Sunday, 22 April 2012

Revisiting Ireland, post-Blog O'Hop

Not long after arriving in Ireland.
Hi everyone! Yes, it's Sunday and ordinarily I'd be basking in the lack of need to post anything for the A-Z, but I decided that I didn't want to fail at anymore goals this year than I absolutely have to, so I'm here to post my monthly travel blog post.

Back in March, I took part in Mark Koopmans's Irish-themed Blog O'Hop, in which I talked about my upcoming travels to Ireland and what I thought I could expect from the visit. Mark gave me the idea of following up at some point with a reflection on how my expectations measured up to the reality of the Emerald Isle as I found it. So that's what I'm going to do today!

A view from the top of
Blarney Castle.
Want to know something funny? I actually did believe I'd never visited Ireland before. But one day during my travels, after I'd sent my mum a text message filling her in on our trip around the Ring of Kerry, I got the following surprising text back from her:

"Is it a big ring? You fell off a table while Lester rode around the ring of kerry. You and I stayed at a caravan park. You were about 10 weeks old."

Imagine my surprise to learn that I had, in fact, visited Ireland before! Sure, I was only 10 weeks old at the time, but still, it counts!! Right? ;) Oh, and Lester's my Dad in case anybody wondered. Anyway, let's get back on track. During my Blog O'Hop post, I mentioned the following expectations that I had of Ireland:

What am I expecting of Ireland?
Blarney Castle gardens.

  • Cold(er) weather
  • Lush green landscapes
  • Possibly some depressing dinginess, but also cool medieval-ness
  • Guinness!
  • A lot of old history
  • Groovy little old Irish pubs with hot stew...and potatoes.

And I can say that, for the most part, I got what I was expecting. But let me break it down for ya:


I did get a bit of mist,
which made me happy.
The Cliffs of Moher.
I didn't get the sort of cold weather I was hoping for, and yet it was perfect weather for sightseeing. We were some of the lucky few who saw the Cliffs of Moher without mist obscuring the beautiful views. We had blue skies and hardly any mist most of the time, and while I personally adore a dark, misty landscape, I was still thankful that I could actually see the stuff I'd come to see. I was disappointed by all the overbearing central heating, but not surprised. It's a chronic fault of countries in the colder northern climes, I find. ;)


This is my kind of scenery!
To be honest, I was expecting it to be more green. People sitting with me on the bus would probably scoff to hear this. "What, you want it more green than this? Jeez, can't please you can we?" But seriously, it wasn't that sort of searing emerald green I'd been led to believe from all the photos my friends have taken of the place over the years. Still, it was beautiful.

Depressing dinginess & cool medieval-ness

I didn't really see much of the dinginess, which I suppose is a good thing! ;) I guess the most depressing part was various monuments to the awful history, i.e. the Potato Famine and the like. Speaking of that, I once read a great book called STAR OF THE SEA by Dublin-born Joseph O'Connor, which while it was pretty tragic, was also a great read. As for cool medieval-ness, yep, saw that. I will talk more about it lower down, when I mention Blarney. :)

I also sampled a fair few wines...
mostly Chilean. The rest were
Australian. haha

Well, yes, I found a lot of Guinness, but I only had one pint of the stuff! I actually found that my favourite Irish beverage was Kilkenny, similar to Guiness but with much more creamy goodness. Yep, I'm a Kilkenny konvert!

Old history

Of course there was a lot of this, and probably  my favourite example of it was our visit to Blarney, and more importantly the castle that resides there! It was an amazing experience, climbing those tiny stairwells and imagining people of hundreds of years earlier doing the same thing.

Irish pubs, stew, potatoes

There wasn't really much stew that I saw, but there was soup...and we ate a lot of soup. There were also potatoes left, right and centre. As for pubs, oh yes, there were plenty of great pubs. Mostly though, we stuck to the bars at the hotels because we were too exhausted from the gruelling tour schedule to wander too far out.
Hunting for Phil Lynnot's grave.

Unexpected things

Walking back down Blarney Castle.
See my silver Doc Martens?
Some place I can't remember...

There were things I saw and did that I hadn't planned on. They included a visit to the Trinity College Library (my friend and I, both being librarians, got a little bit giddy as we stepped inside that mammoth vault of history), a trek out to the site of Phil Lynnott's grave, and an awe-inspiring walk up the Blarney Castle (I didn't kiss the stone; too worried about who else might've kissed it. haha). All in all, my favourite place in Ireland was Blarney, but there was a lot of amazing stuff to see in that country. Someday I wouldn't mind going back and doing things properly, i.e. by driving myself around!

I hope you enjoyed my revisiting of the Irish experience, and that if you haven't visited yourself yet, you get to someday soon!


  1. This was awesome Trisha. I've been to Ireland twice now (my father's family is from County Armagh, Enniskillen). It was certainly green when I was there both times. And a whole floor of the Guinness building in Dublin is named after his family (Gilroy). I still don't like Guinness though! I adored the Trinity College Library. The Book of Kells was as good as it gets.

    Just started watching Beaconsfield. It was bad enough seeing it in real life, let alone a dramatised version. Oh man, scary for miners everywhere.


    1. I didn't go to the Guinness place...but didn't really feel the need. I bought a pack of Guinness playing cards though :)

  2. trekking your blog!!! wow! lovely photos! beautiful ireland!


  3. I'm soooo jealous of your trip to Ireland! I really want to go some day :)

  4. Holy Hanna -- this is freaking awesome. I had planned a trip to Ireland with my oldest boy, but it wasn't to be. Long story. This make me happy.

  5. I, too, envy you. I would have enjoyed the beautiful weather. Though when I am driving early mornings as a blood courier to see fingers of mist writhe over the bending bayou by my apartment complex is stunning and evocative. Great photos! Roland

    1. Sounds like you live in an amazing place, too! I am a big lover of mist. That's why some of my favourite parts of the British Isles were the desolate, misty moors.

  6. I lived in Glanmire, Co. Cork, Ireland from 85-88 - not far from the Ring of Kerry. I haven't been back and look forward to sharing it with my husband and kids. I envy you. Thanks for sharing the pics.

    1. Hopefully you will get to share it with them soon! :)

  7. Awesome post, Trisha! I would love to visit Ireland sometime. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  8. Awesome post, Trisha! I would love to visit Ireland sometime. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  9. Wow! I'm pretty sure I've never been anywhere awesome that I didn't realize I'd been. :o| I love that you went to Ireland! Your pictures are fascinating! It sounds like such an incredible place.

  10. Well, one thing is for sure, it's really beautiful. I would love to visit one day.

  11. Great pics and a very nice recap! Glad you had fun!!

  12. I visited Ireland twice. Loved it both times. Glad you enjoyed the country too!

  13. I've always wanted to go (and I'm a lot nearer, so no excuses!) Looks like you had a great trip.

  14. Dark misty landscapes get me too. The stuff of great adventure stories, that is. Man, I'd love to go to Ireland someday. :P

  15. Love love love love love Ireland. Was there about a decade ago.

    One of the best weeks of my life. Landed, rented a car, grabbed a map, and took off. Too short of a trip. :(

  16. Did you get to Belfast? That's a really great city.

    1. Hey Deborah, no we didn't go to Northern Ireland at all, only because of time constraints. I'll have to go back there another time :)

    2. Oh man. Trust me to pick on virtually the only place you didn't visit! It sounds like a fab adventure. As an ex-librarian I'd love to visit Trinity College Library.

    3. Yeah, Belfast would definitely be a place to visit in future :) I'd love to see more of Northern Ireland in general, as I hear it has some beautiful landscape.

      Trinity was great, but you couldn't get close enough to the old musty books. ;)

  17. SOOOO awesome to hear you had a great time... Fab Aloha Trisha,

    So so sorry I am posting so late... It's been a bit of a weird couple of weeks for me and we just got back from a "staycation" so I'm working my way through a bunch of old, and I'm delighted to hear "the Dubs" didn't give you a hard time :)

    PS... GREAT decision NOT to kiss the Blarney Stone... it's been used as an outdoor potty by some (so goes the legend I heard :)

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful memories :)


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!