Liberated Travel’s weekly travel journey this week is Ireland.
I have been to Ireland a couple of times though once only for a weekend to attend a wedding in Cobh in 2004 which is just outside of Cork. The first time I traveled to Cobh in 2002 was to visit some friends I met online. Cobh is a small town on an island in Cork harbour and was the last departure point for the Titanic as she headed across the Atlantic and was also the departure point for thousands of Irish heading to North America during the Famine in the 19th century. It’s a nice town, with museums and a nice cathedral high on one of the many hills of the town.
On that occasion, we traveled up to Dublin to meet up with more internet friends for a weekend get together. We explored the city a bit and had evenings of food, beer and music. I liked Dublin, it’s a flat city and fairly compact for all the things you’d want to see and do. There are nice parks including St. Stephen’s Green and a large Botanic Garden.
A friend and I joined a bus tour that took us around the highlights of the Republic of Ireland. A bus tour might not be everyone’s idea of “travel” but it does give you an overview of a location and you can decide where you’d like to return to if you get the chance. Ireland really is many shades of green and the countryside is beautiful. The coastal drives are as dramatic as anywhere else and the narrow country roads really do get crowded with occasional flocks of sheep! We drove the Ring of Kerry, took a Jaunting car ride through the park in Killarney, saw the remains of a monastery in Glendalough, watched crystal being made in Waterford, visited a marble factory in Connemara, smelled the peat fires in a farm cottage near Galway, stood awestruck at the Cliffs of Moher, were blown away at the detail in the Book of Kells, and enjoyed many a pint in many a pub!
The Irish are a colourful people, right down to all the bright colours they paint their houses and buildings and business signs. There isn’t a lot of neon to be seen here! They really are as friendly as advertised and always ready and willing for a conversation on pretty much any topic. They love their families and they love to laugh. We have another trip to Ireland somewhere in our future, this time, just hiring a car and driving around. My partner has friends on the west coast of the country while a visit with our friends in Cobh will also be another destination. We just aren’t sure yet when, but it’s on the list and some time over the next little while I will blog my Irish tour memories.