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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ireland: Two Hearts, One Land



Anita, at Castles Crowns and Cottages, is hosting a virtual travel party entitled:

(The blue print says "Europe: Simply Irresistible Link Party July 18-25, 2014")

It's a virtual party and travelogues may be imaginary or places one has visited. Last November I went to Ireland and, in several posts, you'll be introduced to my thoughts and photos. The series will end with an Irish gift giveaway...are you ready? 
These two lads evidently lost their heads over me...LAM! (laughing at myself)


The November day my plane touched down in the Republic of Ireland it was raining. 

Of course it was raining; it's Ireland, therefore it's raining. Fortunately, living on a farm, I'm used to weather and was prepared for chilly, rainy weather so wandering around the terminal, looking for transportation meant a minor inconvenience and not a tragedy. I opted to take the bus as opposed to a taxi; buses meant rubbing elbows with locals and that meant, possibly, good tips and advice. The older woman who sat next to me accepted, with a smile, my apology for my barely controlled suitcase as it skittered hither and thither. She asked if I was from the States and proceeded to tell me what she liked best about her home. For a city woman, she dressed country in sensible walking shoes, tweeds, a raincoat and carrying an umbrella; my kind of woman and we both enjoyed our short visit.


First Irish meal and first Guinness in Dublin.

~ Dublin statues, all alive, save dog ~

Dublin is a cozy city and a walkable one; I was never far from anywhere, especially as I'd opted to stay in a, more or less, central location. 
Not in the Temple Bar area because it's rowdy, busy, filled with neon lights, noise, pubs where drinkers spilled into the streets and more energy than I wanted to either expend or be around. I prefer cities in manageable bites; small portions where one partakes of the culture and the sentiment and where history can be smelled, tasted, touched and felt without being burdened by a crush of humanity.

~ The Long Room ~
At Trinity College, The Long Room was a must see. "Under the 1801 Copyright Act Trinity College was designated as an Irish legal deposit library entitled to a copy of every book published on the two islands. " The Long Room measures 63.7 metres long, 12.2 metres wide and 14.2 metres high and, in a word, is amazing!

At Trinity College, the Book of Kells was also a stop. I always visit as many churches, cathedrals and see as many important works as I can and have been blessed to stand at the alters of the Gutenberg Bible and the Magna Carta in London. To see the Book of Kells was as inspiring and tears were quietly shed; if you'd like to see digital copies, click here.

~ Go Slow and, I add...savor... ~

A couple of days in Dublin and I was ready to hit the road with Vagabond Tours, Discover Ireland tour. The first driver was having a bad day week life while the second driver should be on the "promote Ireland" poster. Day and night, chalk and cheese; the difference between them was unbelievable but both were very safe drivers and Vagabond Tours is recommended with this caveat...be aware with November ends tourist season. Prior to booking, I asked about visiting Inis Oirr, Aran Islands, a sheep farm and Skellig Michael but, upon arrival was told "closed for the season". Still, Vagabond Tours is recommended and kudos to them for a lovely trip with very comfortable lodgings chock full of charm and with breakfasts to die for. Out of 29 counties in the Republic of Ireland, we traveled through the majority and three of the four provinces: Leinster, Munster and Connacht although I later visited Ulster in Northern Ireland on my own.
~ Vagabond van ~

Going south, one of the first stops was the magnificent hill top setting of Rock of Cashel where the wind was beating a few tears from the clouds. 
It reminded me of home and I knew, better than most, what it would feel like in a few months. What was a chilly, blustery day would become bitterly cold, making the monks earlier decision to leave for warmer climes an understandable one. This group of 12th, 13th and 15th century medieval relic buildings keeps watch across the valley where an Abbey once nestled, protected from the worst of the wind. Even so, when the monks left, the nuns followed.
~ crosses, Rock of Cashel ~

BlarneyCastle was a delight. At least, I'm sure it would have been had I gone but, having no desire to press my lips where hundreds of thousands have pressed their flesh, I bypassed the Castle and had a Murphy's and lunch in
Muskerry Arms pub and also the first place I saw “my people” meaning a farming gent, sitting at the bar, Guinness in hand, barn coat spread open across his body, muddy boots resting on the fender and his newsboy hat pushed off his forehead. He was holding court and I could only imagine the exchange having to do with the weather (of course), harvest, autumn planting, the price of petrol and a dozen other topics peculiar to those living close to the earth and her seasons.

A walk up the road and a little retail therapy meant a wool vest and snood at the Blarney Woolen Mills which were, eventually put into use. In some of the outdoors photos of me, it looks like I'm as round as I am tall and that's due to the enormous number of clothes I have on. I took silk long johns, wool sweaters, Dave's Barrow, Alaska fleece jacket with hood, a rain hat and rainproof jacket and wore Patagonia waterproof boots all of which came in handy when a stop alongside the road meant a visit to the fairy glen. 

Mercy! I'm exhausted and it's just the first day or two and am hopeful you've enjoyed the travelogue and photos thus far and will return for more episodes. I am so grateful to Anita for hosting this little party; it's bringing back so many wonderful memories and I'm enjoying myself...all over again...

Blessings ~ Ireland ~ pubs ~ Guinness ~ Murphy's ~ Blarney Woolen Mills ~ Rock of Cashel, Vagabond Tours ~ Muskerry Arms Pub ~ Dublin ~ Trinity College ~ Book of Kells ~ Anita at Castles Crowns and Cottages ~

39 comments:

  1. What a great little trip, without leaving my cottage. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience you had. I love the architecture and I bet the food and drink were delicious!

    Have a nice weekend ~ FlowerLady

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  2. Awwww . . . bringing memories back to me too!
    Trinity College . . .
    Book of Kells . . .
    Temple Bar Area . . .(we visited and had a pint at Temple.
    (touristy treat)
    Rock of Cashel . . .
    Our favorites on our Ireland visits are
    going off the beaten track,
    stone circles,
    cemeteries,
    making wax rubbings of Celtic grave stones,
    churches
    hiking the hills,
    finding abandoned stone houses,
    libraries
    Thanks for the memories Sandra . . . I look forward to part two!

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  3. YES YES YES! And to learn that someone would really be wearing a tweed suit is enchanting, and not just a dream or a stereotype! I thank you kindly for participating in this link party and I hope you will have a chance to visit the others! Thank you as well for that luscious photo of the beef dish! Anita

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  4. A lovely journey to a beautiful country - so glad you let us go along. Your impressions are wonderful!

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  5. Oh how lovely to see your comment this morning amidst this lovely rush of friends visiting one another! Enjoy the day and the week of linking to EUROPE! Anita

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  6. What a wonderful trip...both then and now! I enjoyed it so much, and would have been right there with the 'Wool' therapy, rain gear and the 'Fairy Glen'. Look forward to the next posts.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  7. Enjoyed your tour! Ireland is gorgeous!

    ~ Violet

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  8. What a lovely trip. You must have had so much fun.

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  9. Lovely to discover your blog and many thanks for visiting me. Also for taking me away to Ireland.
    I really enjoyed seeing all your wonderful photos - it is on my list of places to visit one day. Yes, I am sure an umbrella, woolen tweeds and sensible walking shoes would be most important here. Thanks for sharing the lovely post,
    Happy weekend
    Carolyn

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  10. Oh, what a fun post! Yes, I've seen the immense Long Room and the exquisitely beautiful Book of Kells. And I shall always remember walking the grounds of the Rock of Cashel on Easter 2000. Glorious! Oh, how I would love to go back again.

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  11. As You can imagine since You read My post,I'm so happy to read about Your trip.If You plan on more post about Your travels to Ireland,I will be here.I just wish there was a way to remind myself. Thank You-Denise

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  12. Hello,

    My husband is half Irish. His father was 100% Irish, born on March 17, Saint Patrick's Day. We have always wanted to visit the Emerald Isle. I love all of your commentary on your trip. It sounds like you had great time.

    Also the post below on the lemonade gave me a good chuckle. Thanks!

    ; )
    Nancy

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  13. What a fun trip enhanced by encounters and/or observations of locals.

    Judith

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  14. some great memories and a pint of Guinness,I do love that,xx Rachel

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  15. Ahhhhhhh yes(happy sigh)
    this was indeed a tour after me own heart!
    I did indeed travel there with the details of your every word!
    Thank you for a such lovely tour!!
    Many many Blessings, Linnie

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  16. Hi Sandra, what a wonderful post of Ireland and such an enchanting time. I love your photos and feel like I was right there with you. Being Irish I hope to visit one day. My grandparents are from Dublin and I feel a part of my heart is right there.
    Thank you for sharing your precious memories of an amazing trip and this post is so inspiring.
    Blessings for a great weekend.
    Hugs

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  17. Good afternoon!
    What a fun tour of Ireland, I was never there but I found being with your story, even the food! WOW everything looks so delicious!

    I loved your story, how you tell and photos.
    I enjoyed both this Link Party as the people I'm discovering. like you.
      are so far, but, we seem so close!

    From Madrid .... ...
    Luisa
    personally selected products

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  18. Good afternoon!
    What a fun tour of Ireland, I was never there but I found being with your story, even the food! WOW everything looks so delicious!

    I loved your story, how you tell and photos.
    I enjoyed both this Link Party as the people I'm discovering. like you.
      are so far, but, we seem so close!

    From Madrid .... ...
    Luisa
    personally selected products

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  19. Nice to see and read your visit to Ireland!
    groetjes van Marijke

    www.bij-marijke-thuis.blogspot.nl

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  20. Oh, Sandra! Thank you for taking us along on your adventures in Ireland! I'm paying close attention and learning a lot from your travelogue. Ireland is a place I'd love to visit one day! I'll stop back again!
    ♡Dawn
    One of the 'Girlfriends'

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  21. Hello, what a fun tour of Ireland this was. Thank you so much for taking me along.
    fondly,
    Penny

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  22. Like so many of your visitors I've always wanted to travel to beautiful Ireland and haven't had the chance. You've done a wonderful job showing us first hand your trip to Ireland.

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  23. Like so many of your visitors I've always wanted to travel to beautiful Ireland and haven't had the chance. You've done a wonderful job showing us first hand your trip to Ireland.

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  24. What an enchanting trip! Thank you for sharing your memories of Ireland. I hope to get there myself someday to visit County Cork, home of some of my ancestors.

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  25. Enjoyed your tour VERY much...........thanks for sharing!Anita sent me........IRELAND and ITALY are the top two looks like!

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  26. Sandra,
    I've always wanted to visit Ireland. There's no excuse, we've been to England many times, we only needed to take the train or rent a car and just do it, but alas, we never have. Thanks for sharing some highlinghts of your trip. Arm chair travel is fun and you don't have to take your shoes off. :-)
    Karen

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  27. Oh yeah, I enjoyed it! Felt like I was right there with you. I wish I could visit The Homeland, but, alas, that is beyond my reach. I just content myself with researching my genealogy and dreaming. Thanks for sharing the trip. I look forward to more.
    Luv ~:)

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  28. What a lovely glimpse of Ireland. I have never been there, but it sure was fun to visit through your eyes! The food looked really good!! To see new lands and experience their cultures is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

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  29. Oh what wonderful memories I look forward to seeing more of your fascinating life well lived and enjoyed. Incredible Thank you for sharing. Hug B

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  30. Lovely post. Ireland s always such a beautiful destination. Maybe one day. And your first photo made me giggle. Too cute!

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  31. Hi Sandra,
    My family ancestry is Irish and many cousins have visited but I have yet to do so. Looks like you had a great time! It looks so romantic in so many ways. I can hardly wait to go! Thanks for a lovely visit :)

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  32. You hooked me with that first picture of your meal in Dublin. It looks so delicious! I love Ireland and traveled around by myself there after art school but I would love to go back again and meet some of the people as you describe. So lovely to meet you, I'm also part of Anita's link party. Hope you will stop by.

    Mary Jo

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  33. You hooked me with that first picture of your meal in Dublin. It looks so delicious! I love Ireland and traveled around by myself there after art school but I would love to go back again and meet some of the people as you describe. So lovely to meet you, I'm also part of Anita's link party. Hope you will stop by.

    Mary Jo

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  34. Thank you for taking me on a wee trip to Ireland this morning! xoxo

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  35. Hello Sandra!
    I visited my family in Ireland about 19 years ago.

    The people of Ireland are among the most friendly in our world!

    We flew into Shannon and spent most of our days in County Galway with family and friends. We visited the Dingle peninsula then to Dublin to fly on...

    Thank you for taking me to your dream destination! It was with a familiar joy that I journeyed with you, today!
    ~Lynne
    withLove!

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  36. Superbe reportage.
    Bises
    Marie-Ange

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  37. A little bit late but......Wonderful post ...great party !!..thanks for Anita !!!..love Ria...x !

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  38. I'm a late traveller but, oh, I'm so enjoying Ireland! A most delightful post, Sandra!

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  39. Sandra is that you in last photo?
    I have some family in Sligo and mayo. Connemara looks like the moons surface..

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