Three weeks, three of us touring around mainly the coastal regions of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. During that time we were able to see so much of the beautiful countryside, staying mostly to the small, narrow, winding roads I’ve already described. We felt it gave us a much clearer view of the landscape, the people, the culture. It’s definitely a land of green, made more noticeable after the starkness of our time in Iceland. The verdant surroundings greeted us everywhere….rolling hills, pastures, hedgerows, trees. The on again off again weather, changing it seemed multiple times a day, with no shortage of soft rains and some heavy ones. Like home, there would be no green without them.
We managed to see more than our share of Game of Thrones sites, which fortunately for me, the one who’s never seen nor read any of it, they were gorgeous places all on their own. We’ve passed field after field, filled with herds of sheep and cattle, sometimes with horses or a few donkeys. They constantly created a patchwork which was soothing to the eye. The small villages were charming, especially with the gaily painted facades and doors, something I was not expecting. The colors brought life and fun as one came upon them, after “traffic calming in 400 meters”. The unusual street signs amused us, as we became accustomed to them.
We saw so many ancient ruins, castles, battle sites, Neolithic remnants, medieval places, cliffs, islands…more than I can recount here. They all made the long and varied history of this land come alive. And while they were amazing and memorable being able to see and stay with our dear friends was even more so. They made our connection to this land so much more substantial.
Through all this Kevin was our master driver and Mandy our incredible navigator. Me? I mostly tallied. I’ve become a fan of Mandy’s wish to count various things as we traveled. It made me so much more focused as I gazed out the car window. During this trip we drove 2,785 km or 1,730 miles, went through 175 roundabouts, over 36 one lane bridges, saw 114 tractors on the road, passed 420 pubs, saw 9 waterfalls, 1,011 herds of sheep, 947 herds of cows and saw horses 138 times and hit the curb while driving on the left only 10 times.
All in all it was a tremendously memorable trip. I believe Mandy thinks so as well, as I want her to remember her 30th year well. I’m thrilled that Kevin agreed to join us on the adventure.
The kids have safely arrived in Scotland for their hike and I’m in Denmark, in Vejle to see my family. I most likely won’t blog much, if at all there, as it’s a trip solely to reconnect with loved ones. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed coming along with us on this journey and will join me on the next one, wherever that takes me.