“I would move to Ireland tomorrow if I could,” was the first thing my daughter said to me as she emerged from the “Arriving Passengers” doors at JFK airport last night.
I was so happy to hear those words, but I knew it was more complex than that. Yes, she had had an amazing time and says that Ireland is everything she hoped it would be, but she also felt sad about returning to a place she isn’t particularly fond of…Long Island…for many reasons.
But before we get to those reasons, allow me to share some of the highlights of her trip as I promised you (my followers) I would.
First stop: The Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs are a phenomenal natural wonder along the central western coast of Ireland and are a must-see much like our Grand Canyon. This was her first day on the road.
First Day, continued: Doolin is the town she selected to stay in overnight after her visit to the Cliffs of Moher.
We thought it would be just a small stopover with not much to see. As it turned out, Monday nights are when the “locals” come out to hear traditional music, so she hit the jackpot. She ended up spending three nights there (because the ferry to the Aran Islands was not running one day due to inclement weather), and all three of the nights she was able to hear great Irish music in nearby pubs.
Second Day: The Aran Islands. The original plan was to go to the big island, Inishmoor, spend the night there and then visit the smaller island on the return trip to Doolin. The revised plan (due to the bad weather) allowed her to spend only one night on Inishmoor and a day she spent cycling ’round the island before returning to Doolin.
Fourth Day: On to Connemara. Part of the day was spent wandering around The Burren, again experiencing the rocky natural wonders of this part of the west coast.
Then she continued on to the coast of Connemara on the road known as the Sky Road. She said the scenery was stunning along the way. From Connemara, which I remembered as very bucolic, green and wild, she sent a text saying, “Mom, Connemara is as beautiful as you said it would be. ” I was so relieved to know that nothing had changed and that she loved it as much as I had forty-five years ago.
Once she arrived at her destination, she took the opportunity to ride a horse for the first time in her life. Her trusty steed was named Henry; she rode him for three hours on the beach and has the black and blue marks on her legs to prove it!
Time to leave Connemarra and head to Galway where she would drop off her rental car and take the bus to Dublin. She was not enamored of the cities of Galway and Dublin, preferring the vast expanse of sky and mountains on the western coast.
However, she did manage to make some planned stops in Dublin. At the Museum of Archaeology in Dublin she got to see the Bog People, a people who were buried in the bogs during the Iron Age, most of whom died very violent deaths.
Next she visited the Museum of Natural History where she saw tons of artifacts of all types, including “her people,” the anthropoid apes.
My daughter, you see, is a passionate physical anthropologist.
Last, but not least, a visit to the Guinness brewery which she found disappointing in its modernity and antiseptic ambiance. She did, however, enjoy a pint!
All in all, she had a great trip with many great encounters and experiences. Now, about her feelings about returning home….
Long Island, you see, just doesn’t offer the access to nature that she so craves, nor the handsome lads of Ireland, nor the excellent traditional music, nor the bustling pubs,…. You get the picture. The only solution, to move there!