I’d never heard this phrase until the day after Valentine’s when a florist in my town advertised a DOG-HOUSE DOZEN SALE-or a bouquet of roses for those who had been relegated to the proverbial doghouse for failure to deliver on Valentine’s Day!
If YOU’VE forgotten a special occasion, or have become cynical, detached and insensitive, it just might be time to up your game. Because I know some aren’t wired in ways of romantic expression, I am here to help you win back your true love’s affections.(You can thank me later.) Here then, are my twelve suggested romance packages—with an Aran twist—guaranteed to spring you from imprisonment.
THE ARAN ISLAND’S DOG-HOUSE DOZEN….12 WAYS TO RE-CLAIM YOUR DARLIING’S HEART!
#1. LOVER’S CRUISE.
(Well, sorta.) Just get there! Hop aboard one of Aran’s excellent ferries and sail your sweetheart to another world. There’s no fancy-schmancy dress code, there are snacks and libations, and every now and again, there’s spontaneous entertainment on board. If your beloved is not a sea-farer, you’ve another option. Treat yourselves to a gorgeous, birds-eye view of the islands from the planes that go out each day.
#2. A ROOM WITH A VIEW.
In Aran, there’s no view that’s not hauntingly beautiful and wildly romantic. Beyond the window, there’s a panoramic treat for all the senses! Open it, breathe deep, release all tensions, and listen to the natural white noise of wind and waves. (I once had a hen who offered room service-eggs by my door-and she even refused my tip! Ya just never know!)
#3. THE ULTIMATE CARRIAGE RIDE.
Who needs NYC’s Central Park? Book a pony-trap tour of the magical Aran Islands, but heed this warning…the drivers are quite polite and charming. (Could be risky for one who can’t remember important dates.)
#4. BETTER THAN BOCELLI. CONCERT TICKETS!
Every pub has its Aran Bocelli. The musical genre might vary, but yes, you will hear the musical masters and you WILL NOT be disappointed. Raise a toast, request a love song, and dance the night away, as if no one watching!
#5. TABLE FOR TWO?
You can’t beat the Aran Islands for elegant dining. From toastie, to surf, to turf, to the king of potatoes, you’ll experience the best of elemental and made-from-scratch delicacies on all three islands. Enjoy an intimate table for two, or if you like pub fare and an instant party, sit yourself down at a table for twenty! Do ENJOY!
#6. CLOTHING FIT FOR A QUEEN (OR KING)
Some females do find themselves in the doghouse. (Speaking of a friend, of course!) Two words about luxury giving…ARAN KNITS. Present your sweetheart with an Aran-knit garment and watch the swoon while you wrap the fair shoulders in an Aran sweater. I won’t say it will be better than your hugs but, it will be a close second. (wink!)
#7. FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER
She (or he) loves YOU, right? So there’s already an attraction to beasts! Surround your darling with the mildest-mannered, most attractive animals on the planet. Aran-raised creatures do have a way about them, and they are just out there for your respectful pleasure. (And camera lens) Horses, cows, cats, sheep, donkeys, dogs and little robins with satin ribbons in their beaks…Well, sans the satin ribbons, but they’re a precious presence, still.
#8. THE SUN, THE MOON, THE STARS. ALSO RAINBOWS.
Watch the love of your life melt right in front of you. No sky shines brighter, nor is there a more romantic moon. Aran rainbows are particularly captivating. If the star-gazing gets rained out, a cozy fire can be found most places. Not a bad alternative. Either way-you’ll be loved to the moon and back!
#9. LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND SPA TREATMENT.
The beaches of Aran are as soothing as you’ll find the world over. Pristine, peaceful, often private—and the perfect exfoliant for the skin (or the calloused life) can be found in the warm sands. Rinse well in the hypnotic “seaweed bath” that’s right there in Galway Bay!
#10. LOVERS LEAP!
No! No! Don’t jump to profess your love, Romeo and Juliette! The cliffs of Aran are stunning settings from which declarations of love can be shouted or whispered. If sharing a ham sandwich is your love language, take a picnic and a sweetheart’s selfie for the archives. (Not too close to the edge though)
#11. VISIT ARAN’S OPEN AIR MUSEUMS: ART, CULTURAL, ARCHAEOLOGICAL, NATURAL HISTORY, MARITIME AND MARINE LIFE!
Museums are everywhere-as far as the eye can see and wherever your feet can take you. All there for your exploration and pleasure. Remember, “what happens at the exhibits stays at the exhibits!” The stones will keep your secrets.
#12. VOW RENEWAL
If you win her heart, why not renew your promises in the island’s stone chapels? Nature’s flower strewn aisles lead to roofless sanctuary skies that rival the Sistine Ceiling!
There you have it! But wait! Afraid your beloved will still expect roses? Take this…
THE BONUS PACKAGE:
The special delivery-THE ARAN DOGHOUSE DOZEN ROSES.
Though you wouldn’t pick of Aran’s flowers, your precious will be surrounded by the hardiest, prettiest roses and there will be wildflowers wherever the tender eye falls. The poet, O’Donoghue, wrote of “meadows of delight” and O’Flaherty called the flowers of Aran “living poems.” Can’t get more romantic than that-(nor cheaper!)
So, shake off your fleas! Book it, and if a cruise to Aran doesn’t redeem you….you’re hopeless! (But I do hope your beloved remembers to feed you!)
- Vivienne Nichols writes from her home in Tennessee. She contributes to her local newspaper and has honed her craft in creative writing workshops on Inis Mór. Vivienne spends summers in Aran and loves to write there and of her unique experiences and relationships with the landscape and Aran friends.