It had been 13 years since I visited my second homeland. Just too long. My husband and I got engaged in Dublin (supposed to be at the Torc Waterfall but that’s ANOTHER story entirely) and thought we would come back for anniversaries and such. As you know, sometimes life doesn’t allow us to continue on the path we think we’re supposed to be on. So finally, 13 years later, I arrived “home”.
While I wasn’t born in Ireland, all four of my grandparents were. I know the birthplaces of three and have visited them all. This trip I got to see where my great grandmother lived after her daughter, my grandmother, moved to the Unites States. They never saw each other again. It is bittersweet to travel to these places knowing that my grandparents never got to return home. I am so very thankful that they sacrificed so that I could be born in a country with such opportunity. So, I want to make sure that I honor those sacrifices and visit these places to let them know I will never forget where I am truly from.
In the 13 years since I last visited, there have been a lot of changes. And then not so many. I am a little dubious about the expansion because it is something Ireland has needed so much but has altered the look and feel of my memories. But I am thrilled for their bigger roads and infrastructure, better variety of restaurants and hotels and very importantly, the tech boom. It is all good.
I will write more specifically about the places I visited but here is a smattering of my favorite photos and spots along the way: At the top, left to right:
Cahir (pronouced CARE) Castle: Dating back to the 12th center, a site of great battles in County Tipperary in the River Suir.
Westport: Located in the western County Mayo, it has been voted the best place to live in Ireland this year. Westport stole my heart with it’s magical air.
Country Antrim in Northern Ireland. This was my first visit to the North and I am so glad to have finally made it! Antrim is just gorgeous and it led to one of the jewels in the crown of the trip: Giant’s Causeway.
Eyre Square in Galway City. I believe it rivals Dublin for the best city in the west…
The Cliffs of Moher. Well, this was on the top of my wish list for the trip and it was quite spectacular. I will write a full post about this excursion but let’s just say the “cruise” to the Cliffs was not that peaceful!!
The Burren is a strangely fascinating area in the west of Ireland. A wide variety of flora and fauna juxtaposes the raw, exposed limestone. The word “Burren” comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place.
Aghamore in County Mayo is close to my heart as my grandmother Delia came from this tiny, tiny town. I cannot imagine how tiny it was when she lived there in the 20s and 30s. We had a day filled with abundant sunshine that made the drive a delightful part of the journey.
The Giant’s Causeway!!! Finn McCool says Top of the World! Well, that’s how I felt at the top of Ireland standing on the basalt columns overlooking the sea. Magnificent doesn’t capture it. Again, it was a GORGEOUS day near 60 degrees with bright sun. How lucky is that?