Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Its been 5 years since my last visit to Ireland. Some things have changed such as the price of airfare, lodging and food yet some things are still very much the same like the incredible friendliness and hospitality of the Irish people and of course the beautiful and scenic lush green landscapes outside the cities.
Last night I flew back from a 9 day tour of Ireland with my son Adam who is getting married next month. He’s never been to the home of our ancestors so I wanted to share my love of Ireland with him before his wedding day. Just traveling through the Emerald Isle is pretty darn “grand” as they say, but experiencing it with my son Adam really made the trip even more special for me. I took my daughter Andei to Ireland 6 years ago and ever since have wanted to do a father/son trip.
As I said…I’ve been to Ireland many times and had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to take Adam, however I didn’t really plan our itinerary much after the first few days in Dublin. We pretty much “winged it” after spending the first weekend visiting the Guinness Brewery and strolling Grafton street in Dublin.
The trip turned out to be a mixture of fun, mishaps, mystery, history, lore and of course lots of beer drinking. The Guinness really does taste much better in Ireland and that is a fact. Just ask any Irishman or take it from me and Adam.
The following is a visual snapshot of our 9 day visit touring Ireland in a rental car. Adam will tell you that was the most stressful part of the trip for him, having to sit next to his stressed out Dad trying to figure out driving on the opposite side of the road down narrow winding country roads.
It was the hardest part of the trip for me as well, but totally worth it because having a car enabled us to do so much more in a short period of time. It was also part of the adventure even though there were some moments I was glad I purchased the full insurance package.
One of the highlights from our Dublin visit was booking a tour to the historic site of Newgrange.
“Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.) during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 97 large kerbstones.”
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the site and the ancient stone age people who may have built it. Luckily our group was able to go inside and experience the mysterious interior of the tomb. No one has all the answers as to who built this incredible tomb passage and/or the how and why – it is still a mystery today.
After our visit to Dublin we rented a car and drove (hands gripping the wheel) 4 hours to the west coast of Ireland and stayed at the city of Ennis and visited the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin the traditional music capital of Ireland.
“The cliffs of Moher are located just south of the Village of Doolin in Co Clare Ireland. Rising slowly from Doolin they ascend to over 700 feet (213 metres) stretching south for nearly five miles (8km) to Hags head.”
Adam and I enjoyed an amazing and very scenic 20km hike around the Cliffs and were blessed with blue skies and sunny weather. In fact the weather was absolutely”lovely” for the entire 9 days of our journey.
From there we were off to the Dingle Peninsula where Adam got to surf and I enjoyed a long, invigorating 8k jog through the countryside. The Southwestern region of Ireland is truly majestic and has many historical – scenic sites and villages to explore.
Side Note….Its all in the little details.
While traveling the one thing that struck me as we settled into our travels was how important it is to savor the little details of each day. Staying present to the moment adds to the enjoyment of your travels. Yes…the big famous attractions like Newgrange, Dingle and Cliffs of Moher are great and exciting to visit, however I got a great deal of personal satisfaction and pleasure from our conversations with the people (both locals and tourists) in pubs, tour groups and restaurants.
That is what’s so great about Ireland. Everyone we met were so friendly and eager to strike up a conversation. Eating the local foods, sipping a cup of tea and gazing out the store window watching the locals walk by was an integral part of the fabric of the journey. Even driving the rental car on the opposite side of the street from what we Americans are used to was memorable if not a little stressful. Talk about an experience. I will leave that one alone. I’ll just say renting and driving car in Ireland a challenge.
As the Master Card add states…..“Two airline tickets to Ireland $2400, sipping pints of Guinness and sharing travel experiences through Ireland with my son Adam. PRICELESS!”
Memories were made for both us.
The following a a cross section of photos from the rest of our trip. Cheers! If you ever get a chance to visit Ireland I highly recommend it.