Well, I’ve been back from my first trip to Ireland and have gone through all the photos with relish (and a cup of tea). So many terrific memories and meeting great people. So here are a couple of my favorite areas. Now some people told me that you shouldn’t go to Belfast -too many fights, bombings, etc. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they have had their differences. But the people have worked out some differences and the 30′ high gates are open.. Here is how one side decorated the fence. The gates/fence were all about 30′ tall. This was to keep the Molotov cocktails from being tossed. You could view this as graffiti or as artwork.
They have the Black Cab tours which are conducted by the locals and give you a tour of the City. The City is continuing to work out differences and rebuild. We did tour the Titanic Museum which was sad but very informative.
This photo was taken at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. (I’ve tried to get it posted the portrait way and not landscape but have failed) The landscape is truly amazing and that day we had terrific weather. The stones are not carved. The shape juts up and is amazing. You can get an audio tour which tells you the history and folklore of the area. I could have spent all day there hiking on the rocks and just breathing the ocean air.
From there, we headed back towards Ireland. Each hotel was top rated, great staff, wonderful food and very accommodating. Now this tour was listed as a Quilt tour but we went to so many historic places, museums, famine ships and castles. One party was a Grandmother, Mother and 2 daughter group. Since one of the daughters didn’t quilt, she was able to do a horseback ride while we were at a famine/workhouse tour. So you can do other things as long as they fit into the time schedule. Just be upfront with your tour people and things can be arranged.
My favorite city was Galway. It is so vibrant and filled with art and music. Again, friendly people, great food and the locals are wonderful. We went to the Aran Islands (Inishmore) and was able to climb to the top and look over the cliff. It was the perfect boat ride over and back. Again, great food, wonderful people and some great shops. I just followed the others and got on my hands and knees to creep up to the edge. However, I did creep to almost the edge for a photo. It’s a far drop below , and it is a stunning view. The photo below is the hike up to the former castle.
We also visited Malahide Castle, Kylemore and the Rock of Cashel. Each one so full of great photos and history.
If you have the chance, save up your money, get your passport ready and go visit. I would love to go back right now but have decided to do Scotland next year with the same tour organization (www.celticquilttours.com). Our group consisted of Canadians and Americans. We ranged from hand quilters, long-armers, designers, wool workers, appliquers, etc. Just remember to get pounds and Euro’s before you go and get a Horizon VAT card. You get money back when you swipe your card at the airport before going home. Also this trip was made special because we had an awesome driver. Tony, from Kerry Coaches, knows the roads, the histroy, the jokes and how to keep the tour on time. He was the best,
So to keep my Irish feel going, I watch Quiet Man, Secret of Roan Inish, The Commitments, and listen to the Merry Ploughboy band (they have a great Pub in Dublin that is worth the visit). I also have a cuppa Irish Afternoon tea as well. I leave you with this photo of foxglove from the Kylemore Abbey.
Thank you for reading.