Ireland is the land of my dreams. I felt as though I’d been there before, because I’d always dreamed it existed. As a former Irish dancer, this trip held special significance to me. I finally understood the context and traditions behind the sport I pursued for seven years! This trip was also significant because my mom and I were able to meet up and travel together the whole time! Below is a loose itinerary of the places we visited and the memories we made there. I apologize in advance for the exorbitant amount of pictures. Ireland made me camera happy. IMG_3769
I arrived in Dublin on the eve of St. Patrick’s day! Although I didn’t reach my hotel until midnight, the party was far from over. Irish people love to dance, play music, drink, and celebrate. This St. Patrick’s day was one for the books! After the city calmed down the next morning, we headed out to see the sights. First, we saw the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels that was handcrafted in Ireland around 750AD. I was in total awe of the attention to detail and painstaking craftsmanship. Next, we jumped on a Hop-on-Hop-off bus, where we saw various landmarks such as the Guiness Factory, the historical prison, and the president’s residence. The night culminated in an IRISH DANCE SHOW with live music! I couldn’t stop tapping along with my feet under the table. Take a look at the video I previously posted for a glimpse at the performance. I was one happy camper when I fell into bed that night.IMG_3750IMG_3728IMG_3714IMG_3773IMG_3671IMG_3660
The next morning we woke up bright and early and said goodbye to Dublin’s fair city. We boarded our guided train tour bound for the West coast. First, we stopped in Cork (pictured below) which was the last port the Titanic docked in before embarking on its tragic journey across the Atlantic. It is the port from which nearly 2 million people emigrated to America after the Great Potato Famine.  I can just imagine them crowded onto ships, waving goodbye to their loved ones, watching as the church spire (pictured below) faded from view- the last glimpse of their homeland, never to be seen again by many.

IMG_4172IMG_3929IMG_3910IMG_3895The Blarney Castle
This was one of my favorite stops, because I got to kiss the Blarney stone! Blarney is an old English word for nonsense, but I’m not quite sure why the name was assigned to this particular castle stone! Regardless  I kissed that stone real good,because it is said to bless you with the gift of eloquence. No wonder I can never stop talking…

Cliffs of Moher
Perhaps Ireland’s most well known landmark, these slate-rock cliffs do not fail to deliver! My mom and I spend the afternoon walking along the precarious edge, lounging in the grass, and listening to the seagulls squawk. I couldn’t have asked for better weather or better company.

IMG_4236IMG_4219IMG_4212IMG_4204IMG_4184IMG_4257The Ring of Kerry
The 179 km route through County Kerry is truly God’s masterpiece. I’ve never seen a more unique, arresting landscape, and I doubt I ever will again. Wild sheep grazed in the hills, gentle fog hung over the sea, and green pastures met sharp drop offs. Neither the pictures nor my words really do it justice!

See that face? ^ That’s the face of one content lass. Not only did Ireland impress me, but I was blown away by the friendliness of the Irish people. They coined the term Open Book. I had conversations with taxi drivers, strangers on the train, concierges, etc. who divulged their entire life story before telling me their name! They have a contagiously sunny disposition, and welcome you to their country with open arms. I know they’re supposed to be the lucky ones, but I left feeling luckier than ever. Have a great week friends!

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