Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Travel to Ireland with author Caroline Clemmons

Texas author Caroline Clemmons writes Romance and Adventure http://www.carolineclemmons.com/.  Today she shares her love for Ireland--a place on my "short list" to visit--in a guest blog.

Do you love green rolling hills, thatched cottages, corner pubs, and friendly people? Who doesn’t love those things? Which is why Ireland is a great travel destination.

The Irish are friendly to Americans. After so many Irishmen emigrated to America, Irish citizens seem to consider that visitors from the U.S. are only coming “home” for a visit. My husband and I found open, welcoming people wherever we traveled in Ireland.

Our first visit was through Brendan Tours, and Willie Guilfoyle was our driver and guide. His knowledge of Irish history amazed us. In other trips since then, no guide has been as well informed as Willie. In fact, Brendan Tours is a lovely group with whom to travel on all counts.

Flying in to Shannon airport, the verdant landscape surprised me. I’d heard about the Emerald Isle, but was unprepared for how green the landscape really was. In travels across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and western Europe, I have to say that Ireland is the prettiest spot we’ve seen. In fact, I wanted to move into a lovely cottage in Adare, but my husband dragged me to the rest of our tour.

Yes, we visited Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone. My husband climbed to the top and kissed the stone—not an east feat. To accomplish this, he had to lie on his back partially suspended over a wall and tilt his head to kiss the opposite wall. Fortunately, there was an assistant to keep him from plunging to his death. Me? I waited at the bottom of the 110 steps for my husband to return. After all, no one in my family needs to actually kiss the Blarney Stone. We were born with the gift of (sometimes creative) gab.

Across Ireland, we saw celtic crosses either as tombstones or decoration. Beside the roads in many places are creches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Ruins from when the English destroyed Roman Catholic chapels litter the country. I hate to make general statements, but I consider the Irish to be religious and most to be Catholic. We stopped at the site of miraculous healing at Knoch.

Dublin is a bustling city formed where once sat a Viking stronghold. The town’s name means black pool. It’s a modern city with cheerful businesses and lots of flower boxes and hanging baskets brightening up the streets.
Our first visit was all too short, as was the second. Next time, we plan to rent a cottage and purchase a rail pass and spend a month in Ireland. I wonder if that cottage in Adare is available?


Avery Michaels said...

Thanks, Caroline! What a great post! Visiting Ireland is on my list of things to do in the near future.

Avery Michaels

Caroline Clemmons said...

It's better than you can imagine!