On one hand, Ireland is exactly what you expect. Boisterous, friendly people. Fiddle and accordion duets (called “trad sessions,” trad meaning traditional) in snug but well-lit pubs where every man, woman, and child is raising a glass of Guiness. Oh, and green. Very green.
On the other hand, Ireland surprises, disarms. First of all, for a nation with such significant cultural influence (at least to a Chicagoan), it’s really tiny. In just over a week, we saw the east, west, and north coasts. But mostly because you think you know what to expect out of Ireland, and even if you’re mostly right, it still blows all your expectations out the water.
A quick recap of the trip:
We drank Guiness is 5 different cities.
We watched the rolling pastures of southern Counties Kerry and Clare turn into the craggy, windswept vistas of northern County Donegal.
We drank whiskey for lunch.
And checked a fourth continent off my “camping around the world” list.
We drove the “Ring of Dingle” and were stunned into silence by beauty “so amazing it makes your heart ache,” as Jon put it.
We learned about a tragic (and tragically recent) religious conflict that still has whole communities living in homes so fortified, you’d be more likely to think you were visiting Kabul or Baghdad.
We checked off the new country year of intention goal. We took a breath of cold sea air. And we fell in love with a beautiful place.
There’s too much to say for a single post, so I have a few more updates I’m mulling over that I’ll be posting soon, including lots more pictures.
With that, erin go bragh!