I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve seen wonderful sights and experienced enlightening adventures. I’ve met engaging folks. Yet, there is always a caveat:  In Greece (know- it- alls); Spain (pesky gypsies); Italy (snooty hotel clerks); England (cynics); Germany (materialists); France (flashers); Mexico (dangers); Tangiers (beggars); Jamaica (limited freedom beyond gated compounds.)  Yet, in Ireland, I found no bums, no cheats, no panhandlers, no exhibitionists, no US policy bashers, and no superior attitude.  What we discovered was the friendliness and the hospitality of the Irish. And good beer!

Our itinerary was a streak through the countryside since the duration of our trip spanned only five nights. We drove ourselves using a stick shift, covering a multitude of miles, alongside many stone walls. We lodged at a variety of accommodations. Here’s the route in a nutshell: landed in Dublin (The Book of Celts at Trinity University & The Guinness Storehouse); spent first evening at Cabra Castle (charming); second night at Ashford Castle ( most posh) and took boat trip to St Patrick’s island of banishment (worth price);

saw Cliffs of Moher (astounding);

stayed at Bunratty Castle Hotel ( nice spa), attended  a medieval banquet dinner show at the 15th century Bunratty Castle & Folk Park (Irish harp music and singing);

rode around picturesque Ring of Kerry (felt like I was in the movie Ryan’s Daughter) and spent night at B&B Alderhaven in Killarney ( kind couple); then returned to Trinity College environs (fascinating National Gallery) and stayed at Alexander Hotel (spiffy).

You know that expression: Stuck between a rock and a hard place? In Ireland, we often found ourselves nestled between a rock wall and a Mack truck!  That is when we weren’t lost on detours and two- lane paths! Shoulda not been so cheap and paid extra for GPS.  Signage is not an Irish strength! And, the manual drive was another frugality I should not have given in to!

I want to go back.  I like the Irish and their yellow butter. I never tired of seeing ancient abbeys, stone outcroppings, Celtic Crosses, or endless coastline. Yet, I must add a disclaimer:  My g-g-g grandmother Carbery was of Irish descent. Ergo, perhaps I felt a wee bit of down- in- the -bones kinship with The Emerald Isle.

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