STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Can you believe I still have my boarding pass? I found it tucked into my trip diary.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I'm lucky to have been to Ireland twice and have such great memories of time spent on that fair isle. The first visit was short, just a stopover on the way home from Italy and Greece; the other was a glorious three weeks of travel all around the country (literally). We picked up our little car right at the airport. Two young single enthusiastic Canadian gals, ready for adventure. Leo, the handsome young lad behind the desk asked where we were going and we described to him our plan to circle the country clockwise, missing only Northern Ireland (as it was not terribly safe in those days) ending back in Dublin. He was amazed at our plan, to travel that far and see that much. He pretty much told us we would never do it; to him that was an incredibly ambitious itinerary. I don't think he doubted our driving abilities, although perhaps he should have as I had just learned to drive a standard a few days before the trip and now was faced with driving on the opposite side of the road, and shifting with my left hand. In those days many Irish citizens had not travelled much further than their own villages or towns. Ireland is not that big- it's roughly the size of New Brunswick, and even though their highway system was not as advanced as North America's, we were pretty sure we would accomplish our travel plan with no problem. So we made him a bet which we were confident we would win (heck, we knew we had it in the bag!)  We told him we would faithfully trace our route each day on our map and when we got back, if we had accomplished what we set out to do, he and a buddy would take us out to dinner; if we failed, we would pay for the dinner. Of course, we had to get his phone number...
A favourite souvenir- my two Irish sheep, Padraig and Seamus
We had no trouble carrying out our plan, and what a time we had. We covered a lot of miles and saw so many beautiful sites- of course all my photos then were slides. (I really must figure out how to get them turned into digital images so I could share some with you.) There wasn't much that we missed. Highlights included the monastic ruins of Glendalough, a visit to a bird sanctuary on the Saltee Islands, a tour of Waterford Crystal (one of the best tours I've ever taken), castle tours in Cahir, Kilkenny, Blarney and Bunratty, driving the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, seeing the Rock of Cashel (ancient seat of the Kings of Munster), standing on the Cliffs of Moher and at Galway Bay at sunset, viewing the Book of Kells, buying Donegal tweed in Donegal, oh I could go on and on... I LOVE Ireland and I WILL get back there some day... We had fabulous weather, rarely encountering any rain, which was unusual. Two of the things we enjoyed the most (other than the fabulous scenery) were the music (of course!) and the place names. How could you not be amused with names like Sneen, Ballylicky, Gougan Barra, Ballynaboola, Killybegs, and the Knockmealdown Mountains? One name we kept hearing was Lisdoonvarna. Everyone kept telling us we HAD to go to Lisdoonvarna. We did eventually find it, a small village which we discovered is the location of the annual Matchmaking Festival! Seriously. Each year singles flocked there to be matched up with mates. Too bad we missed the festival by one week. We wanted to take home lots of wonderful souvenirs, but not husbands! (Oh- and yes we did get our dinner on our last night in Dublin, courtesy of Leo and his buddy Seamus. They were great guys- we wished we had had more time with them, they could have shown us more of Dublin.)
That three weeks was one of my best trips ever.  My dear friend Sandy, who we lost 5 years ago to cancer, was a wonderful friend and travelling partner, we had so many common interests. She is always on my mind each St. Patty's Day as I recall our shenanigans in Ireland. I'm listening to The Chieftains today, along with The Irish Descendants, Celtic Woman, and Celtic Thunder. I hope you are celebrating St. Patrick's Day in fine style with some good Irish music and maybe a pint or two. Sláinte!  Erin Go Bragh!

Peace,
Linda

"May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door." - Irish Blessing

7 comments:

Pamela Gordon said...

What a fun and memorable trip you and your friend had. I would love to go to Ireland. It's interesting that most people in the British Isles don't travel far at all in their own country but think nothing of going to France for a weekend. As you said it's the size of NB and one can do NB in a week and see the highlights. I also have 3 albums of photos of our trip to England/Scotland in '92. I've scanned some of them into the computer but would love to have them on DVD so they don't get lost. I think you can get slides converted to DVD. You should look into it before they get faded. Maybe Harvey's can do it. Lovely post Linda!

Dolores said...

So nice to hear you had a grand time of it. My youngest daughter is off to Ireland (via London) at the end of the month for about a year. She is doing the SWAP (student work abroad program) while her boyfriend goes to school.

GailM. said...

Happy St. Patrick's day Linda. Love your memories of Ireland. Just today, I purchased my air tickets to Ireland and Scotland. This fall, we'll be making our way around to see all the sights. Then we will take in a golf match in Glen Eagles.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What wonderful memories of your trips and friends. Love your little sheep, too. Blessings my friend!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Great memories of Ireland and happy ones to remember your friend.
I'm looking forward to the garden tour of Ireland I'm taking in June.

Jeanna said...

That sounds like a wonderful trip Linda and I appreciate you sharing this. I'm sure Sandy is raising a pint in honor of today and your memories!

Vee said...

Just circling round to see how the Note Card Party was going and stumbled on this St. Patrick's Day post. Loved reading about your grand adventure in Ireland.

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