During my previous life, (while a resident of Scotland, UK) I spent more than a few harrowing weekends in Belfast, Ireland. It wasn’t uncommon to return to a previously visited shop or nightclub, only to find the place reduced to a pile of rubble. And so it was with that thought, that returning to Ireland and the land of “The Troubles” was never high on my list. In a heartbeat I could rattle off five other countries that I’d rather visit.
However, when the opportunity arose for my husband to participate in a two-week golf outing, which included being part of the American team in a tournament, I did the good-wife-thing and hoped for the best. First rule of travel: Don’t hope for the best. Insure your successful travels with good research. Become familiar with the area you are visiting. Leaving things to chance assures you that at least half of your precious time will be wasted backtracking, or discovering that museums are not open on Mondays, or that the distance between locations is not relative to American distances traversed on reliable, straight roads.
Every country is interesting if you open your mind and work at not being the typical American who judges all things by American Standards. That is an exercise in frustration. In my travels I’ve heard more than a few Americans shouting loudly at the shop clerk “How much is that in real money?” So I steeled my usually prickly self to work at being tolerant of another country’s cultural complexities.
Ireland is steeped in history and much of the country remains relatively untouched – rural and wild. What the Irish consider the highlights of a particular area, might not be your cup of tea but there are gems and surprises to be found in the nooks and crannies of a country as old as this one is. However, the pristinely neat and clean country was more than refreshing. Ecologically mindful, plastic bags and bill boards are almost non-existent, smoking is banned almost everywhere, and the food was mouth-watering in presentation and delivery.
Our first week was spent on the east coast north of Dublin at the Portmarnock Golf Resort with our room facing the the Irish Sea. The city of Dublin is full of the most unusual architectural elements, many of which are quite modern such as the Aviva sports arena, which had us gasping with surprise. Click the link and see what I mean!
More about our trip and our visit to the West Country and the hunting estate called Mt. Falcon.
Sorry that we don’t have enough bandwidth to upload interesting photos…that will have to wait. But honestly now, who expected any bandwidth at all???