Luck of the Irish.
Kiss the Blarney Stone and receive the gift of gab.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!
Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
May the road rise up to meet you.
By: Kay Ferchow, CTC
These are just a few familiar phrases. I just returned from Ireland and every day that I was there, I saw something that reminded me of how much we are and have been influenced by the Irish.
Reflecting on the many perils the Irish have been through over the centuries, potato famine, the northern Protestants fighting with the southern Catholics, being invaded by the Vikings and the English; their history is colorful and they are amazing.
I toured Ireland on an escorted trip via motor coach and learned so much! Our escort/driver, Patrick truly loves his country and his passion was evident in his many stories.
He talked about their history, culture and all the important details. But he also talked about himself and his family of 12 brothers and sisters. Especially interesting is how alive “story telling” is in Ireland. Pat talked about how they would all be getting together for Thanksgiving and Christmas and how important stories would be in their gathering.
We had the privilege of listening to a couple of professional story tellers as well. I found myself on the edge of my seat, hanging on every word. The Irish are very superstitious as we know that by the many stories we have heard about Leprechans and kissing the Blarney Stone, etc. I was intrigued by the Fairy trees. These are Hawthorn trees that grow in the middle of a field by themselves. According to Pat, who has one on his family’s acreage, you don’t go near a Fairy tree. They are bad luck. The Irish don’t fertilize them, trim them or cut them down. And they have even been known to build highways around Fairy trees.
The Irish are what makes Ireland so special and they love Americans. They are so friendly and love a good time. Check out the pubs. You’ll find true Irish music, conversation, dancing and a good time. They want to hear about us and want to get to know us. Afternoon tea is also a tradition and a time to take a moment. Relax and enjoy company.
What a beautiful country! Picturesque landscape with its rolling hills, land separated by an ancient tradition of hedgerows, thatch-roofed cottages, medieval castles and countryside that varies dramatically from one side of the country to the other. Forty shades of green? Yes, even in November. The trees were beautiful with their fall colors contrasting with Kelly green grass.
Ireland has so much to offer. I took over 200 pictures in four days. It is an easy country to visit. Just watch out, they drive on the “wrong” side of the road and have a zillion round-a-bouts. Asking for directions can be interesting too. If you ask for a specific road name or number, you’ll probably get a shrug and a “Sorry, can’t help ya” as an answer. It’s best to ask how to get to your destination and they are more than happy to help.
There are too many things to name, but just a few must sees and dos are Dublin, Belfast, Dromoland Castle, Waterford factory, the Ring of Kerry, the cliffs of Moher, and Giants Causeway. Bed & Breakfasts, and farmhouse stays are popular and plentiful. It is fairly easy to tour Ireland independently, but I recommend you take an escorted tour and leaving the driving and storytelling to the Irish.
Kay Ferchow, CTC
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