I just got to go on a two-week trip to Ireland with my husband, my sister and brother-in-law, and a couple from my hometown. It was an amazing trip, and I honestly still feel like I am recovering. I thought I would write a list of the many things I miss about Ireland, just to paint a picture of the country.
I will start by describing our trip. We started in Dublin with all six of us. We traveled to the southern part by way of Killkenny and Kinsale. Then James and I broke from the group and spent time in Clifden in the Connemara area above Galway. We shot back down to the Cliffs of Moher then drove back to Dublin where we cried because our trip was over.
It was a great trip and we had so much fun, and there are some things about Ireland that are significantly cooler and better than America. Without further ado, here is my list of things I miss from Ireland.
I didn’t really go to Ireland thinking the cheese was going to be all that great. But the truth is, you have not seen happy cows until you have gone to Ireland. Minus the mud and rain, these cows get to bask in the greenest pastures ever, which then makes for the best, creamiest cheese in the world. We all have been doing the cheese thing wrong in America.
Ireland is obviously known for its dark beer, which I think tastes like mild soy sauce, so I was not super excited about drinking Guinness the whole trip. What you may not know is that Ireland also has delicious ciders. Ciders that have been brewed for centuries. We Americans survive mostly off Angry Orchard if we want that tart, sweet brew, but in Ireland there will always be two beers on tap, a Guinness and some sort of long established tasty cider for us pansies who can’t handle the dark stuff.
The water, and therefore the bathrooms
I drink a lot of water, and after living in Plumas County for so long, I cannot handle any amount of chemical taste in my water. Ireland’s water passes my hydration test, which then made me have to go to the bathroom fairly frequently. Whatever, I was travelling, I didn’t want to be dehydrated.
The bathrooms in that country are top notch. It didn’t matter what kind of bathroom. It could be at a national park, or a gas station or a restaurant or the Cliffs of Moher flooded with tourists. They are the cleanest, nicest smelling facilities, with stalls all the way down to the floor that made me feel like I could really trust Ireland.
All the chunky sweaters! I love them. There is literally a wool shop on every corner, and they totally are there for sucker tourists like us who pay a crazy amount for a genuine Irish raised sheep’s wool sweater.
I feel no shame.
The random things on the side of the road
Like castles. So. Many. Castles. They have castles like we have barns, but the difference is, these historical artifacts are just open and waiting for whatever hoodlum to climb all over them. Hoodlums like us.
There was one point where we just kind of trudged through this soupy horse pasture to get to a monument at the top of the hill. It wasn’t even like we were breaking in. There was an arrow at the gate saying “Monument This Way,” with nothing else around. Based off the crazy mud and thorny bushes, the sign should have included “If you dare.”
We pulled over for a pilgrimage to the top of the mountain where St. Patrick banished the snakes. We pulled over to go 150 feet underground into a marble mine. We pulled over to fly drones at the top of mountains. No one cared.
It was just like one big playground and there is no one there to collect tolls or tell you no. It was crazy, and made for a great time.
Ugh. Irish music is so good. Every pub we went to had some super-talented musician or group of musicians playing quality tunes and folk songs. This was a big deviation from our karaoke nights in America.
My mouth still salivates from the amazing halibut I had in Kinsale and the best pot roast I’ve ever had in Clifden. Also, the restaurant service is so good. They follow all the rules that I totally forgot were a thing, like serving everything on the left side. The no-tipping thing is a myth, though. I got it straight from the horse’s mouth, if you are at a sit-down restaurant, tip 10 to 15 percent.
I really liked being there. It was just a great time with people I loved travelling with. I always wanted to go, and I was so happy with the pleasant surprises along the way. Overall, it was a great trip to the Motherland, and I highly recommend it. If you do go, take note of my list above. I bet you would love these things, too.