Wednesday, March 11, 2015

McGee's Pub

Once Upon A Time in a place called North Carolina, there lived a husband, a wife and son, a dog, a cat, and two sets of grandparents.  The husband was working on a big computer software installation at his company's Ireland facility in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland.  

  This husband was having to fly all the time frequently back and forth (to England and Northern Ireland) and the wife and son missed him a lot.  He had to spend many weekends there too, and when he finally got home for a week or so, he was worn out (and sometimes grouchy).  This was a stressful time for everyone because the son was in second grade and didn't want to do his homework and the mom had to get after him a lot, and the teacher sent notes home that he was talking too much in class (got that from his mom, by the way).  The mom had also re-entered the work force and was trying to learn a new job, and they also had Boy Scouts and little league baseball and piano lessons. Whew!  They really missed Dad a lot.

Well, after all that flying back and forth across the Big Pond, the husband had built up enough frequent flier miles that the wife was able to fly to England and Northern Ireland with him -- for free!  They got to spend ten days there (including travel time), and it was such a fun experience that it almost made up for all the time the husband had to be away.  :)  

 This was also the part where the two sets of grandparents came in.  They kept the son while the parents were away and made sure he got to school and to his other activities, and they were generally the biggest help and downright wonderful.  They also kept the dog and took care of the cat.  The Mom would not have gone if they hadn't been there because she had never been an ocean apart from her boy before.  ;) 

There were lots of things the wife liked about Ireland, for she got to visit Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, too.  The people were extra friendly; they talked in lilting, musical voices; the shopping was great ;) and she really liked the pubs.  Here in the southeastern U.S. where the husband and wife grew up, there were no pubs in their area -- just bars.  Not the same thing at all.  Pubs are friendly and cozy with charming decor and local musicians, a fire in the fireplace, and real food like fish and chips and shepherd's pie, and you can even bring the whole family.  Moms and dads, children, grandparents, sometimes even the dog.  

Some years after the husband and wife took their trip and the husband was through with all the traveling, they finished a room in their basement and decorated it like a pub, never dreaming that one day the wife would be writing a blog.  They found some things online for the room, and the husband's parents brought them some things back from Ireland when they traveled there.

Fast forward 16 years and it's almost St. Patrick's Day.  Kathleen, of Cuisine Kathleen, is hosting her annual St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl, and I'm ready to join in the fun.  This year I set a pub table in our kitchen using a lot of the things from our basement room to give it a pub feel.

 I found these place mats online, and I love the pictures of Irish pubs on each one.

 When we were in England and Ireland, we saw these hard, cork-bottomed place mats in a lot of pubs.  I think they look so much nicer than the paper kind you see in restaurants here.

The glasses that say "McGee's Pub, County Antrim, Ireland" were given to me by my uncle.  I was thrilled to get them because our last name is McGee.  :)  The Guinness pub tray, coasters, and bottle opener were all purchased online.  Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the website.

The husband purchased the Guinness tin whistle at the Guinness gift shop in Dublin.  He bought an instruction book with it, but it's a lot harder to play than it looks.  ;-D

He also purchased the Guinness toucan salt and pepper shakers on one of his later business trips to Ireland.

I wish I could take credit for making the Irish soda bread, but I can't.  We have a local grocery store here called The Fresh Market, and they bake the most wonderful artisan breads.  Every year in March, they offer this soda bread around St. Patrick's Day.  I purchased the Irish butter there, as well.

This Irish Blessing on the wall was brought to us from my husband's parents -- but not from Ireland.  My mother-in-law actually found it at a gift shop in Idaho several years ago.  I think it's so unusual.  It's printed on vellum and made to look like a medieval illuminated manuscript, done somewhat in the style of The Book of Kells.  The round blob in the center near the bottom is a piece of wax with an imprint from a ring like an abbot or bishop might have worn.

The Bodhran drum was brought to us from Ireland by my in-laws.

I purchased this shamrock cloth a few years ago at a local tea shop that carries imported teas and linens from Ireland and England.

The white woven basket, the potholder, and the towels were purchased from HomeGoods.

Here are the rest of the pictures.

So that's our pub table.  You can click Here to see my St. Patrick's Day tablescape from last year and Here to see my St. Patrick's Day tea tray.

I'm a bit late getting my post published, but I'm headed over to Kathleen's blog crawl right now.  I hope you'll stop by for lots of Irish fun and wearin' of the green.  Thank you for visiting and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

I'm Joining:
Susan at BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday
Sherry for Home Sweet Home Party
Cindy for Amaze Me Monday



**A big "Thank You" from the wife to the husband for taking these pictures.**  XO


  1. Hi Denise, What a wonderful post! I would love to visit Ireland some day. What fun that you have McGee pub glasses and I love your pretty cloth. Thanks for the reminder about Fresh Market, it's a little off my beaten path but always worth the trip. I've made Irish Soda Bread but I think I'll skip baking and pick up a loaf instead. Happy St. Paddy's Day ♣

  2. You've created a darling little "pub!" Happy Saint Patrick's Day

  3. I so enjoyed visiting your kitchen pub, Denise. You have so much Irish memorabilia that you shared with us. How lucky to have your McGee glasses! What wonderful memories you and Hal must have of your stay together in Ireland. Happy St. Paddy's Day!

  4. What a fun tale about your trip to Ireland, Denise. You really enjoyed your time there. Love the Irish pub you created in your home!

  5. Denise, I enjoyed traveling to Ireland with you. Lovely memories you have shared. I lost my first comment and I seem to do that often. Wish I could recreate it. Thank you for sharing your memories in your tablescape.
    I would love to visit Ireland.
    Happy St. Patrick's day, Mrs. McGee.

  6. A very interesting and enjoyable post, Denise. Lots of great bits of information, memorabilia, and I really enjoyed how you told the story.When I was working overseas a lot, the grandparents came and lovingly helped my husband and the kids and dog. Such a blessing the grandparents are to families like ours.

  7. McGee's pub is a charming touch of Irish ambiance. Your kitchen looks like a wonderful place to sit down and imbibe in a bit of the spirits and partake in a lovely corn beef dinner with a slice of soda bread covered in Irish butter and slathered in jam for dessert. I do hope you enjoy your fond memories of the Emerald Isle as you celebrate Saint Patrick's Day this week.

  8. Cute and creative! Your table is very festive.

  9. I'd love to visit Ireland. I'm not Irish but I've always been intrigued by the pictures of the countryside. How lucky to find the McGee's glasses! I bought a loaf of Irish Soda bread too for the coming day to have with a corned beef and cabbage dinner. I enjoyed your pub you have some great collectible pieces. Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  10. I love this, very interesting! Many of my relatives play the tin whistle at parties and we all sing . Great craic as they say! Love your McGee glasses! Now make Irish Soda Bread, it is ever so much better than store bought. There's no LOVE in theirs! Try my recipe, very easy!
    Thanks so much for joining in the party, can't believe it is 7 years! Happy SPD!

  11. Denise, I really enjoyed your post...I can imagine how beautiful and green Ireland is. What a great table that gives you so many great memories...oh, and those toucan s/p are adorable.
    This year I am going to make Irish Soda bread...along with the corned beef and cabbage.
    Happy Saint Pat's day to you!

  12. You certainly have such wonderful souvenirs from Ireland and how great that you have the McGee glasses!....will have to go to Fresh Market and check out their soda bread....and I so love KerryGold butter...have used it for a long time and cannot go back to just regular butter...I hear that Costco carries it too!

  13. Well I missed it the first time around. I had no idea that you had an Irish pub in the basement! Very cool!



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