In celebration of St. Paddy’s Day (and because I was too lazy–I mean, busy–to write a proper blog), I’m going to inflict on you (I mean, treat you with) some pics I snapped in Ireland when my lucky husband and I visited there last spring. You know the song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, right? Well, thanks in large part to the friendly Irish folk we met and the fact that a miraculous chunk of our trip was rain-free (I repeat, we were in Ireland), I left a good-sized piece of my heart in that beautiful country (probably right next to a fluffy white sheep). Here are ten more things I loved about Ireland:
1. Killarney National Park, County Kerry Confession time: that pic of the gnarly old tree and emerald, wild bluebell-studded grass up top there? Um, that’s not our farm. Killarney National Park is somewhat (okay, a lot) more scenic than our farm, with sparkling lakes, shady woodlands, a real castle, the creepy ruins of Muckross Abbey, and plenty of trail to walk and bike.
2. Red doors. Doors painted a bright red are common in Ireland, and traditionally thought to keep out demons and ghosts. Guess what color I plan to paint our front door this summer?
3. The color green (my favorite). Even though we come from a pretty green place ourselves (western Washington, land of rain, trees, and moss), Brett and I were blown away by the vibrant greens that color much of Ireland.
4. Castles. Castles are cool, and in Ireland they’re literally everywhere–sometimes even in people’s back yards. I want one. Seriously–just a little one and I won’t mind if it’s in ruins. Anyone? (pictured, Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny, built in 1192)
5. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. Super popular with tourists, and for good reason: the vistas of sea, sky, and +650 foot cliffs take your breath away.
6. Connemara National Park, County Galway. Stark, rocky, and lovely. This hike meandered over mushy peat bog, past sheep grazing among the heath, and up, up, up to the stony top of Diamond Hill (PS. Brett took this pic; that’s me trudging ever upwards and thinking “This is a mountain, not a hill.”).
7. Mute swans. We saw graceful mute swans throughout our trip, including this one–and about twenty others–sailing along with Galway’s iconic waterfront as a backdrop.
8. Guinness! (and Irish pubs). Yes, I know we have Guinness here in the states, too, but to me it tastes so much better on tap in an Irish pub.
9. Sheepish friends. It was after meeting this friendly little guy on the Dingle Peninsula that I gave up eating lamb for the rest of the trip (by the way, this is one of about 1 million sheep pictures I took on our vacation–just let me know if you want to see a follow-up blog focusing on pics of Irish sheep. Really, it will be no trouble at all).
10. Inishmor Island, County Galway. One of the three Aran islands, Inishmor has abundant rock walls, cool prehistoric ruins, stunning cliffs, adorable gray seals, beautiful wool sweaters to buy, and (often) inclement weather. Bicycling + sunshine= Happy me.
Thanks for sitting through my vacation pics!