Flight Attendant: “Welcome to Ireland! We hope you enjoyed your flight aboard Aer Lingus. It was a pleasure serving you, we hope you fly again with us soon.” Then he mentioned the local time and the crappy weather.
Me: “Thank you! I believe this flight gave me permanent neck and back damage from sitting in a spiral position and I might have gotten a migraine from the bright lights that I had hoped would be turned off during a “red eye” flight. And yeah, crappy weather was right! Ireland welcomed us with a kiss of low temperature and pouring rain and a nice hug of wind.
And then of course you have to figure out how to drive on the “proper side of the road.” Welcome to Ireland indeed!
Among the uncomfortable flight, the nasty weather, and adjusting to “proper” driving, my hubby and I began to have reservations about Ireland…But Ireland proved us wrong…
There is much to see and do on this island. We were discovering the South East part – the Wicklow County, Ireland’s famous Mountain and Garden County. What is true to the naked eye is a lie to the camera’s eye as no justice can be served when looking at Ireland through the eye of a lens.
The locals say that Ireland is notorious for exhibiting four seasons in one day. Indeed it seemed true. The morning sang with Wintery cold; the early afternoon with passing, heavy Autumn rains; the late afternoon with Spring’s cloudy or delightfully sunny sky; and the evening with Summer’s lasting light.
Dramatic weather creates dramatic scenery. Ireland’s natural world is gorgeous. The eyes are truly stunned by the sight of colorfully saturated, neatly groomed meadows filled with cattle: sheep, cows, and horses freely roam the enormous patches of green land.
Due to such tremendous availability of greens and space, golf in Ireland is popular and is sacred and any reputable hotel maintains a respectable golf course.
The country side, even with uncomfortably narrow “two-way roads”, was a pleasure to journey. Small coastal towns are enchanting and are so very inviting and picturesque.
One of the most beautiful places in all of Wicklow County is the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. The Estate is now a hotel with surrounding 1,000 acres of mountain, hillside, golf course, river and gardens. The gardens are rated top 3 in the world by the National Geographic! (no more to say here). A few miles from the Estate, runs Ireland’s highest waterfall, the Powerscourt Waterfall, with white cascading waters flowing into the Dargle River. The County also offers a majestic Wicklow Mountains National Park with hypnotizing mountain views, two lakes, wildlife and Medieval ruins. All this beauty is within reach from Dublin.
A few words about heritage: Ireland’s heritage is quite impressive when it comes to historical structures: Irish Cathedrals, Castles, and Medieval ruins are among the world’s most extraordinary ones.
Some of the most remarkable such structures are the Johnstown Castle and Gardens in Wexford, the early Medieval monastic settlement in Glendalough, the Dublin Castle in Dublin, the Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny and the Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.
A few words about Dublin: The city is beautiful. Modern and history are tastefully intertwined throughout the city. A condo placed near a Cathedral or a gift shop near a Castle is not uncommon; but somehow this contemporary and medieval fusion makes Dublin wholesome. The Dublin Castle is unexpectedly situated in City center. This historic giant hides astonishing detail within its walls, including scrupulously painted ceilings and portraits and medieval furnishings of the wealthy families. The Jameson Distillery in Dublin is another significant historical mammoth – the Irish whiskey is the “Irish Pride”- to see and taste years of history in the making was both educational and fun. The Christ Church Cathedral was one of the most gorgeously built Cathedrals I have ever seen. “Typical” on the outside, this massive structure carries heavy spirituality and beauty all around.
A little bit about thirst and hunger: Jameson Irish whiskey is flowing everywhere (but folks are no strangers to Scotch either); Guinness pours out of every door; Guinness bread is the most deliciously created loaf ever, and sadly gets devoured the quickest; Shepard’s pie and bangers (sausages) and mash (mashed potatoes) are served everywhere; and Irish candy is addictive – I still crave the traditional strawberry and cream and lemon Bon Bons (small, round, powdered, fruity goodness!), Milky Teeth (chewy candy in the form of teeth!), and most of all Cables (these colorful long candy look like cables which you can twist any way you like! – you gotta love twizzlers to appreciate).
There is still much to say about Ireland and six days certainly does not make us experts in the country’s history and natural world but I think we passed “Ireland 101” with flying colors. When I go to sleep, I begin to count sheep…
Thanks so much for reading! Def. visit Ie.