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Your Special Assignment

December 31, 2008
corey says…

Okay, I promised to offer ways to INCREASE your chances of winning a prize from our second chance giveaways on Friday and Monday. Here’s the deal…

We are planning our Irish-American Roadtrip (more info at Anyone who suggests a stop relating to something Irish or Irish-American along our route between Milwaukee and Los Angeles gets entered into a special drawing.

Don’t have a suggestion along the route? That’s okay, suggest something from your neck of the woods and you’ll get included too. Who knows? Maybe we can do another roadtrip soon, and it’s never too early to start planning.

Leave your comments below. Wanna see other’s comments? Click the “Comments” link at the bottom of this post.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Kaye permalink
    January 2, 2009 2:42 AM

    Hey –
    Are you coming through Iowa?

    I live in NW Iowa, so I have lots of Iowa suggestions…let’s see. It looks like your loop might take you more through the Des Moines area though…

    But – lucky for you, my best friend lives in Des Moines, so I travel there often, and have lots of suggestions for you.

    1 – Living History Farms – an amazing picture of what life was like in the past on the prairie.

    With a quick web search, I found the following “irish related items in DM:

    The following shop is in a REALLY fun little “downtown” shopping area in DM. This is one thing I really like about DM. Although it’s a large town, and the state capital, (which is gorg I might add) the whole city has a really “downtown” we’re-all-neighbors-here kind of feel! I also highly recommend the Lagniappe (store in the Valley Junction). Fun custom artwork and jewelry. (including gorgeous one-of-a-kind kimono jackets which I adore.)

    The following I know nothing about, but just FYI, I found them: 🙂

    A couple other spots of interest/places I like:

    Mars Cafe, a great place to get a cuppa joe or a glass of wine, near Drake Universtiy. Frederichs Coffee – the best joe in the city on the corner of 42nd and University.

    (remember, the 42nd and university location!)

    Nearby places of interest:
    The Bridges of Madison County (made popular by the book/movie)

    Amana Colonies, etc. if you like that sort of thing in SouthEast Iowa. (colona/Kolona – kind of an amish type community)

    If it’s good weather, and you’re from out of town, (and especially if you’re a ferrigner) my friend’s dad just MIGHT get out his combine…for show and tell.

    OH – I highly recommend this B and B. Stayed there and LOVED it. Highly exceeded my expectations and raised the bar for all future B and B experiences:

    This chocalatier is phenomenal:

    This is a lovely and unpretentious (sp?) little herb farm run by a lovely couple.

    what else. If you come up into the NW Iowa area, there are lots of places I can recommend in Sioux Falls, but I’ll save that for another day/verification that you’re coming in the SF direction. 🙂

    Happy trails!

  2. Laura Cirra permalink
    January 2, 2009 2:47 AM

    Don’t suppose there’s any chance of you coming up to Sheboygan County before heading south.

    There is a quaint Irish B&B in Plymouth: 52 Stafford. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

    Maybe you could visit it the day before you start your trip. I recommend the Tenderloin Shannon and the Curried Shrimp.

    Are you based in Milwaukee? Love your program. My mom brought back some Irish Turf for us as a souvenir of Ireland 🙂

  3. Laura Cirra permalink
    January 2, 2009 2:48 AM

    Milwaukee, sure enough! Just found you on Twitter…

  4. Kaye permalink
    January 2, 2009 3:05 AM

    OK – Shoot ! I just gave you lots of tips on Des Moines, Iowa, and it doesn’t look like I saved/sent it right!?!?! argh.

    Here goes again:

    Des Moines, Iowa.

    Quaint little town with a we’re-all-neighbors-here kind of feel. (And really quite a beautiful capital building…) 🙂

    fascinating look at the history of life on the prairie:

    a great place to get a cuppa joe or a glass of wine:

    BUT – this is the BEST place to get a cuppa joe:

    (make sure you go to the 42nd and University location)

    a phenomenal chocalatier:

    the best B and B I have ever been to:

    An unpretentious but lovely little herb farm run by a lovely couple.

    google/irish search came up with the following, which I actually know nothing about. 🙂

    Following shop is located in a fun shopping area called the Valley Junction. Very Norman Rockwell kind of downtown kind of feel. I recommend also the Lagniappe which has lovely things from some local artists – including beautiful one-of-a-kind kimono jackets.

    And…if the weather’s good, and you’re from out of town (especially if you’re a ferrigner…)…my friend’s dad just might get out the combine…for show and tell. Just in case ya’ never saw one up close. It’s a special occasion, let me tell you!

  5. January 2, 2009 3:29 AM

    Thank you! These are great suggestions!

    Kaye – I grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan, so I grew up with a combine in the yard 😉 Ireland is my second home.

    Des Moines is also the home of Cindy Helgason from – She’s got Irish Fireside Oatmeal Soap – made with real McCann’s Irish Oatmeal!

    Laura – I think the owners of the B&B in Plymouth also own County Clare in Milwaukee…and I think a few others. They have beautiful properties.

    I’ve got some Irish turf incense burning now…great way to start the new year.

    Check back tomorrow to so if you end up with some gifts!


  6. Dan permalink
    January 2, 2009 7:45 AM

    I wouldn’t think that you would come through Memphis, but if you do there a couple places you should check out.

    I’ve only been to Celtic Crossing a couple of times and only for drinks so I can’t comment on the food. However, I do like the Irish ambience quite a bit. An added plus is the live Irish music on Sundays.

    Dan McGuinness is very popular in Memphis and elsewhere. Although they are more chain-like than I normally like, they have some damn good food. I had many items off their menu, but the Scotch eggs are killer!

    If you don’t make through Memphis on this trip, maybe you could plan another Irish-American road trip down the Mighty Mississip.

  7. Kim permalink
    January 3, 2009 11:56 AM

    Hey Corey & Liam,

    I returned from Ireland in October and want to say it was gloriously, wonderful. Two full weeks of sun after the soggiest summer in years we were told.

    Liam and I emailed a bit before I went and we share the same family name Hughes though mine are in Galway. I did visit all of the family and Liam was right it was a very busy trip, but I loved every moment of it. We had tea in Galway, Roscommon, Westport and Antrim. It was a race around the Island to see all the folks I had connected with before the trip. Thanks for your advice!

    I saw your Road trip and encourage you to stop in San Diego. There are several great Irish Pubs in the Gaslamp district, The Field best know for Carley the “Irish” American Idol from last season, and Dublin Square to name a couple. Also San Diego is just a great place to visit a bit warmer than Milwaukee. By the way Liam, We also have friends from Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Ann Arbor!

    If you decide to come this way I will arrange an Irish Tea for you on my Bellek China! Be safe and Keep up the great work…Love the site and all the podcasts. I am saving them up. I haven’t listened since Corey left Ireland b/c I was all cought up.

    I have been listening to some really great audio books on my iPod about Ireland. Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart from Minnesota are great. And the Irish Country Village and Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, and The Irish Historical books by Morgan Llewellyn and Frank Delany’s Ireland and Tipperary are great too. I think I have also seen every Irish flick available in the US from Netflix. I am nearing the end of the book list so if you have any suggestions!!! That is why I am saving up the podcasts for when I run out of books and movies!!

    Take Care and have a safe trip! Hope to see you in sunny San Diego!


  8. Chuck permalink
    January 3, 2009 5:51 PM

    Liam & Corey,

    I know you will thoroughly enjoy your road trip as will all of us that will be following your progress. If you pass through Madison, Wisconsin…not far from your home town Milwaukee…take the opportunity to stop at The Claggagh Irish Pub in Middleton, Wisconsin.


    The Claddagh is set in the traditional Irish Pub atmosphere with many snugs for privacy and a fantastic main bar with all the tappers you can imagine. The owners reportedly imported much of the decor from Ireland and tried to stay true to Irish tradition. Great place to enjoy a pint or two of Guinness or a Smithwick’s.


  9. Amanda permalink
    January 4, 2009 1:15 AM

    I wish I had a suggestion to offer! I just recently moved to Cleveland, Ohio and though you probably won’t be heading here hopefully someone else will make a few suggestions for this area that I can benefit from! Since I’ve been here I’ve been very pregnant and have a new baby so I haven’t had much chance for exploring this area yet.

    Kim – thanks for the book recommendations!

  10. Karen Hoyle permalink
    January 6, 2009 12:12 AM

    GREAT responses thus far. In my travels back East,
    we loved these to places to have some really good to eat, but of no particular cuisine, but good place to stop if you see one and are hungry! As you pass over the Illinois, Missouri areas — check out STEAK & SHAKE, and don’t pass by CRACKER BARREL!!! Nothing Gourmet about them; but hey are good for a meal on your trip! Also, if you are staying at hotels and motels, we really like Drurey (spelling?) Nice rooms, good breakfast included….. Take Care…..Don’t forget Portland 🙂 🙂

  11. Noreen permalink
    January 6, 2009 10:23 AM

    I think you should read “Hard Road to Klondike” as inspiration for your trip and visit Montana – particularly Butte, formerly the most Irish city in America. The book is a treat and a great inspiration for a road trip! It’s the memoir of a miner from Donegal at the turn of the last century who goes to Pennsylvania, then Montana, then on to the Yukon. A brilliant book!

  12. January 6, 2009 10:45 AM

    Loving all these suggestions. Our itinerary is really filling up. We’re going to need to take a vacation after all this 😉

    Dan – I don’t think we’ll make Memphis this trip, but we will definitely need to do include it on a future trip. I’ve don’t the Mississippi from the Twin Cities to Hanibal…I’d love to do the whole thing. Thanks for the tips.

    Kim – We’re trying to include San Diego…we’ve had a few warm welcomes from the area and would love to meet everyone. Your suggestions of tea and Belleek might just seal the deal…just watch out, Liam likes broken dishes 🙂

    Chuck – We’ll have to pop in to Claddagh next time we’re in Madison. BTW, Smithwick’s is one of my favorites.

    Amanda – Congratulations on the new baby! We’ll have to add Ohio to our next trip as well!

    Karen – I’m always a sucker for Cracker Barrel. I was at my first Steak N Shake back in October – tasty.

    Noreen – thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have to swing by the bookstore this week

    Thanks for the comments everyone,

  13. Lisa permalink
    January 8, 2009 5:21 AM

    C’mon over to St. Louis – just a sample:

    St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club
    Hurling & Gaelic Football in St. Louis. Matches start up in the spring at Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World’s Fair and the largest urban park in the country (larger than Central Park!).


    Named as one of the nation’s “Top 10” Irish pubs, has live music nightly, and for 13 of the last fifteen years been voted best Irish pub in St. Louis

    Saint Louis Irish Arts

    St. Louis Irish Arts Incorporated is the local branch of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a worldwide organization founded in 1951 to preserve and promote Irish traditional music, song, and dance. Though our head office is located in Monkstown Dublin, there are over 400 branches of the organization worldwide with 44 of these branches in North America. St. Louis Irish Arts Inc, is one of the largest branches of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in North America and currently has the largest number of Junior members.

    Dogtown (Clayton/Tamm neighborhood)
    St. Louis’ Irish neighborhood – was the first home to many of the Irish immigrants who came here and made Saint Louis a favorite destination for starting a new life. Also home to St. James Parish.

  14. Patrig L. Hughes permalink
    January 10, 2009 9:08 AM

    Liam and Cory, 😉 we would just love to have you stop by in Sumner, Iowa. The table is always set, and if you would like some traditional Irish fare, we would surely put on some corn beef & cabbage for the two of you. if not that then Liam we can prepare the best beef you have ever tasted.

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