When we first arrived here just before Christmas last year, many Irish remarked to us that they thought Thanksgiving was a bigger holiday than Christmas for us Americans.  We weren’t sure why people had that impression until we spent our first Thanksgiving here, when Amy came up with a theory.  She really missed having Thursday and Friday off, and talked about it at work, a lot.  I suppose a few days of bitching about not getting the holiday days off might make people think Thanksgiving was pretty important.

To celebrate on Thursday, Amy and I met Denise (another American working for the Cope Foundation) and went to Suas, a pub showing American football on TV (we saw the Lions getting thrown to the Titans), then to Captain America’s for a cheeseburger.  It may not have been a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it was American (except the price, which was purely Irish — around 14€ for a bacon cheeseburger).

Our real Thanksgiving dinner came yesterday at Denise’s.  She and her Irish fiancé Michael hosted a Thanksgiving dinner and invited around 20 friends.  Denise and Michael cooked the turkey and made the gravy (which was excellent), and everyone brought a dish or two.  The food was great, but again we were reminded of how different this was for most people here.  At one point after dinner everyone shared something they were thankful for and most of the Irish mentioned being thankful for being invited to their first Thanksgiving dinner.  I realized this was my fortieth.

One of the guests mentioned he was happy to have tried so many different foods he hadn’t had before, which struck me because there wasn’t a thing on the table that would have looked out of place in most American homes.  Another  guest had gotten hold of a cornbread mix and made corn muffins, and he said he would be waiting to see how Amy reacted when she tried one to see if he’d done them right (he had, and she liked them).  All the food was wonderful and it felt very much like a Thanksgiving back home.  We asked a few people what a traditional Irish Christmas dinner was like, and we were surprised to hear that usually there would be only three kinds of potatoes.

One digression.  After dinner, we played Catchphrase, in which a person gives clues to her teammates so they can guess a word or short phrase (it’s a bit like Password).  As we’ve explained in an earlier post, the th- sound is pronounced simply as t- by most people here, so last year when the game was played, and an Irishwoman had to give clues for the name Goldilocks, she said, “And the three bears . . .”  All the Americans on her team yelled out, “Fruit!”