Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Whiskey and the Wildlife of the Land

Early November in Ireland. Means you're busier with assignments at college and the rainy days have increased. So you feel quite lucky when it's a sunny day for traveling about. I did a whiskey tour this past Saturday, to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery. It was actually a field trip with my International Marketing & Management class, and this was just one of our stops. What history lies here__ while walking the historic courtyard you can almost hear the men blowing up the whiskey with gunpowder to test if it was any good or not. That was called 'shot whiskey' in olden days. You can easily imagine the old water wheel turning and making electricity for the blowers and pulley systems. You can imagine the farmers hauling in the barley from their fields...wagon wheels jiggling upon the uneven cobblestone. This place is old for sure, though they haven't made whiskey here since the 1970's or something like that. However they do still have some aging in barrels in one of  the dark, cool warehouses. What I found interesting is that while U.S. whiskey is only distilled once, the Irish distill their's three times. I especially loved the barrels everywhere, and there was furniture made from barrels everywhere too! Being a lover of design, I could hardly keep my eyes and hands of the barrel chairs. If you've ever seen barrel making, or a video of them being made, you gain high respect. It's a lot of work! And nowadays, especially here on the Emerald Island, they use barrels not only for alcohol but for decor as well.

After lunch at the Distillery cafe(sandwiches and soup), me and the rest of my class headed off to Fota Wildlife Preserve. This is truly an unforgettable place to me. I saw so many animals here that I've never seen before in my life, since I've never been to a big zoo or anything. This place was like a "little Africa" or "little Asia" really, as they take such animals as zebras, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, kangaroos, & many others, to protect, manage, and breed their species. I stood in the beginning of the park a bit dumbfounded, looking around thinking,"Wow, you'd never expect to see this in Ireland, it's so exotic!" Because, for one, it's not indoors at all, bit actually most of the animals are just in farm-type fences, if even that. The kangaroos and moneys practically free-roam, especially the many birds they have there too. I tried to get quality shots of as many animals as I could, but there were still plenty that I missed.For instance, the red pandas were curled up taking naps in the branches of their tree so it was hard to get capture them well. And some of the moneys....well as I mentioned some moneys are hardly penned and even have a "money island" for a natural-like habitat, but other kinds are surrounded by high fence. The zebras reminded me of horses, though a bit shorter and well, 'wilder-looking'.

Just look at these beautiful creatures! And yes, Ostriches ARE huge; so are giraffes! However, cheetahs and tigers aren't necessarily as big as I'd imagined. They are super strong and powerful looking though! I think my favorite were the giraffes.Oh my but the tiger too...have you ever looked into a tigers's huge cat-eyes? They are truly stunning creatures! Seeing all these amazing creatures, I realize just what a sense of variety and creativity God has. Obviously this place isn't a zoo exactly, but they do take some of the animals from the Dublin zoo, as well as other places around he world. It was just so incredible that I got to see so many of the animals in one day that I've been wanting to see my whole life!!!

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