April 7, 2011 by travelingsole

I love to travel. How many people have you heard say that? Well, I love to travel internationally. That’s why I have about 2 shillings  to rub together. The international travel started in 2008 when I went to Kenya for a month to visit one of my brothers. It continued in 2009 with a 5 day trip to Mexico. That trip was free. I had a voucher for a free domestic flight. So I flew to San Diego (beautiful city that I want to revisit someday) and someone from the mission in Mexico picked me up at the airport. In 2010 I made two trips. One to Guatemala and Belize and the other to Ireland. I have two international trips planned for 2011.  Like I said I love to travel.

I just bought tickets to return to Ireland for a wedding. I wonder if this wedding qualifies as a destination wedding. Probably not since the bride is from Ireland. But the groom is from Poland or America depending on how you look at it.

My traveling mates for my return trip to Ireland are the Bek(cc)a(h)s. That is easier to say than to write. The Bek(cc)a(h)s. Bekah and Becca. They are both friends from Faith Builders (where I did a collective 14 month stint). We haven’t really discussed what we plan on doing in Ireland. Obviously we are going to the wedding but there are 3 complete days, 24 hours each day, 72 hours total, to do touristy things.

The first time I was in Ireland, only 5 months ago, I went to Hook Lighthouse, twice. An amazing place but I don’t want to pay another 10 Euros to stand on the top of a lighthouse. The first day I was on Hook Point there was 60-70 mph winds and 10-15 foot waves. I would love to take the Bek(cc)a(h)s to Hook Point. They can get the lighthouse tour, which is actually really cool because the place was built in the 14th century, and I will go down to the cliffs and watch the waves. And maybe just maybe I will see my little seal friend again

Photo credit – Matt Gingerich

The second cool thing I did was go on “The Cliff Walk” in Dunmore East. In Ireland I fell in love. With the sea. The friends I was visiting always their guests on a walk along the Irish Sea coast (only a 5 minute drive to get there). Free by the way. There is a path along the top of the cliffs. It sounds dangerous but it’s quite safe and absolutely gorgeous. The grass is Ireland is greener than the calendar pictures. The stereotypical picture of Ireland is crashing waves, rocky cliffs, and green grass. The cliff walk is exactly that. We spent hours just watching the waves crash into the cliffs. The grass is as soft as a goose-down pillow. Because of all the wind the grass roots have to be massive, making the grass springy. I actually jumped on it like a trampoline.

In the distance you can see the Hook Lighthouse ^

Next is shopping. There is a little market in the center of Waterford. Cobblestone streets and open air booths. Fresh breads. Fresh scones with jelly. Really good coffee. Cool little book shops. Second-hand stores with beautiful cheap scarves. One thing you have to watch out for is the conversion rate from Euros to dollars. You see the price tag says 10 € but that’s $14.34.

Also there is Blarney Castle. Have you heard about the Blarney stone? They say that if you kiss the Blarney stone you will be blessed with the gift of the gab. That does not sound like a pleasant gift for your friends if you start talking non-stop, but it actually means you receive great eloquence or the skill of flattery. It was no small task to kiss this legend stone. First, you have to hike 200 very narrow spiral steps. The steps are wide enough for half of your foot and the passage is about 3 feet wide. It’s a maze. I now know why it was such a blessing for the ladies of days gone by to have dainty feet. After hiking the 200 steps you get to the stone. But the elusive stone is not set up on a decorative pedestal for you to kiss and be on your way. No, that would be too easy. Of course, you have lean backwards over the edge 4-stories up. There is a gap between the floor and the wall. You have to sit on the edge and lean over backwards to reach the stone. To make it safe for tourists there are safety rails and a lovely little man that sits there with his feet dangling over the edge to hold people. He gives encouragements like “Kiss mon kiss”, and “It likes when you kiss it”. The stone is smooth from all the kisses. I guess you just hope the person(s) before you were healthy. It was raining that day so it was probably relatively sanitary.

Notice how wide the space is

Photo credit – Josh Nisley

In Ireland they drive on the wrong side of the road. Btw, why do we use that term because who’s to say that we Americans aren’t driving on the wrong side? Ok, they drive on the left and have right-hand steering cars that use petrol not gas. I wanted to try my hand at driving but most of their vehicles are manual and I’m not that great at manual especially not on the wrong side of the car. Another thing is that all Irish roads have hedges along them. Hedges are either stone walls or bushes. Most of the hedges are very, very old and it’s illegal to tear them down. It can be boring driving sometimes because you can’t see over the hedges.

So the final and most authentic thing that you need to do when you go to Ireland… you guessed it. Visit an Irish pub. Yes, I am a Mennonite girl and yes, I did say a pub. Scandalous? Not so much. I didn’t say you have to order a mug of Guiness but that’s up to you. If you go for lunch you are don’t have to deal with the drunken singing. There will be a few fine sailors but you can easily avoid them. Jack Mead’s pub in Barristown, Ireland was my first authentic pub.

One sign said John Meade the other said Jack… ^
I am very excited about going back to Ireland. I’m not sure where we will go in our 72 hours of touristy time. That depends on funds and opportunities. I am open to suggestions, mostly from the Bek(cc)a(h)s, but I would be open to ideas from you. One thing I will insist on doing is spending some time at the cliffs and the harbor. The sea is awe inspiring. It is so many colors and constantly moving and gorgeous.

I love the sea. I love Ireland. I love traveling. I love the world. The whole world is beautiful.


4 thoughts on “Ireland

  1. Becca says:

    karli has a blog!! mercy, july can’t come fast enough. i asked esther if she thought tearing calendar pages off would speed up the process, and she begged me to try. 🙂 um, i think i’ll pack some heat in the form of lysol when we visit the legendary blarney castle… i can’t wait to TRAVEL with you!

  2. EJ says:

    Did you say a pub? The High Kings song “Irish Pub” is running through my head. It’s not scandalous and it’s an experience I’d love to have. Mom and Dad are going there sometime this summer but that’s one thing they probably won’t do.

    • 🙂 Yes I did say a pub. Your parents would be fine going to a pub. It’s kinda like a little cafe that serves alcohol too but you know so does the Cheesecake Factory. So cool that your parents get to go. Are they going for AMA?

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