Cork, Ireland, is where my story begins. We were several months into our journey at the time, and a friendly rivalry arose among my travel buddies (Larry and Glorfindel -- not their real names) and myself to see who could survive the most frugally: finding a clever way to eat an enjoyable meal for less than a single euro was seen as a great accomplishment, while giving in to the temptation of a restaurant was mocked as an abject moral failure. So it was with great delight that, while shopping for groceries, I happened upon a St. Bernard's shepherd's pie for sale for naught but a single f**king euro. And if that sounds like a good deal to you, then brother, you don't know St. Bernard's.
St. Bernard's (pronounced "BURR-nerds") is, in my not-even-slightly-humble opinion, Ireland's best-kept and darkest secret. It's a brand of ... everything. St. Bernard's makes a cheap version of everything. Toilet paper? Yup. Beer? It sure said beer on the can! Clothes? Probably. Butter? Of course. Hand soap? Yes, and it had formaldehyde in it. Every product that bears the prestigious St. Bernard's label is precisely three tiers cheaper and five tiers s**ttier than the worst available version of that product. (Note: research for this column revealed that St. Bernard's has since been rebranded as "My Family Favorites." Ireland, it's like I don't even know you anymore.)
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"Girl, what happened to us? We really had something."