Why Ireland?








Frankly, I never really wanted to visit Ireland.  I am not a fan of St Patrick’s Day. Stems from my dad who would perversely give out oranges on March 17.  Orange for Northern Ireland. (As our driver says – the north of the country).  And dad was a Swede so I am not sure why he did this.

And then there were The Troubles.  A mild name for the fighting between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  I was disgusted by this war between Protestant and Catholic.   Ok. I have learned a lot more about Irish history and it’s more complicated than I realized.  So all that aside, I ended up here.

And I am enthralled.  A spectacular country.  A much different scale for me. And friendly folk who almost speak English!  And I say that referring to their accent, not the Gaelic/Irish language.  Some days they are almost as difficult to understand as those Kiwis!

i am drawn to the valley near Kylemore Abbey and the Dingle Pennisula.  But I don’t know why.  I have an even stronger attraction to the Brittany region in France – clearly an attachment to the Celts.  Being with some dozen others and nonstop traveling, I haven’t had a moment to meditate on this.  It may require a return trip…

But that’s problematic.  Not sure I want another motorcoach trip (see next blog post) and doubt the rail service will get me to the right places  and driving on the left – well, I have done it but I think I am past that now   Especially if I come back on my own without a navigator and watcher who can yell “get in the other lane!!!!”

This was brought home to me when we watched someone drift to the wrong side, hit the wall, flip over and spin. Literally.  (Photo above- can’t figure out how to place photos from a iPhone post…). She was up ahead of us.  As we pulled up to the car, we were holding our breath.  And slowly a hand reached out the driver’s side window followed by a head.  She pulled herself out and stood   A swollen lip seemed to be the extent of her injuries- but I wouldn’t rule out back or neck issues later  She was alone, from Michigan but living in Iceland.  And was on day two of her vacation   She might have been reading a map and eating an apple- a half-eaten apple had rolled out a window and was lying on the roadside. Our driver called the Garda (police). A local stopped and stayed with her as she called the car rental company (hope she had insurance – it was totaled) and we went on our way.  Interestingly enough, the Garda called back about 2 hrs later   They couldn’t find the wreck.  I hope she is doing well.

But when I return to Ireland, I won’t be driving!



Leaving the Schengen area to extend my time in Paris. Have I explained the Schengen? It’s a treaty named after the city where it was signed. Originally it had nothing to do with the EU bit now new members to the EU must agree. It opens borders. You can travel through freely. When I was a kid living in London. And later when a college student studying, I had to show my passport when leaving and entering each European country. Not now. But what makes it confusing is that some non-EU countries participate. Iceland. And Switzerland are both Schengen countries. Not in the EU. U.K. In the EU but not in Schengen And Ireland is not In the Schengen because they have a border agreement with the U.K.

Next time I do 9 months in France I will plan my departure better so that I don’t have to find places to go outside the Schengen.

As I was getting ready in Paris I was thinking through the travel. How to get to CDG and then from Dublin airport to the hotel. Several minutes later after working through my French phrases I suddenly remembered the Irish speak English!

But they have all the signs in English and Irish. Gaelic. Like Brittany and Wales. And they teach Irish in schools These Celtic countries want to hold on to the culture.

Leaving Dublin the road was a freeway with trees and shrubs lining either side. Could have been anywhere. Sight impossible. Bit come to a rise and Ireland slips into view. The green fields looked wonderful but after a week traveling I know that area doesn’t compare to the landscape of Donegal or Galway or even Dingle.

The size of country is a bit of a shock. From top to bottom 6 hrs; side to side 3. It might just fit inside California.  And population. 4.5 million. Size of Louisiana or Kentucky. Los Angeles has 3.9 million. That means their large towns are small by US standards. The third largest is Galway with 75,000. Dublin area has over a million.

There’s something about Ireland though…

And if you read about the well in an earlier post- it was a sacred not scared well.