A wee bit of Ireland

Well, hello there. I’m back from Ireland. I’m jetlagged and tired and exhausted and SOOOO happy to have gone there!

But it is nice to be home and to have clean laundry.

I will post in more detail later, but some of the highlights of the trip for me (in no particular order) were:

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visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and learning to drink and actually LIKE the stuff.

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visiting the Bushmills Distillery on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland and learning that I do NOT like whiskey (unless it’s got a whole lot of water added, and then what’s the point?).

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exploring the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland – those hexagonal rock formations are truly amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it!

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checking out Titanic Belfast, a marvelously well-executed museum that only opened last year for the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s rather legendary encounter with a very large iceberg. You think you know a lot about the Titanic? You don’t. Go see this place. Then you will.

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dealing with the Gaelic language. They do, of course, speak English in Ireland and in some areas in the east, there is also a lot of Gaelic. Much of the signage in the Republic of Ireland is bilingual, and try as I might, I just couldn’t figure out the phonetic system of Gaelic so that I could at least attempt to say words semi-correctly. This sign’s meaning was clear enough – but don’t ask me to pronounce it.

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seeing the many political murals in Belfast, such as this Protestant one memorializing Robert Dougan who was killed in a clash with, I assume, Catholic members of the IRA.

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and this Catholic one, depicting Bobby Sands, who was one of ten prisoners of Maze Prison who starved himself to death in 1981, protesting for political prisoner status instead of that of a terrorist. He was also elected as MP while in prison, but obviously never took his seat in Parliament.

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in Derry, learning all about that awful day in 1972 called Bloody Sunday when British army soldiers killed 14 Catholic people who were participating in a peaceful march to protest internment without trial. This incident really ignited the modern Troubles, and although there has been a peace agreement between the Protestant Nationalists and the Catholic Unionists for about 15 years now, I definitely got the feeling that the whole thing could rear its ugly head again at any time.

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visiting the Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula, which was built about 1300 years ago. It’s one of the earliest Christian churches in Ireland, and I think it’s an architectural marvel! The stones are arranged so flawlessly, the corners are sharply lined up, the door is totally square, there’s a small perfectly-arched window in the back wall – and the damn roof doesn’t even leak! How could monks construct that building by hand so long ago and so well, yet my house, which is only 15 years old and was built using a lot of modern technology, doesn’t seem to have a level floor or square corner in it?!?

And speaking of the Dingle Peninsula, before I fall asleep and drool all over my laptop, I will leave you now with a few photos of the absolutely stunning scenery there. Even though I am privileged enough to live in a tremendously gorgeous part of the world myself, I was awe-struck at the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula – I just couldn’t take enough photos! Dingle Peninsula DSCF8431DSCF8448DSCF8454photo

Catch you later – zzzzzzzzzz!

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10 responses to “A wee bit of Ireland

  1. I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s on my list. Looking forward to reading your posts.

    • And if you go, it’ll be only (ONLY) a five-hour flight for you. (As opposed to the five-and-a-half hours we took to get to the East Coast alone, THEN the additional five hours over the Atlantic. Yay West Coast living.)

  2. You so make me want to go back there. I was actually in Ireland in 1981 when Bobby Sands was on his hunger strike. It was an uneasy time. But the scenery was exquisite, the people charming and the women remarkably beautiful. Welcome home and it seems like you just left. Damn but that went quickly

    • Thanks, Ian. 😀 I only vaguely recall the hunger strikers and, in fact, the whole tricky Northern Ireland situation. I do recall enhanced security, especially at European airports, in the eIghties, and the fact that my parents worried about me traveling over there, but that’s about it. Apparently I was rather oblivious to world events back then, but at least I’ve beefed up my knowledge somewhat now that I’m older.

  3. Welcome home. Glad to hear you now appreciate Guinness. There is a huge difference in the taste of one whisk[e]y from another. That is why I like to try them all.
    So, I guess you’ve heard that you were away during the sunniest, hottest, driest month YVR has ever had. Ever. Did it not rain in Ireland?

    • Thanks, VioletSky. 🙂 PG said the same thing as you, that all whiskeys taste different, and he loved the ten-year-old we tasted. (For the record, I didn’t really like the whisky I tasted in Scotland years ago, either!) There was a drizzle here and there on our second-to-last day in Ireland, and then it rained properly the next day as we were driving to the airport, so although we missed amazingly good weather at home, we were very lucky to experience lots of sun and heat over most of Ireland, too!

  4. Welcome back! The Dingle Peninsula really is gorgeous, isn’t it?

    • Thanks, bevchen! 🙂 We also drove the Ring of Kerry, and actually found its scenery quite disappointing compared to that of the Dingle Peninsula. I think I have to agree with my guidebook: the Dingle Loop is the more picturesque of the two, but the Ring of Kerry has way better publicity! I wish we had had time to drive the Beara Peninsula too – we were told that the Healy Pass is soemthing else!

      • I liked the Dingle Peninsula better too, but I think my friends preferred the Ring of Kerry simply because of the Ladies View… which I agree is stunning, but it’s one view whereas Dingle is just ALL amazing.