TRAVEL: IRELAND – PART 1

In light of my previous post about the book P.S. I Love You, it seems appropriate to write about Ireland. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ireland so I’m planning on writing about it in two parts.

2007

I first visited Ireland in 2007 and I’ve been obsessed with the country ever since. Unfortunately we only had enough time to go to Dublin for the day, but we had enough time to take a quick tour to the countryside. On this tour, we went to the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow.

The gardens on the estate were absolutely beautiful! There were many different paths to take you to the different gardens and they all had so much character. I personally enjoyed seeing the many variations of roses. The house on the estate was used in the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo so you can imagine how spectacular it is.

After the tour, we went to O’Neill’s pub in Dublin. It’s an amazing pub that I’ve enjoyed going to every time I’m in Dublin. I actually don’t remember too much about my first time in Ireland, but pictures always spark memories for me. I really do have such an awful memory so I have to be sure to write everything in a journal while I’m travelling or I’m bound to forget.

 

2011

In 2011, I travelled through Europe with my dear friend, Christina. Some of our favourite memories are from our time in Ireland. We started in Dublin and it was definitely an interesting time to be in the city. The Queen was visiting Dublin and, if you know much about Ireland’s history, you’ll understand why tension was a bit high. IMG_1121Despite the high security, we had a great time in Dublin. We ate lots of good pub food and I enjoyed many a pint of Guinness. IMG_1156

Using Dublin as our home base, we did a day trip to Northern Ireland. I had always wanted to visit Giant’s Causeway and I wasn’t disappointed. IMG_1268It’s well worth your time to go visit the Giant’s Causeway. There’s lots to explore and the rock formations are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Most of the rock columns are perfect hexagons, although some squares, pentagons, heptagons, and octagons can also be found. The scientific explanation for these columns are that they’re a result of an ancient volcanic eruption, but according to the legend, they are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. Here’s a shortened version of the story:

Finn is having trouble with someone across the water. The Scottish giant Benandonner is threatening Ireland. An enraged Finn grabs chunks of the Antrim coast and throws them into the sea. The rock forms a path for Finn to follow and teach Benandonner a lesson.

Bad idea – Benandonner is terrifyingly massive. Finn makes a hasty retreat, followed by the giant, only to be saved by our hero’s quick-thinking wife who disguises him as a baby. The angry Scot, seeing the baby, decides if the child is that big, the daddy must be really huge and flees, destroying the path behind him.

Which explanation do you think is true?

We also had the chance to visit the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The rope bridge connects the mainland to the small island of Carrickarede. That was my first time seeing the cliffs along the Antrim coast. It really is such a beautiful area of the world.

Derry was the last stop on our Northern Ireland tour. I had never thought about going there to visit, but it’s a city full of history. Derry is the only completely intact walled city in Ireland. This is also a city that was full of tribulation due to the Irish War of Independence. The war between the IRA and the British forces took place from 1919-1921. If you’re not aware of all that went on during that time, you should look it up. I think that tension is still high within the city, but it’s nothing compared to how it was before. Even the city’s name causes disputes. To the Catholics it’s “Derry” and to the Protestants it’s “Londonderry”. I’m sure that’s not true for everyone, but I believe that’s often the case. There’s a sculpture by Maurice Harron that you see as you enter the city. It’s called Hands Across The Divide and it expresses hope for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. With hands reaching out to one another, it’s a powerful scene.

 

Check back next week for my post about my two favourite places in Ireland: Galway and Dingle!

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