Ireland Memories

Last winter I made a decision to go to a new place every year. Foreign or domestic doesn’t matter just a new place. In keeping with my tradition of schemes I talked my parents into going with me on my first trip. It was unforgettable, breathtaking, fascinating, intriguing, an on and on. it was my first time across any ocean by plane or boat. My first foreign trip. My first time in Ireland. A first for a lot of items. I am not much of  journal keeper but I found myself scribbling flashes as the days went by, moments where the thoughts in my brain lined out arrow straight and shot from thought to fingers to pen.

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Looking out the window of my plane I wonder what excuse we have to know our country and our world so poorly. I have only been in a handful of states that we have flown over. Even less familiar are the huge stretches of ocean between my countries Eastern seaboard and Ireland. This is the first time I have flown over an ocean, let alone seen one. I can understand, even from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, why the massive stretches of blue sang a siren song to so many. And why so many answer that call. I want to meander through the states of my home land and look out across the oceans from a ship and walk in the countries of other men and women. It’s in my plans to do so, but first, Ireland.

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We landed in Shannon at 10am in the morning and then made our way, without luggage, to the car rental. Then we went into “Shannon town,” as the locals seemingly call it, to buy a spare set of clothes due to the missing belongings and then some groceries as well. We  already navigated Irish roundabouts aplenty and to be honest, they are easier to survive than their Seattle cousins which are tiny imitations and all the more treacherous for their size and the general angst of American drivers. The low rolling accent is unfamiliar to our ears, a soft purr rather than the loud clipped American accent we are known for.  But I’m distracted by the green that gleams at every glance and the casual beauty of the land. Not perfection, just simple grace and strength as the grass and the shrubs and the rocks meld to create this place.

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It’s hot. Hotter than usual according to the concierge who checked us in at Adare Villa 9. But amidst the strangeness of left side driving, accents, lost luggage, and parental drama is a calmness that begs you to relax and partake in something different and new even if only for a week.

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In the morning’s early hours dawn’s light creeps steadily through my window as does the lulling call of cattle. Outside my window, mist rolls across the ground, a cloaking blanket begging to be walked in. The air is still as the evening cool brushes against the windows. You would think the mist would soften the green that is Ireland, but it doesn’t. Rather, it enhances it. Sharpening the various tones of verdant and emerald into a stark contrast so  you can see them all with the clarity of a microscope. Everyone, excepting the animals, is quiet. Partly due to the time and partly out of respect for the peaceful arrival of day. A tranquil transition that would seem irreverent to interrupt.

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Standing on the top of Blarney Castle I am reminded of how young our country is. How childish in age it against the stones of this resolute remnant from another time. How many births, deaths, marriages, affairs, lies, fights, wars, peacetimes, has this castle seen? Let alone all of the other castles we have entered or perused. In Idaho, old log cabins dot the landscapes and blend with the sagebrush. Here in Ireland, stone rises from the turf spearing into the ocean blue sky. Who built them? Why? Some of those buildings have the answers provided and others lurk with air of mystery as they guard Ireland’s landscape. An unsubtle reminder of a long history and perhaps a mirror of the strength and determination possessed by the Irish people both then and now.

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Looking down into the crashing ocean I think that I could make my home here or somewhere like it. On the coast line with the gulls screaming and the ocean salt tainting the breeze. The Cliffs of Moher rise up into the sky and then simply end. the ocean below buffeting the stones and slowly wearing away, century by century gaining ground. I have lived in sage and desert, high mountains and lakes, snow and ice, but never have I lived in a rolling green like this. A green that is both soft in its gentle hills and bursting with energy as the ivy covers everything in its path. I could walk the hills and gaze at the ocean crashing its will upon the green. I could remain here, but I won’t. To much of the wanderer’s blood from my father I suppose. But I’ll be back even if not to stay.

 

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