I've been asked for pictures... It's been a busy month since we got home. Finally have time to sit down and post pictures. We LOVED Ireland and weren't ready to come home. I really can't say what my favorite part was... the cows and sheep, the roads with stone fences, the ruins, Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, the towns, the food, the people, David's land. Hmmmm, I'll start with the animals.
I loved how the animals are all out in the fields in Ireland! You literally couldn't drive a mile in any direction without seeing animals in the pasture. It reminded me of growing up - when everyone here actually did have animals in pastures. I miss that!
Part of what makes Ireland so beautiful is the fact that most of their roads are more like cow paths - with no shoulders and with stone fences or walls on each side. Picturesque when you're driving slow and have the road to yourself, but with cars - and buses! - careening around the hidden curves and headed our way at 55 mph :( Those roads made for some great arguments. Whew!!! And then there are the round-a-bouts!!! They're everywhere! Whew - again!!! In town, you either park on the sidewalk, or halfway on the sidewalk with maybe a couple inches clearance between the roadway and the parked cars. Added to all of that, you are driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, sitting on the 'wrong' side of the car, shifting with the 'wrong' hand! (Renting an automatic costs $200 more, so Mr. I-Love-Driving-A-Stick wouldn't even consider it!) Operating an unfamiliar car, trying to decipher unfamiliar signs while keeping an eye out for people walking and biking can be a bit overwhelming! I found it surprising that we didn't experience any road rage over there (except inside our car, directed at someone's wife, haha!!!). They (the Irish) seem to take it all in stride. David claims that navigating the roads must be why folks drink so much over there - you have a drink for courage before you drive and another one - or two - after you drive to settle down again! In spite of all that, the roads are a huge part of the Irish landscape charm and we loved it!
In our present throw-away, plastic age, the ruins gave me a renewed sense of the wonder of life. For some reason, the ruins made me feel that our lives and the lives of those in the past are important. I loved the fact that in Ireland they don't demolish the ruins and that they are everywhere - in the countryside, in the middle of towns and cities. They are amazing!
As we drove by ruins or wandered through them, I wondered about the people who built those old stone buildings and those who lived in them. I thought about how much fun we, as kids, would have setting up playhouses in a corn crib, a hay mow or an old chicken coop as soon as they would be emptied of their corn, hay or chickens (that had 'moved' into the freezer to be eaten over the winter). We would spend hours in our fantasy land organizing and rearranging our new play house :) I wonder in the past, before the Irish ruins became tourist traps, how many kids had used them for their own playhouses. What fun!!! Your own playhouse castle!!!
Cliffs of Moher
Beautiful area - if you visit Ireland don't miss the Cliffs of Moher!!!
Ring of Kerry
After driving a few days David decided he needed a driving break so he booked us on a bus (small bus) tour. (He says his guardian angel threatened to quit if he drove the Ring of Kerry!) It was very relaxing to have someone else drive and tell us the history of the area. Another area not to miss if you visit Ireland!!!
Towns and Buildings
From Dublin to small villages in the country.
Irish Food and Drink
Okay, we just had to go to Flanagan's for breakfast (our first meal in Ireland), since our adored son-in-law is an O'Flanagan :)
Both David and I have heard that the Irish really don't know how to cook. Well, we found that not to be true at all. The food was delicious - from the traditional Irish breakfast to the lamb stew, beef, fish and chips, coffee, soup, desserts and even the Italian food, and, the best jelly doughnut either of us has ever eaten :)
Pearse Lyons DISTILLERY
We opted for touring the little-known Pearse Lyons Distillary instead of the famous Jameson Distillery. Why? Well, first of all, there just isn't time to do everything. Second, David's grandmother's maiden name was Lyons, so it was kind of a 'family' thing. We thought is was pretty ironic that the 'Lyons' Distillery was in a church - David is a Lutheran pastor after all :) They de-consecrated the church before putting booze in it!!!!! Thankfully!!!!! That old Baptist part of me at first thought it was a bit sacrilegious :( The church was in ruins before they beautifully restored it and converted it into a distillery, which helped me get past that 'this is just wrong' feeling. That, and the fact that the gin was pretty good :)
A couple Christmases (had to look that spelling up!) ago our daughter bought a plot of land in Ireland for her dad. Kind of a white elephant gift - the size of his land is 1 foot by 1 foot :) He loved the gift!!! So while there, we had to go find his little piece of Ireland. It was an adventure. A huge part of the adventure was just trying to understand the directions we were given to follow in order to get to his land. This adventure, at times, was a wee-bit embarrassing - it seemed David was telling everyone he met that he owned land in their country. Well he does, but... it's one foot by one foot!!!! On our search for his land, he would roll down his window and proudly tell people that he owned land and ask if they could they direct him to it. It was pretty comical :) Well, after much searching down a few one lane roads we finally found it! He even got to meet and visit with his new 'neighbor lady' - nice lady (we found the Irish people to be very friendly, helpful and nice). David gets to share his land (field) with a few other people and a few head of cattle. He's now talking about buying a couple more plots to have enough land to set up a chair so he can sit back, relax and enjoy his Guinness :) :) :)
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