Mrs. Working Stiff and I visited my brother and his wife at their cool pad in Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend. It was a long drive south on Thursday and a slightly longer drive north on Sunday (thanks to a wrong turn on my part!) Aside from the simple pleasure of visiting people dear to us, we went seeking an infusion of the elusive and ephemeral “holiday spirit”. We did in fact have a liberal daily infusion of various spirits which may well have included some “holiday spirit”.
They have a bungalow in the historic Boylan Heights neighborhood of Raleigh, not more than a 15 minute walk to the downtown area and the State Capital building. Boylan Heights, one of Raleigh’s earliest planned suburbs, is a true neighborhood, with lots of people who know each other and watch each other’s cats and dogs when needed. Mostly developed in the early 1900’s, the area is rich in bungalows and Craftsman style homes, while some of the fancier and larger homes are built in the Colonial or Queen Anne styles. It is a neighborhood of shady front porches and tree-filled back yards. You can read more about the area HERE.
A great thing about the area is the huge selection of bars and restaurants that are within just a short drive or walk. One place that is a favorite and regular spot is an Irish Pub called “The Hibernian”. We went there for lunch on Saturday and came upon something very interesting. The front of the building had a special Leprechaun Entrance (see photos). Prior to this visit I had no idea there were enough leprechauns in Raleigh to warrant this, but we learn something new every day! I did not actually see any leprechauns inside, but then it was early in the day and quiet still. I will report that the Irish stew I had for lunch was excellent comfort food (very similar to a classic American beef stew), and overall the Hibernian was an attractive and cozy place. I will confess that any attraction I may have to Irish pubs in general or to The Hibernian itself, does not extend to my drinking Guinness, so I made do happily with a Winter Lager from our own Mr. Adams up north in Beantown. (The Brother of The Working Stiff is welcome to my share of the Guinness in the world.) There is a large outdoor seating area up on the 2nd floor which must be a great place to have a snack and make the scene in warmer weather. If your travels find you in Raleigh, a visit to The Hibernian would be well worth your time and a good spot for lunch and a cold beverage. Check out The Hibernian.
Now- back to the leprechauns. What do these mischievous Irish creatures have to do with Christmas? Well, nothing perhaps, other than that it is a common rumor that Santa’s Elves are not-so-distant cousins to the leprechauns of Ireland. Santa’s Elves build toys in a secure undisclosed North Pole location and leprechauns guard their pots of gold and grant wishes if caught. They are all about the same size. If mingling together in large numbers at say, the annual Magical Creature Convention, there would obviously be a sea of red and green outfits. There you have it – the Christmas connection! A festive scene of red and green!
They seem to all have a taste for the cooler climes though, which leads me to wonder how the Raleigh settlement will work out over time. (Raleigh can be HOT!)
A last Raleigh comment. If you have not eaten too much for lunch at The Hibernian and you are thinking of a first-class dinner out at a fun and unique place, try the Irregardless Café on Morgan Street. We go there pretty much every time we visit and it is always enjoyable. The décor is unique, the staff is super-sharp (and unique), and the rotating menu items are always fantastic. They have live entertainment most nights, and sometimes really good at that.
The Working Stiff