See You Later, Ireland

Hello all. 

With a sad heart, I must say my time in Ireland has come to an end. But! This is not a goodbye, just a see you later, because I’m definitely coming back again. And who knows, maybe I’ll make my dream of living in a Northern Ireland coastal town come true. They definitely need someone to keep all the fish & chip shops open, which I’m totally down (and hungrily qualified) for the job.

The next parts of Ireland led us to the west coast. And, of course, we stopped for a few castle ruins. Nothing can make you feel more like you’re in a fairytale than daydreaming outside castle walls.

Saunderson Castle.

We stayed the night in the little town of Bunratty. And when I say little, I mean it’s a castle with some tourist attractions. But oh! was it beautiful! And our hotel was literally outside the castle. Bunratty was more of a rest stop for us, which was surely needed.

Our hotel.
Bunratty Castle, the view from our hotel!

During our travels from town to town, we would stop at different castles, ruins, churches, and scenery, just for the fun of it. Because, why not?! When you’re here, you might as well make the most of it.

We also met some other visitors and locals that are on their our adventures, whether through vacation or life. One kind soul was met outside of St. Macartan’s Cathedral. His name was Jimmy and he was the town’s “fix it” guy and resident chatter box. We actually had a couple from the town warn us that we wouldn’t be able to get away from him… They were correct. And an hour and a half later we walked away with laughs, blessings, and €10 to send to an organization on behalf of my late grandfather.

Jimmy told stories through song; so it felt like I was basically in an Irish Disney movie for the whole conversation. If a topic sparked a song’s memory or was similar to the meaning, he would sing the song, tell you the singer, and the story behind it. You can see why it took over an hour to have a conversation with him! But he was so kind and in beteeen different topics would whisper a prayer for us and the many souls in the stories.

He wanted to know all about us and would guess different aspects of our lives based on the information we gave. I think he also wanted to set me up with his nephew… But he started serenading me about love instead, “put your love in my heart and your words on my lips.”

He might have been a bit in his own world (or maybe a lot), but he couldn’t have been a happier fella. He left us with a few pieces of advice. The first, with a little tune, “Love many. Trust few. And we’ll always paddle our own canoe.” And the final he looked at me and said “Remember Sarah, people change every seven years,” making sure I understood that I’ll continue to grow in (his words) “the biggest school, the school of life.”

St. Macartan’s Cathedral.
Some of St. Macartan’s stain glass windows.
Inside St. Macartan’s Cathedral.

Our next stop led us to Killarney, where we visited the Cliffs of Moher! And they were awe-inspiring. A different feel than the Giant’s Causeway, less magical and more daunting. I had the feeling that one false step and I could be face-to-face with Ireland’s past residents in the afterlife. Maybe that has something to do with walking along the cliffs edge without any railings…

My favorite style of picture-taking called “Add a flower and make the background out of focus.”
The subtle warning.
Letting the wind take ahold of me (and also hiding the ever-so-mild fear in my eyes).
Dad and I at the cliffs.
Me on the wee lookout castle at the top of the cliffs.
The daunting Cliffs of Moher.

Next! We headed towards Cork and to Blarney Castle to gain a bit of eloquence. The story goes that whoever kisses the Blarney Stone will be eloquent for the rest of their days. I’ll be sure to let you know how that turns out. And if for some reason you think my blog gets better from this post onward, well, you know why!

Barney Castel (told you I love this picture setup).
Me kissing the stone and trying to not think about all the other people who have also kissed the stone…
The family outside the Castle.
The banquet hall seen from the top of the Castle.

The queue (line to reach the castle) was over an hour, but we passed the time by listening to dad talk two poor and way too kind Canadian visitors’ ears off. They bonded over both going to San Jose State and their love of libraries.

Also, no one tells you that you have to lay on your back and hang upside down to kiss the stone. So, here’s me telling you. You have to hang upside down to kiss the stone. If that’s not your thing (like it wasn’t my mom’s), just blow it a kiss and move on. If it is, which I was obviously (eventually) fine with, well, then flip over and pucker up!

My final pieces of advice when traveling to Ireland (or anywhere really) is: 1. Visit the scenery around you because there is magic in the air. 2. Meet the people because they create the magic. And 3. Try Jameson (with cranberry juice!) because it’s magic in a bottle. 

Talk to you next in Scotland!



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