Ireland is, indeed, the emerald isle, as in green, lots of it. Rain will do that. We might have had a bit of Irish luck with us as hubby, Stan, was born on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). On our two weeks tripping around Ireland (the Republic of) with Odysseys Unlimited we had mostly sunny days. It was a gift, since we spent much of our time outdoors.
We covered a lot of territory, starting and ending in Dublin. From Dublin we went due west to Galway, explored the rugged Connemara region, then grabbed a ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Back on land we rode along the coastline to Killarney through the Burren, an area of spectacular scenery. We made our way around the Ring of Kerry in the southern part of Ireland and up to Kilkenny, our last stop before heading back to Dublin.
It’s a country rich in tradition with proud people who have experienced great hardship through the centuries. We saw a lot, did a lot and spoke to a number of people to get a sense of what their lives are like today. Today’s Ireland is very different from the Ireland of our first trip many years ago. The following impressions just skim the surface of our trip.
If you think there are a lot of pubs in Ireland, you’re right! I won’t say the Irish drink morning, noon and night, but they certainly like their pint(s) at noon and night. The pub is a gathering place rain or shine. Music makes for a jolly, good time.
This bride and her bridesmaids (the “hens’) were celebrating the upcoming wedding in great form.
We weren’t the only ones at lunch in Murphy’s Bar on the Ring of Kerry. These wedding guests were enjoying themselves at a pre-wedding celebration. I especially liked the woman wearing a hat.
More towns, more pubs.
This pub was ready for anyone who wanted a glass of Irish Coffee (watched over by Jack and Jackie).
Serendipitous moments come to those who walk a city (us). A shopping arcade with an installation of colorful umbrellas was the perfect sight on a sunny day.
Here are a few more “moments.”
A mural on a hotel façade.
A lone walker on a narrow side street.
An extraordinary installation across two buildings in a passageway in Dublin.
From place to place water, rocky pastures and cliffs were abundant.
And, an occasional craftsman.
We did not lack for castles, abbeys, and medieval ruins (Rock of Cashel) with a 6th c. monastic site (Clonmacnoise) thrown in for good measure. These are part of Ireland’s history, after all.
Ireland is a small country, about as big as Indiana (U.S.) ,with only about 4.7 million people (emigration seems to have stabilized). Its friendly people, beautiful scenery, ancient sites and walkable cities make Ireland a country to put on your bucket list.
I’ll end with these lovely Irish sayings:
May your day be touched with a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by smiles from the people you love.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.