back in action

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 26, 2010

After two terrific weeks in Ireland, I'm back in action, rested and ready.

This really was my first complete break from news coverage in more than a decade. I'm grateful to the CWN news team for keeping the site running in my absence. The respite was a tonic for me-- as was the beautiful scenery of Dingle, Connemara, and Clare-- to name just a few of the places we visited. We made our pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Knock and to Croag Patrick. And in my one bit of work during a 2-week hiatus, I tried to offer a hopeful message about recovery from the sex-abuse scandal, to a large and responsive audience in Dublin. (Thanks to my friends at the Irish Catholic for arranging that talk.) I learned that it is possible to become almost accustomed to driving on the left side of the road, that Guinness really does taste better in Ireland, and that all the stories about Irish hospitality are true. 

One the benefits of working in Catholic journalism is the knowledge that during the summer, the flow of news out of Rome decreases sharply. With the Holy Father at his summer residence, and many leaders of the Roman Curia enjoying their own vacations, it's an ideal time for someone like me to relax. My final word of thanks, then, goes to all those people who did not do anything so newsworthy that it forced me to break off my vacation. 



Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jul. 28, 2010 3:33 PM ET USA

    I hate beer - except Irish Guiness. I was on pilgrimage to Ireland with then-Bishop Burke in 2001 and we stopped at a fish-n-chips place in the southwest part of the Emerald Isle and I ordered a Guiness, hearing all those stories about how much better it is there. All I can say is that if all beer tasted like that, I'd probably be an alcoholic.

  • Posted by: phil L - Jul. 28, 2010 3:23 PM ET USA

    OK, I believe that the Irish Guinness is superior because the brewer uses a different formula. But why? To please the market? I don't know anyone who prefers the Guinness sold in North America to the product sold in Ireland.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Jul. 28, 2010 3:09 PM ET USA

    Here in Ontario, Canada our liquor stores offer a choice: the local version of Guinness, produced by Canadian brewer Labatt under license, and the actual import brewed and bottled by Diageo in Dublin, Ireland. The local, being Canadian beer, is pretty good, but the import from my ancestral homeland is better.

  • Posted by: davidSanDiego - Jul. 26, 2010 4:45 PM ET USA

    Guinness tastes different in Ireland because it is different in Ireland. They alter the formulation throughout the world to suite national tastes, i.e., what sells. Consider this a caution against "Yes, but ..." Catholicism.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Jul. 26, 2010 1:38 PM ET USA

    I've never been to Ireland, but the first Guinness I ever had was brought to me from Ireland by my sister-in-law. I loved it so much that I bought some here. What a disappointment. You're right: "Guinness really does taste better in Ireland." Next time you go to Ireland, you might be able to turn a handsome profit by offering to purchase some for Catholic Culture subscribers! I'll get to work on the customs issues . . .