It’s difficult to believe that a month ago we were in Ireland. Life has returned to normalcy, but sometimes it’s difficult to recall what normal is when you’re returning from a dream. You wake up, and you shake your head, and for a while you can’t get the images out. They play over and over until you sink yourself in work, family, volunteering. Then, sometime later, you look up and realize the dream has faded and all you have left is a vague memory of it.

When the con ended, it was off to north-western Ireland. Our first stop was Boyle, and three nights at Rosdarrig bed and breakfast. Boyle is a lovely little village about an hour and a half north east of Galway. The town boasts wonderful food, and a ruined abbey that was our first landmark on this trip. If you’re heading that way, I definitely recommend the town and the B&B, both were excellent.

Boyle abbey, built in the 12th and early 13th centuries.

In Ireland, the saying “if you don’t like the weather now, just wait a few minutes,” aptly applies. I’ve heard it said about a lot of other places, but none of them have the daily variety of rain and sun Ireland does.The day we went to the cliffs of Moher, it rained hard right until we arrived. Then the rain stopped. It was cloudy for a few more hours, then the afternoon was sunny.

I’ll also add that I didn’t mind the weather. Every day, the temps were 62 to 70. Every night, it was in the low 50’s. It was perfect. I never felt cold, or hot, which felt a little strange to me since I always seem to be one or the other.

Cliffs of Moher. Inconceivable!

Dungairre castle, the first we visited, was lovely in the late afternoon sun, and even more beautiful lit up after dark. We hung around town all afternoon, and later had dinner in the castle. Great food, and a medieval show to go with it.

Dungairre castle in the afternoon sun
Performing for the audience as we wait for our meal

Ireland is full of castles, and full of history. We passed roadside ruins, and stopped at well-kept former residences. Some were in the larger cities, and some in the middle of a field of grass far from any village. Every day, we found something new to marvel about and discuss, another slice of history for us to see and enjoy.

A ruined abbey surrounded by fields, no one else but us there
Blarney castle, where tour buses stop and droves of tourists kiss the stone
The ruins of Dunamase, possibly our favorite stop during our time in Ireland

Everywhere we went, the pace was slower. Even in Dublin while we were there, it never seemed that people were all that rushed or harried. There was none of the constant tension you feel on the east coast of the United States. None of that pressure to go, go, go. People got home early from work. They worked for living, they didn’t live for work. Ireland invited us to slow down, come have a beer, read a book in a pub. We did that, too, by the way. We’re not ones to turn down an invitation for books and beers.

The reading area at a pub we visited, complete with book case full of books
The library at Kilkenny castle; now this is my kind of castle!

The people were lovely, and every bit as friendly as you’ve heard. A few were curious to know if we’d “come to find our people.” I hadn’t, not specifically. I don’t know enough about my family roots to know where to begin looking. But I certainly could see how someone from Ireland would wind up living in Maine, with its cooler climate and rolling green hills, so much like parts of the island. The rocky coast of Maine is a reminder of Ireland as well.

The family that slays together, stays together
A crow takes flight at the Rock of Cashel
Spectacular view we found as we crested a hill, with clouds kissing the low mountains behind the lough.

It was a trip I won’t soon forget. And while I have a great many more photos, I don’t want to overburden this post, or my web hosting account. I could have done a detailed blow by blow of our vacation, but that didn’t feel like the right way to approach this. Instead, I wanted the feeling of Ireland to come across. A place where you have to slow down and let history wash over you. A place we hope to visit again in the future. Maybe even move there. Who knows what the future will bring.

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