Love Letter to Ireland

I miss my homeland.

What, you might say? You miss Kentucky? The States? Your favorite McDonald’s and Diet Coke?

Nope, I’m talking about the land of 3/4 of my ancestors….Eire. Ireland. The Emerald Isle. My heart.

It’s been six years since my last visit. SIX YEARS! That is way too long, inexcusable considering I spent the first 2/3 of my life not even imagining I would ever visit. The budget is being cruel and alas, it will be a while yet before I return.

But I yearn for my ancestral home.Ireland 08 043

My first visit started out in a stunned state. We de-barked at Shannon Airport to a cold, cloudy, dreary landscape and I could only think “I spent thousands of dollars for THIS?”

Then we left the airport. Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was as if the spirit of the isle reached into my heart and soul and hugged me. As corny as it sounds, I knew I was home. It only got better from there. So here are some of the things I have been missing:

1. The earth. The sky. The rivers. The coast. The rocks. The birds. The flora, the fauna. The sheep. The sun as it breaks out over stone wall lined pastures after a soft rain. There is a richness to sol’s rays there that does NOT exist anywhere else. And the lakes! Blue is to bland a word to describe the beauty of the water. I’m not a hiker by nature but I tell you walking in the woods there? I knew…just KNEW that if I sat on a log I would become one with the earth. Ahem…I also firmly believed that if I looked under the right rhododendron bush, I’d find the King of the Fae 😀

Ireland 08 063

2. The Irish spirit. Ya gotta admire a people so resilient. They meet their challenges and either beat the crap out of them or dance around them. The honor those who have gone before them, respect those who suffered and then thumb their noses at the cause. Every meal includes the potato in some form or fashion and one particular eatery in Killarney…seriously…served potaotes FIVE ways! Roasted, mashed, chips, boiled, added to pasta.

3. The history. Yeah, in the States you have to go through park gateways to see a lot of our infant past. In Ireland, you drive down the highway and past castles, cemeteries hundreds of years old, thatched cottages that invaders missed (Ha!). It’s just part of life there. Part of who and what the people, the land are. All of it right next door to a McDonald’s that serves the apple pie crusted in sugar with REAL clotted cream!

4. The people. Especially the musicians who play in the pubs. These people are transformed as they play ballads, jigs reels. They connect with another sphere of life as they play the fiddle, the bodrhan (my fav), pipes even spoons. I was only feet away watching an older guy play spoons with his eyes closed as he felt the life of the song. Oh and of course the black-haired, blue-eyed stone mason I oogled…er, watched at work on the Ring of Kerry. Momentous time that lead to the premise of my upcoming paranormal Guardian Isle series.

I could go on and on. While I can’t quite make it back right now, I always have the promise that, just like it has for an eternity, home will always be there for me.

What about you? Have you experienced anything similar in your travels? Have you been to Ireland and what do you miss?Ireland 08 014

 

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Comments

12 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Hello Joanie,
    I haven’t made it to Ireland yet, but hopefully someday soon. My cousin visited Ireland and took a pic at the Blarney Stone. I do get the feeling that I’ve stepped back in time in some of my travels in Europe and Asia. The most recent was when I walked in Macau and Japan.

  • Amy Conley says:

    You describe Ireland the way my mother described Scotland, and she doesn’t have any scotch in here (that I’ve found anyway).
    I’ve never really been out of the country except to Mexico and Canada. But there is one place I have been where I felt the same feeling you describe here, Charleston, SC. I went long ago, close to 25 years ago, for one day and I never wanted to leave. I was lucky enough to go again about 10 years ago, and I still didn’t want to leave.

  • Helen says:

    Joanie

    What a lovely discription of Ireland sadly I have not been there but I would love to visit I actuall work with and Irish lady and she tells wonderful stories so yes it is a place I hope to get to one day. The only travelling I have done is on a cruise and there have been some lovely islands that I have visited and I am off to New Zealand on a cruise in November and really looking forward to that one

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Patty L. says:

    I am hoping to travel to Scotland next year and although I have never been I feel a connection that I must explore . Although ,after reading this post I may need to visit Ireland. It is also on my bucket list.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Lovely description of Ireland – yes, I’ve visited several times and enjoyed it – though it doesn’t have the same pull as for you 😉

    I feel that way about the US – whenever we land in New York or DC, I feel like I’ve come home. That comes from spending so much of my life – my childhood in DC and adult life in NJ – in the States.

  • What a lovely post, Joanie! I visited Ireland as a child, but I don’t remember much about it save for the fact it was green and cold!

    But I have had the same experience you did when I visited Wales. I was a senior in college when I visited Wales on a college choir tour. As soon as we entered the country and I glued myself to the window of the bus I felt as if a great bell rang inside me. And once I stepped off the bus in the seaside village of Towyn I knew I was home. We only spent three days there, but it has touched me forever.

    I do want to return to England and Wales, but like you the budget refuses to cooperate. I will get there one day.

  • catslady says:

    I’m afraid I’ve never been but it sounds like it would be a wonderful place to visit. I would like to visit Sicily some day since that’s where all my ancestors came from. My niece and her family (7 kids) went last year and loved it.

  • Aw Joanie, It took me a while to get to the blog today and now you have me wishing I was walking the Irish countryside with you!!

    And heck, anyplace that serve potatoes with every meal has to be a wonder to see!

    BTW…cannot wait for everyone to get to read your wonderful Irish based paranormals series!!! ** It is soooo good **

  • Joanie, what lovely trips you’ve had! I’ve never visited Ireland. It doesn’t draw me the way it does you, though it’s obviously a gorgeous country.

  • Becke says:

    Joanie,
    Loved the blue and white pub. I plan to go to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Maybe soon. But I’ve always longed to go there.

    We saw an equine Castle-to-Castle tour that I’ve fantasized about for years. Maybe it’s time to book it!

    The place that’s a part of me is Monument Valley. I’ve been twice and each time it captured me heart and soul. So I guess, so far Utah has me.
    b

    b

  • Deb says:

    Joan, what a lovely post today. I have never visited Ireland, but it sounds and looks lovely. A friend of mine visited there last year when her daughter spent a year over there while in college. She loved it and the land’s beauty. But, she said the best part was the people. They were warm and welcoming.

    I have visited Denmark, my grandfather’s homeland. It was wonderful to visit the farm where he grew up, walk around the nearby town, and to visit the church that he attended.
    I would love to return there some day.

    I love living in Iowa; it is a pretty state and has much beauty of its own. I couldn’t imagine living elsewhere.

  • Mozette says:

    Aahh, yes, I have.

    When I was in the UK, I found the climate was just wonderful for my skin and hair. My skin cleared up and stopped being itchy and blotchy; and my hair? Well! It got this lovely, curl to it I’ve never seen! And my scalp stopped itching. I put it down to the climate and the water… wow!

    And if I didn’t feel at home in the UK… I felt right at home in Scotland! I was welcomed home by anyone in a kilt as they wrapped their beefy arm around my shoulders and said heartily: ‘Aye, lass! Welcome home to Scotland, lassy!” but they never did that to anyone else on my tour… just me. I loved the cold, I loved everything about Scotland – even the rain.

    I just felt so at home that when I came back to Australia, I found it so itchy, hot, my skin blotched, my hair frizzed and I broke out in zits! I knew from the get go that I was in the wrong darned country! 🙁