The Republic of Ireland is a picturesque land. With Dublin’s colorful Georgian ornamental doors and busy shops to the relaxed pace of the “Lake District” of Killarney with its expansive parks and Victorian Manor homes.
Ireland’s West Coast has the 700 foot Cliffs of Moher – bleak and breathtaking. Eire (Air-a) has green, rolling hills peppered with stacked stone fences and fields of grazing cows and sheep.
There are fascinating ancient Celtic Stone Crosses carved with biblical figures keeping watch over tombstones in a small cemetery in the middle of a cow pasture. Centuries old Round Towers and crumbling Castle ruins dot the landscape in every direction.
Ireland is a land of gracious people and ancient superstitions. A mix of storybook old and 21stCentury new. Fiercely proud of their Ancient land and of their centuries old fight for independence. Lives lost in the fight are still fresh in their minds. They teach their children two languages in school- English and Gaelic. Every Highway Road sign shows both- some shop signs are also only in Gaelic.
They love to drink, laugh and entertain. The Irish Musical shows I attended while on my tour featured haunting Irish love songs, lively glib story songs and Celtic Dancing. I learned a few new musical terms: concertina (small accordion), bodhran (Irish Drum- pronounced Bow-ron) and Irish Pipes (you work a bellows with your elbow/no blowing required.) I love mystical, ethereal music and Ireland has plenty to share!
Our tour guide was an Irish Lass- Allie Lister from Dublin. She loved “Laminates.” Laminated photos, graphs, maps , explanations of all “Things Irish.” I asked about the “Fairy Forts” and lo and behold- she had a Laminate/Map showing thousands of them dotting the Irish Landscape. A Ringfort or Fairy Fort is believed to be an entrance to the Fairy World. Cutting down or trimming a Whitethorn “Tree” (more like a bushy shrub) on top of a Fairy Fort is bad luck. Supernatural events sometimes occur near these Forts! The Irish have built roads and even highways around a Fairy Fort- rather than destroy it. Leprechauns, by the way, are a type of Fairy underling and are in charge of keeping safe the hidden gold of the Fairies.
Most of the restaurants my friend Jeanette and I visited during offered a Panini and Soup for lunch. The Irish must love their Soup. It was on every menu- part of every meal. Most often it was vegetable and no matter what soup we ordered it came as “puree!” Every meal also had potatoes and vegetables and they love their TEA!
Most of the restaurants my friend Jeanette and I visited during offered a Panini and Soup for lunch. The Irish must love their Soup. It was on every menu- part of every meal. Most often it was vegetable and no matter what soup we ordered it came as “puree!” Every meal also had potatoes and vegetables and they love their TEA! Shopping for souvenirs - Aran Sweaters, Waterford Crystal, Belleck porcelain, Irish Whiskey, Guinness Beer collectibles and your Irish Coat of Arms is fun and many a shop will help you spend your Irish Euros.
Blarney Castle may be a Big Tourist Site, but I stood in line for 30 minutes+ to kiss the famous stone just the same. Yes, it’s on the outer wall of a castle, you have to lay down on your back, while a guy hangs on to you as you lower your head over the side a foot below the rampart – nearly suspended in midair to kiss the Famous Blarney Stone- but it was worth it- if it will give a DJ from Kansas the ‘GIFT OF GAB” which came in handy when the Earl of Blarney was sidestepping a deal with an envoy from England’s Queen Elizabeth (Daughter of Henry VIII) who hoped to broker a allegiance between the Irish Earl and the British Queen. He put her off with his “Blarney” numerous times and she finally gave up!
I would recommend a tour of Ireland, if you ever get a chance. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.
Special thanks to Cruise Holidays of Topeka Dick Knoll, Emma Warren and Sara Lively and my Boss Jim Allan for allowing me to take time off for my Wild Irish Adventure!
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