it to me.  Steve is from St. Louis…so we know a lot of the same folks.  When we wrote this song at Steve’s publishing company many years ago…we loved the tune (that to be honest Steve mostly wrote) but it’s just kind of laid in our catalogs without much attention.  So…it’s a bonus knowing he has not been able to get this song out of his head…so much so that we now have a fresh demo to pitch to artists all over again.  Thank you Steve for loving this tune that much.



Father’s Day is coming up and now the old “what to get for Dad” begins.  For those of you who have Dad’s like me…hair challenged…I saw an ad in our inflight magazine advertising a ball cap that grows hair!  Where was that when I needed it?  Get Dad a cap…and watch his hair grow.  How ya gonna beat that for a present for Dad?



Shaquille O’neal is selling his little f Florida house if you’re interested.  33,00 square feet with 12 bedrooms that comes with a 6,000 square foot basketball court with bleacher seating and lots of Superman logos all over the mansion.  Shaq loves Superman. Oh yea…you also get two garages that can house 17 cars.


If my daughter is reading this...I’ll take this over the hair growing ball cap for Father’s Day.  Thanks.



Day 2 in Ireland.  I think we’re going to drive north to check out the wedding location today but not sure.  I’m sure there will be a lot to add here to the blog come Monday.  See you then.


Have a great weekend!

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