From an older post on my blog… this location is on the shores of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. After graduating from college, I spent two wonderful years teaching close by here in Enniskillen, though during my time there I unfortunately did not take full advantage of the scenery around me.
Any time I return home to Ireland though, I try to rectify this by exploring what is an amazingly beautiful landscape. Looking across the waters of the lough you can see the island of Devenish, home to the ruins of a monastic settlement that dates back to the 6th century, and a 100 ft tall round tower that dates back to the 12th century. Over the centuries, many cultures have visited and touched this island, leaving behind evidence of what were often thriving and vital communities.
I got lucky when I stumbled on this boat on the shoreline… it made for a really nice foreground element on what was a beautiful summer evening.
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!