When February 1996 rolled around, Finn McKraut had 1 more day (leap year) to check out 1/2 of his ancestor’s homeland of Ireland. The German half were in their graves drinking warm beer and reminiscing about the Vaterland. The airline Finn picked would take him to London and then fly him to Dublin. His timing couldn’t have been much worse as an IRA terrorist blew himself up and injured 8 people on the bus near downtown London while transporting the bomb. Lucky Finn landed at Heathrow right after the smoke cleared. Landing in Dublin, he went to pick up his reject rental car at the airport and, upon entering on the left, was greeted by a very functional glove box. They called them reject rentals because the factory put the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car. Damn British Empire. Mr. McKraut drove to downtown Dublin and took in the sights (+sites) as he saw fit. First was Trinity College of Dublin, established in 1592. The geniuses that spilled out of their hallways and changed the world are numerous, but the greatest invention of the Irish had to wait 168 years before the Guinness Brewery was built. As the city was founded in 841 and the economics of Ireland was held back, Finn saw an old, dirty city with poor infrastructure and very little modernization. It contrasted intensely against the modern cities in America that he was used to. At the time, Ireland was the poorest country in Western Europe, and it showed. Heading southwest towards Limerick, Finn was looking at the barren countryside and expected to see lush forests similar to Scotland. Wrong! The majority of the woodlands had been cut down for lumber and fuel and was not replanted. Sad. The good news was that castles from the 8th century are now visible from the highway without trees cloaking the landscape and fatal hits with cars have dropped dramatically. Pulling into Limerick, Finn looked back into his youth as a young Cath-o-lick and remembered many vulgar limericks as a kid. Ahh, religion.

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