As I have been boasting for months, I went to Ireland.
I wish I could bring everyone to the tiny island and have you experience it as I did; unfortunately, I can only offer stories and pictures...neither of which will do Ireland justice.
During our stay, we packed as much as possible into six days. I feel the best way to blog about the trip is to present a brief overview and leave the best experiences to become entire blogs themselves.
We hit the major sites on the west coast that were near by. We stood in awe at the Cliffs of Moher, we are dumbfounded by the various Neolithic tombs, we explored (with great reverence) several monastic ruins, and frolicked in the Atlantic Ocean on Achill Island.
We usurped the culture by frequenting every pub we could find, we chatted with the locals and understood almost everything they said, and we learned Irish drinking songs and joined in jovially with 50 or so Irishmen with "Soldiers Song."
We discussed politics with Tom and listed to folk tales from Mick. We drove on the left side of the road in the right side of the car. We braked for random sheep that happened to be in the road. We marvelled at the fact that people still use thatched roofs.
We took the train to Dublin (against all of the advice of our dear Irish friends), we trespassed in some one's farm land to find unexplored territory. We hiked half a mile in the rain and sleet so see a grave from a time before the bronze age.
We were blown away on the beach and Katie was called a 'Spice Girl.' We ate some of the best food of our lives and made countless U turns. We saw the Book of Kells which was authored and illustrated in 800 AD. We witnessed the rivalry between Scotland and Ireland on the eve of a big rugby match.
We made a friend in Galway who introduced us to the Bierhaus (a truly excellent find!). We collectively tried mussels (some for our first time) and loved them! We pet an Irish sheepdog (well, I did), and visited the Guinness brewery.
We danced a jig with 80 year old men and saw the most breath-taking sights one could imagine. We wandered in a working Abby and witnessed the most beautiful choral singing from within. We visited several graveyards and went on countless scenic routes.
We learned about the hardships of Ireland and experienced how the people have persevered and thrived. We sang, and drank, and danced. We had the time of our lives.