I’m about a week and a half into my return visit to Ireland and it’s official…I’m hooked. I was initially worried I put too much pressure on this trip. I remember my time here two years ago fondly, and I knew it would be hard to replicate. I arrived cautiously optimistic.As usual, there was nothing for me to worry about. My feelings are unchanged, and if anything I’ve fallen head over heels for this country. I think traveling solo allowed me to experience it a little differently this time.
Why do I love it so much? I’m not really sure. The people are definitely friendly, but I’m sort of used to that coming from the South. The food is fine. (Although, I am a hard-core fan of potatoes.) I’m not a beer lover and I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so it can’t be that.
If I had to make some guesses, I’m pretty sure the landscape would be at the top of my list. It’s breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and every other beautiful adjective you could think of to describe it. There is almost a spiritual quality to it. Now I am one of the least spiritual people around, but the land here has a peaceful and humbling feeling to it. I can and have spent hours just staring off into the distance admiring the view.
I am completely relaxed here. Usually, I am not a fan of doing nothing. I get bored easily, and I am always looking to fill up my days with some activity. I call it active relaxing, but in reality it’s exhausting. Not here. In Ireland I’m a lady of leisure. Napping in parks, long lunches, cycling the countryside...sign me up!
There is also a sentimental link to the past that permeates the cities and countryside. The people and buildings still have a strong connection to their history, and it gives a charm and warmth to the country. Basically, I walk around feeling nostalgic, even though I have no long-standing relationship with Ireland. I must add that nostalgia is my favorite feeling.
So, lets talk about the buildings. Lush landscaping, climbing ivy, thatch roofs, and just oozing with cute. Lots of the houses feel organic and connected to the land, especially in the countryside. I can go on about the vernacular architecture, but that’s for another more boring post.
Then there are the adorable town centers. The vibrant storefronts house cafes, pubs, clothing stores, or B&B’s. Throw in a ruined castle and Catholic Church and you have yourself the recipe for an Irish town. They have everything you could need or want on just a few streets. It’s simplicity done right.
I often am asked what is my favorite place that I’ve visited, and my response is usually…so far, it’s Ireland. It’s time to drop the “so far”. I know there are many cities and countries I have yet to see, but I don’t need or want a replacement. It may be one sided, but I don’t care. I’m in love.