Daily Archives: July 3, 2013

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad deal AND God’s country

Our first full day in Ireland, I was “late” to the bus.

Anyone who’s ever traveled with me can tell you this is a big deal. A very big deal. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad deal. I HATE being late, and I hate when late people end up costing me opportunities.

In reality we weren’t really late, but everyone else was early, so they hurried us along, which was fine except the only seats left on the bus were in the very back.

You know what happens in the back of the bus, right?

Yeah, we were the wild ones, I guess.

Break the ass with a ham

Break the ass with a ham

You can tell how wild we were by how much joy we took out of this sign on the back of the bus, which we would have never seen had we not been running on time (just later than everyone else) that first day.

Sandra and I are old travel buddies. 20 years of trips makes for an interesting friendship. This was our third vacation overseas together. Thankfully, we had Susan to point out this great emergency sticker disaster. It led to much laughter.

Irish Wolfhounds. Beautiful, but I think they were bored.

Irish Wolfhounds. Beautiful, but I think they were bored.

BUT I still felt bad about being late—r than everyone else. And I felt bad because Sandra was sick. In fact, I felt a little like these guys (Irish Wolfhounds), stars of our first stop: Kerry Bog Village.

Kerry Bog Village is one of those places that shows how life used to be. No actors, but the houses, tools and flowers were cool. It was raining when we got there, so I ran into one of the villager houses.

Peat fire!

Peat fire!

My first choice was a great one because a peat fire was burning and that Irish rain is freaking cold.

I’ve always heard about how stinky peat is. WRONG. It was lovely. A little smokier than wood, but a good kind of smoke. I could definitely live with peat fire on a regular basis.

4 dont throw out baby with the bathwater

Once I got warm I turned around. What I saw made for a laugh out loud moment. I guess maybe I should’ve known the origin of the saying “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” I didn’t. Now I do.

All the Kerry Bog Village houses had the horseshoe on the door for luck. It’s interesting how many cultures put something on their doors. One day I might research the history of these totems. Maybe.

The rain stopped and then started and then stopped and then…you get the picture. If you go to Ireland, make sure you take an umbrella or be willing to walk around wet and cold. Thankfully, my trusty umbrella was with me constantly.

5 peatPeat was piled outside the village house like we would stack wood. I thought that was interesting. I also loved the tools and pots and pans outside the house.

Yes, I know. Flowers and pretty pretties.

Yes, I know. Flowers and pretty pretties.

While I wandered around the village, I couldn’t help but admire the gorgeous foliage. I took 5 bajillion pics of flowers. I won’t share them all. This one was interesting because of the wheel. I wonder if villagers would actually leave the wheels propped up against shrubs or if I fell victim to a staged picture point. If this was a staged picture point, I’m cool with that. It’s pretty. I like pretty.

After about 20 minutes I left the village. It’s definitely one of those tourist trap type places. But, hey, I’m a tourist, so that’s fine. Still, it’s not an in-depth look at life in Ireland.   20 minutes is more than enough time to make your way through the place. (I stand corrected. If we had more time there, I might have noticed how historically accurate it was!)

It’s a nice stopping off point early on the Ring of Kerry Drive.

Homesick moment

Homesick moment

While waiting on everyone else to finish looking at the village or to get their Irish coffees (the sign on their shop said they served Ireland’s Best Irish Coffee. I didn’t try it there, so I don’t know the veracity of that statement), I wandered around the parking lot and ran into this scene. It made me a tiny bit homesick because it looked like Texas, only super green because of all the rain.

But just a tiny bit homesick because I was in Ireland! I never really planned on a trip to Ireland. England and France were on my bucket list from the time I was a teenager. One of my students wanted to go to Ireland, though, and EF made that option possible (Thank you, EF Tours!). I’d been to England, France and Italy already. The student who wanted to go to Ireland had been on one trip with me already, and one of my friends who traveled with me to England and France told me Ireland was God’s country. My student who wanted to go to Ireland loved being there from the time we landed at Shannon airport. I liked it alright, but at this point, I still ranked Paris as my all time favorite city.

8 a hint of what's to comeAnd then as we continued on the Ring of Kerry drive, I saw this.

Before long I knew my friend was right. Ireland is sacred. It’s beautiful. It’s awe inspiring. It truly is God’s country.