Aug 2, 2011

Ode to Guinness & LotR

My dad will never forget where he was when he heard of Kennedy's assassination. My mom clearly remembers when Sputnik was announced. I have my own dramatic memories such as watching the Challenger explosion live in my fourth grade classroom and, fifteen years later on the other side of a public classroom desk, the attack on the twin towers. I will also remember where I was when I drank my very first Guinness.

It was 1995 and I was on a ferry on my way to Northern Ireland with my best friend, Aaron (you'll see him pop up from time to time as a follower and commenter on this blog). I was taking a year off from college to backpack through Ireland, England, and Scotland (the last being my favorite). None, thereafter, have tasted as good, even the "free" ones I appropriated at the brewery in Dublin.

Me at the Falls of Tarf (look hard)
photograph by Aaron Gilkison

This first was accompanied by another. In a ziploc bag, tucked into a top compartment of my forty-pound pack, was a paperback copy of The Lord of the Rings (LotR). As I trekked my own furry little toes across the beautiful isles, Frodo and Sam were doing likewise towards the horror of Mordor. As I bathed in the Falls of Tarf near Blair Atholl, Frodo did likewise in the Death Marshes, though with considerable more peril. And while I did sleep in castle ruins, I never faced down Ring Wraiths there.

Just as with my first Guinness, I've enjoyed parts of LotR since then, but never in it's entirety nor in such depth.

Scottish ruins where my friend and I slept and dreamt of things dark and dangerous.


  1. Such a cool post! Thanks for sharing these memories.

    I, too, remember my first Guinness. Sadly, it's not quite as memorable as yours.

    It was 1994 at Tom Bergin's, a pub here in Los Angeles that is a bit of an ad industry hangout, and also one of the "inspiration bars" for the guys who created "Cheers." I'm one of those weird people who tries to adapt his drinking style to the locale. So, I'm not going to go into an old-school Irish pub and ask for (for example) a Bud Light or a Rum & Coke. I'm going to drink Irish Beer and Irish Whiskey. So, on my first visit there, I looked around for something to order, and ended up getting a Guinness.

    Oddly enough, I wasn't immediately "sold." It took me about 10 years to really appreciate it, but now it's probably my favorite beer.

    Anyway, great post, Dylan! Keep 'em coming!

  2. Your favorite? Wow!


Thanks for posting to the Digital Orc! Be sure to pick up a copy of one of my old-school modules available at!