We journeyed to the Emerald Isle for a week-long family vacation, where we ate too much seafood, drank too much Guinness, and enjoyed the countryside JUST the right amount. The highlights:
Eating a nonstop supply of seafood, stews, potatoes and brown bread. Did I mention the Guinness? We mixed it up by switching to Bulmer’s cider (apple or pear), Irish coffee and whiskey as needed.
Hiking in Connemara National Park, where the trail admonishes you not to interfere with ponies and the hill-top view is stunning. The ocean meets coastal villages, and you can see rolling hills, cottages, churches and ponies, at smaller and smaller scale, as you climb. WARNING: Not for the faint of heart. But certainly do-able if you’ve got a few hours and good knees.
If you are wearing the brightest red pants that you can find, you will be invigorated by the color, which will assist in your elevatory* efforts. (*Note: probably not a real word.) You will also feel empowered by simple gray Converse, which seem to say, “America!” and “easy going” and probably “these are not hiking boots.”
Looking down on rough waters from high cliffs. Feeling the wind whipping my hair and stinging my face, and the lurch of my stomach as I stared down sharp boulders into the waves crashing below.
Staring skyward at rainbows, clouds, blue skies, rolling hills, and from the backseat of a car at winding roads, grazing sheep, wild ponies and thatch-roof cottages.
Contemplating just where did that old man come from and where did he go, the one who tried to caution us about getting too close to Clifden Castle.
Hearing the song “Whiskey in a Jar,” in several variations, from “trad” musicians at pubs in town, surrounded by family (and a friend or two); later walking to “the chipper” and grabbing fish and chips or a kebab for the walk home.
Riding a bicycle around the Aran Island of Inishmore, not minding the bumps in the road or the hard bicycle seat, because of the ocean view and the clifftop ruins of an ancient fortress, the animals grazing here and there, the goats climbing over stone walls as though they were mere bumps in the way.
Finally, having a quiet dessert-and-cheese course with my husband on our last night, in Galway, at a funky little restaurant that squeezed us into a door-side table.