While On the Road in Ireland

There are always aspects of each trip that do not fit in with other blog entries or lack the substance to fill out an entry of their own. A lot of them are goofy and have nothing to do with the trip or the country I am in, just kind of a universally comical experience. Some of them are just moments of gratitude and calm. Enjoy the miscellany.

Spreaghad
We named this sheep in Irish for “Encouragement” and he was our spirit guide on the trip. Any time my friend got nervous about driving or going out into the ocean on a boat, or we got frustratingly lost or stressed out, he cheered us on. If Spreaghad says you can do it, you can do it, and he says you can!

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Clonmacnoise and the Baby Cows Blockade
Speaking of getting frustratingly lost, there was one night where we went to the Clonmacnoise ruins but did not get there until after dark. We had a really creepy encounter with someone and it was way out in the woods so we took off like bats out of hell. We had just taken a breath of relief, when all of the sudden we were greeted with several pairs of eyes in the pitch black. We needed this laugh.

 

Attention to Details
It really is the small details that make magic happen. Our stay at the Clontarf Castle was absolutely magickal and everything from their handcarved furniture to their door hangers was tailored perfectly to suit the castle.

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Naps
Sneaking in a nap at any possible opportunity is vital during cross-country or multiple-destination tours. The train from Belfast down to Dublin provided just the right level of noise and movement to lull us to sleep.

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Street Art
Checking out the local art scene’s taste is always an exciting part of any trip but it is always better when you find things you can relate to, or that resonate somehow. And once again some things are just universally funny.

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Music
We were shockingly hard-pressed to find some authentic, live Irish music during our cross country trip. Admittedly we did not stay out super late very often but I suppose we had just expected to hear it blasting from every corner. One of our hosts owns a Trad House and was kind enough to give us a backstage tour, play some of his own music, and invited us to sing a few of our own. He gave us lessons in playing the bones also, and my friend found a pair she liked.

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The Obligatory Photo Taken From The Plane Photo

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Local Politics
Even though Ireland has been relatively peaceful for the last decade, tensions are still stirring. Many neighbourhoods have made signs and do not hold back about their beliefs. Brexit dominated the headlines on local papers and the news channel and radio stations held open discussions, many callers in a panic. Despite this, there was never a moment when we were questioned or instigated to discuss our personal opinions on the matter and we did not witness any hostility among others in mixed crowds.

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Creepy Building in Tullycross
I was not able to gain any back story on this building, and the fact we were fleeing from a hurricane in a remote village with no living people in sight did make thing seem even more grim.

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The Pigeon God of St. Stephen’s Green
In Dublin’s most famous park there is a man who was putting on an elaborate pigeon show for over an hour. He conducts them into various formations and moves them from one location to the next. At his command, they step into circles, or climb up onto a spectator’s shoulder. He says they do not belong to him. Some things you just can not explain.

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Breaking the Rules
Absolutely no photos are allowed INSIDE the Book of Kells room, which is more like protecting darkness from light, but whatever.

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Fancy Decorations
The floor tiles of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral are simply gorgeous. One reason I love visiting historic sites is to admire the amount of detail that goes into the architecture and decor.

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Universal Comedy
This was hanging up on the concierge counter and made me laugh a little too loud.

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Insomnia Cafe
That one store or cafe you keep revisiting, but it does not exist where you live. You get back home dreaming of just one more sip, and find yourself at 2 am one night trying to order some on the internet. But you can’t.

Insomnia Hot Chocolate

Moments of Peace
While not religious, there was something incredible about entering Saint Patrick’s Cathedral right as they began their daily prayer and hearing the words recited in unison, as they had for centuries, echo around us in the chamber.

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