St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

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The photograph above is of Monea Castle which can be found just outside Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. After graduating from university, I spent a really enjoyable two years getting my feet wet learning how to teach physical education and geography at Enniskillen High School. Looking back, at that age I didn’t fully appreciated the beauty of the landscape all around me, but that just means I can return and get re-acquainted, right?

It is now less than two weeks until Sam and I leave for Ireland, and I have to admit, I am getting quite excited about the trip. Our arrival coincides with what I remember being a national holiday – St. Patrick’s Day… or did it just feel like a holiday because everyone took the day off?  Either way, my memories from this time of year are of milder weather and usually a few pints of a favorite beverage. Sam and I will likely spend the day (and night) in Dublin to experience the local fare, after which we will head north toward Lurgan to visit the family.

On this trip we are renting a mini cooper… I have always wanted to drive one, and I figured its small footprint would serve us well as we will probably have to jostle with the sheep and the cows on narrow country roads! We will spend a couple of days in the north doing the family thing, but after that we intend to head west and south to explore some of the more remote southwestern parts of the island. It looks like the adventure will start in and around Galway before heading south toward Limerick and the area around the River Shannon. We want to take some time to explore the Dingle peninsula and Killarney, but beyond that we have no real itinerary… we plan on stopping when we want to stop, and moving on when we feel it is time. If anyone reading this has suggestions for places we should include, especially related to hikes and history… we are all ears!

Going home…

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It’s official. The flights are booked. I’m going home 🙂

I’ve been thinking about Ireland a lot lately, but to date I haven’t been able to come up with a workable plan to visit… until now. Combining a holiday present for Sam and a way to scratch the itch I had to return, we will both be flying across the Atlantic later in the spring.

Sam has always been fascinated by his heritage, and if ever asked where he would like to travel to, without hesitation he usually chooses the country I was born in. I think he has been to Ireland a total of three times now, though the first was when he had just turned one year old, so that hardly counts. I can still remember the two of us making that flight home, with him spending a considerable amount of time in the trusty backpack as we did the rounds. I had wanted to get him home so that my aging parents would have a chance to meet him, and although he doesn’t recall anything from that visit, I am certainly glad we made the trip. Lori came on the next trip home when Sam was about eight years old, and five years ago we had the pleasure of introducing the somewhat newly minted Jack (2) to all of his distant relatives.

The photograph above is of Kinbane Castle, built in 1547 and located along the Antrim coast somewhere between the Giant’s Causeway and Ballintoy Harbor. Last time we were home, Sam and I had ventured out on this particular evening in search of some nice light. We had a great time exploring the little cove that this castle ruin rests in, and as the summer sun sank below the horizon we both enjoyed a really peaceful sunset. I think this was the first and last time we saw the sun on that 10-day visit to Ireland, but here’s hoping we will be a little bit luckier with the weather this time around!