In June 2012, I took my first vacation to Ireland. I simply fell in love … the landscape, the history, the architecture and the people. It seems that each time I turned the proverbial ‘corner’, I found myself in another unexpected experience.
I still remember that first day on that first trip. I don’t know what I was expecting before I arrived, but there I was …. standing with a tour group at Cahir Castle (Cahir, County Tipperary.) I was hearing words, such as Normans, Cromwell, cannonball, Duke, etc. Huh? As I left that first tour, I found myself thinking … Well, it appears that missed a few eras between Celtic times and the famine. During that trip, I seemed to move from one wonderful place to another … Cobh, Knockmealdown Mountains, Fethard, Lahinch, etc.
I have now been to Ireland six times and am planning my seventh vacation. Incredibly, Ireland never ceases to hand me one unexpected experience after another. Abbeys, passage tombs, stone circles, manor houses, cliffs, castles, stone bridges, the Irish Sea; the list goes on. I find myself thinking on my way to Ireland, will this be the one where I become bored? Well … I have logged more than 16,000 combined kilometers (10,000 miles). Each time I park the car, and head to a ruin or garden, I am simply … amazed. As I fly back home, I answer that question with a ‘no’ and begin to plan my next trip.
Ireland seems to be the place where I slow down. I travel with a list of ‘possibilities’, but without an itinerary. I don’t have to worry about a clock, only daylight (not to be confused with sunlight.) I can spend as little or as much time I want to at a place. One trip, I went to Glendalough and I was thinking it would take about three hours to walk the grounds. I started with one bottle of water and a scone. Eight hours later, I stumbled to my car … hungry, thirsty and incredibly happy. (But I also knew I had not covered it all … return trip!)
I love to ‘traipse’. I am also incredibly thankful that Ireland and its citizens have made a variety of historical wonders available and located in fields/pastures on private property. I do always lock the gate behind me. I don’t mind watching where I step. Last December, I was looking for the Piper Stones. Long story, but I ended up at a placard. I couldn’t see anything that resembled a stone circle. There was a field in front of me with a couple of sheep paths … so, I followed one up a hill. There is was, still standing after 5,000 years. Incredible!
Ireland has also allowed me to ‘heal my soul’. It has gifted me many things. I often find myself in quiet places, often alone (since most traipsing doesn’t work well for tour busses). I find myself reflecting on where I have been and where I want to go. I have reset priorities in my life. I have discovered that experiences are the things that really stay with you. I have met wonderful, authentic individuals; many whom I now call a ‘friend.’ I have discovered that like when I am Ireland, I am enjoying taking the ‘path less travelled’. Sometimes you can get to where you want to be on a trail rather than an interstate.
The images that you are going see can be a bit, well, eclectic. I see a lot of Irish ‘tenacity’ reflected in many of my images. It is the flora growing out of stone or a partial, abbey wall … it shows that determination to grow where it can or to withstand the elements as long as possible. You will find images of high profile places, such as the Cliff of Moher and Blarney Castle. You will find the lesser known, such as Clara Vale and Fethard.
I do have a tendency to return to places. So, I ask for your patience as you see another image of Cahir Castle, Glendalough, or Newgrange. Many of these places were so unexpected, that I feel like I forgot something or want to try for a different camera angle. I also wonder if there is some validity to ‘genetic’ DNA … did I have an ancestor that once walked in that area. Is that what calls me back?
Each image was an experience. Something caught my attention, like a December patch of shamrocks in Glendalough or the sun shining a grove of trees after a light shower in Dalgan Park. Each image is a memory. It reminds me of people, places and times.
We all travel for different reasons … to different places. Mine just happens to be Ireland. This page is a glimpse of my experiences; my memories captured in a camera lens.
This is simply … My Ireland.
Thank you for stopping by. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email (TravelbyLeanne@gmail.com). As always, have a great day!