Dan’s Motherland: Ireland

Dan’s Motherland: Ireland

The grass really is greener in Ireland, both literally and figuratively.

Being a proud Irish-American from Chicago, I always held Ireland in a high regard. I pictured “a thousand shades of green” rolling countryside, the most-friendly people in the world, and live Irish music while drinking pints of Guinness in the crowded wooden pubs. It was all that and more. You never hear about food in Ireland, I think most people just assume its similar to London, but I have to say that Ireland has some of the best stews I’ve ever tasted and well as the best fish and chips in coastal towns.

Ireland is just a magical place, that’s the only way I can describe it. The locals still believe in fairies and I’m not joking, and how could you blame them when you see lucky charms rainbows outside of your window everyday.

It has a certain energy about it that you just have to experience, especially if you have Irish roots I strongly encourage you to get there you won’t be disappointed.

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We rented a car at the Dublin airport and stayed in the city the first night. Great city, great bars, but we were there for the country so we called it an early night and started driving first thing in the morning. I was super excited to show Stephanie the ring of Kerry, its one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever done in my life.  We found an Airbnb in Killarney and set-up shop there. We spent the next two days driving the ring of Kerry, hiking and exploring the many parks of Killarney, and visiting the city of Dingle to track down a dollar bill my family left on the wall of a bar two years ago. (The place had changed owners and our dollar bill is probably floating around a strip club somewhere). We enjoyed Dingle so much we decided to stay there one night at a bed and breakfast where we shared travel stories with a family around the fireplace in the community living room. I mean, how can you not love a town who has a resident dolphin named Fungie that lives in the bay and people visit by boat for the last 30 years?  They even have a statue in the center of town and stores named after him!

We had planned on heading north to Galway, stopping at the Cliffs of Moher along the way, but we got some bad news from home. Ozzy, our 6-year-old bull mastiff whom our family was watching, needed to have a life-threatening emergency surgery. We made the decision to fly home on the next flight we could find, which was the following morning.

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We took the Shannon ferry across the water and drove the rest of the way to the cliffs. As we walked the edges together I remembered why this was my favorite place in the world and I had my wife by my side to experience it with me.

We said a prayer for Ozzy and made the drive back to Dublin for our flight the following morning. We had panned on doing four more days exploring Northern Ireland but that can wait, Ozzy couldn’t. We got to spend his last two days with him before he passed and for that we are grateful. We will return to Ireland someday to complete the northern half and we know there will be a special someone walking along side of us.

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