Landing in Dublin, what immediately caught my eye were myriads of healthy little sheep grazing busily in verdant fields of green, welcoming us to the Emerald Isle! My first stop was Dublin, which is a stunning city, the perfect mix of old and new, with lots of interesting things to do and see – a very historical city indeed. I visited the impressive Book of Kells, Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral and enjoyed a distillery tour of Teeling Whiskey Company. I could have spent days here learning its history, and I’m sure our capable guide could have taught me, too! She was brilliant. She walked and talked with me, while teaching me infinite historical facts and literally made Dublin come to life!
One of the stops I made on this amazing trip was the beautiful K Club. While gathered around an elegant, exquisitely set dinner table one evening, after wine tasting in the historic wine cellar with the hotel’s sommelier, my group and I were reminiscing about our favorite travel experiences. Each person mentioned faraway places they had visited and why they liked that particular spot the best. When my turn came, I exclaimed that what I loved most about traveling were the people. Throughout my stay in Ireland, I felt as if I had found my very own people! I come from a family that has many unique characteristics, from the way we talk, the way we laugh, to our sense of humor – and I discovered that we are very uniquely Irish! The people of Ireland are warm and inviting, and I hope to return to the many welcoming, friendly faces I was privileged to meet throughout my trip.
Everything about this trip was enjoyable; however, the most special stop was the Dingle Peninsula, one of five jutting peninsulas off the southwest corner of Ireland, extending out from the mainland like giant fingers. National Geographic once called it “the most beautiful place on earth.” I was driven all around the Dingle Peninsula, and it was the most exhilarating ride I’ve ever experienced, whipping through Killarney National Park with wild herds of deer, maneuvering around hairpin turns, and nearly missing sharp, dropping precipices over rugged terrain, around little fjords and through peat bogs. Our guide was fully capable and passionate about this wondrous place of his birth. There I was taking in all of the gorgeous scenery,and then suddenly I was dropped off in what seemed to certainly be the middle of nowhere — somewhere in the Gap of Dunloe.
In the misty rain, I hiked the hills and suddenly met up with a few locals with their jaunting carts pulled by strong, spunky horses. These horses, their owners and their nontraditional carriages carried us nimbly up and trotted down over the hills until we met up with a bridge where we were encouraged to quickly make a wish. Of course, you know what I wished! Then, out of nowhere, I saw a magnificent double rainbow that greeted me along the way in between drops of rain that flew horizontally between the little fjords. At this moment, I felt that I could have packed up my things and moved to this lovely little corner of the world in a heartbeat, but responsibilities and reality beckoned to me. This wonderful trip came to a screeching halt, much to my chagrin.
Leaving the Dingle Peninsula, tears streamed down my face, knowing I had to return home before the crack of dawn the following morning, as I listened to The Old Rugged Cross play on the radio, my grandfather’s favorite hymn. He was Scotch-Irish. After experiencing this wonderful glimpse into the little miracle of Ireland, I’ve learned that it is not just a verdant place of green shamrocks and mischievous leprechauns, Guinness and golfing. Ireland is so much more than the elegant Emerald Isle. I found my people here and know I have been witness to a very spiritual, once-in-a-lifetime experience.NextGEN gallery is not installed/inactive!