I can’t possibly make a post that would adequately describe or show our experience in Ireland – but I can give you the highlights. From beginning to end, the trip exceeded our expectations.
We did not plan this trip alone. My friend, Mariyana at YOLO Dream Adventures, helped make this a dream trip. She’s already helping me plan my next one.
Day 1 – Even the ride from the airport was memorable. The driver struck up a conversation, and when we answered him about where we were from, he said, “Ah – Lynyrd Skynyrd-Sweet Home Alabama.” I told him I live very near where the band did some of their first recordings. He thought the Swampers were…..well, I’ll let you guess what he thought but because I’d recently watched the documentary Muscle Shoals I was able to enlighten him about who they really were. After a much needed nap at our hotel, we walked around the streets of downtown Dublin and maybe got lost in the rain. We found our way back to the hotel and called it a night.
Day 2 – After 11 hours of sleep, we woke to a chilly cloudy day, thankful for the rest and thrilled to be in Ireland. The scariest and funniest moments of day 2 were in the parking lot of the rental car company. Because when you’re not used to driving on the other side of the road while driving from the opposite side of the car you might get too close to buildings and other cars and gates.
We made it safely, though there was a tiny incident in the parking garage and another car and not knowing how to pay to get out of the garage. All clear – no damage caused. We arrived at our first B&B and it was perfect. Our host offered us tea and biscuits (cookies) on arrival and we accepted. We walked on the country roads and took in the beauty, then went to explore the town and eat dinner.
We chose a lot of rural areas and are glad we did. The landscapes are breathtaking.
Day 3 – After a lovely breakfast, we left for our next destination. Driving on the roads of Ireland is its own adventure and I encourage you to try it. It was invigorating to say the least. The roundabouts are an experience all their own.
We arrived at Tara Farm and the landscape was stunning. We felt like family coming into the house. Our room was so inviting and cozy and the host was exceptionally hospitable.
Day 4 – After a full Irish breakfast we made our way to town and we shopped. For any who know me well, this is a rare occasion. I don’t typically like to shop but when in Ireland…..well…..I shopped and I enjoyed it.
Day 5 – After another lovely breakfast….we walked the country roads, foraged blackberries, and saw castles. We drove Slea Head Drive and saw some of the most beautiful places on Earth. We hiked to see the beehive huts, which are ancient structures meticulously built with rocks. Afterward we talked to the landowner about the history of the land, the stone walls (which fascinate me), and the Fahan group. He is the sixth generation owner of the land and gladly conversed with us for a while. He made our side trip even more of a delight.
Day 6 – After a lovely breakfast…..we saw more castles, old churches, and graveyards, ancient ruins, and more of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Day 7 – After a lovely breakfast with Shona, a friend from Ireland who I met through a course I taught in a group called Flying Higher, we made our way back to Dublin to stay in the Grand Canal. We rode the train to a suburb of Dublin and had dinner at the home of a beautiful couple who are the in-laws of one of my classmates at Friends University. They gave us a grand tour of a small part of Dublin, told us their stories of interactions with Bono, served us homemade elderberry cordial, fed us the most scrumptious dinner, then drove us back to our hotel. It was the grand finale of a wonderful dream trip.
The People and the Places
Day 8 – After the last lovely breakfast of our trip, we made our way to the Dublin airport to begin our journey back home.
Most of all this trip showed me the intricacy of creation. All of it. The people and the places. I better understood that our perspectives are limited by our places in the world and that it serves us well to seek other views. If we can’t travel, we can read. We can listen. We can learn from others who are different than us. We need to.
God, give us hearts that are willing to learn something new, to seek what You have for us, to see beyond what we’ve always known.