Sunday, March 07, 2010

Back to Ireland

It had been a couple of years since I had last been back to Ireland. It felt like I was coming home the moment I stepped out of the airport to grab a cab down to the River Liffey.

First order of business was to get over to Grafton Street and just soak in the scene there.

Felt so great to see the double-decker yellow buses zooming past the old Dublin pubs.

It was getting close to Christmas (yes I'm way behind) and Gaelic signs were sprinkled throughout the city.

Had to make it over to Costa Coffee - a mandatory stop in Europe for me.

And of course, Temple Bar. As I walked in, there was a local acoustic trio banging out "Whiskey in the Jar" from the stage. Goodness.

They do love their spirits.

Also made it out to Howthe, which is about an hour north of Dublin. It's a beautiful little fishing town.

The scenes that play out here are spectacular. The poet W.B. Yeats lived up on this hill for a few years in the late 1800s.

Malahide Castle is a tucked away gem. Parts of this castle date back to the 12th century.

The hikes around Howthe lead to some majestic sites: like this one.

And of course - the Guinness. This stuff will touch your soul fresh off the tap. Really.

The west coast of Ireland is a must see. I stayed in County Mayo, which is an incredible and breathtaking place.

Here's a typical cottage in County Mayo. Wonderful place to go for some peace of mind.

Lots of livestock freely roaming the land. Herder is on the far right.

And tons of sheep. Rumor has it that for every 1 person in Ireland, there are 3 sheep.

Went to visit this abandoned village at Achill Island, where people had settled somewhere between 500 - 1200 AD.

Only a small percentage of the stone houses still remain, and it's estimated that settlers finally left the land between 1850 - 1890 during the great famine.

Despite the only inhabitants being sheep at this point, it was amazing to get an up close look at the village and see where these people used to live for centuries.

It's a pretty wild feeling to stand inside of one of these things and think that people used to live their lives out here. Hundreds of years ago.

Snuck into a pub on the way out of Achill Island (Guinness anyone?), and caught a snapshot of the old Irish currency, pre-Euro.

Could really picture myself retiring out at a spot like this. Then again, that's a ways out. Just speaks to how amazing this place is though.

Despite the fact that it was freezing (even colder than Boston), the cliffs of County Mayo are a sight to behold.

All in all, another incredible trip. Until next time Ireland.

No comments: