I’m on a plane back from Ireland. It honestly feels as though in the time it took me to take one breath, the last 8 days flew by.
It was during a meditation one morning a few weeks ago with one of my new friends that I met on Periscope Anita Wing Lee , that this trip was born. During the meditation we closed our eyes and she told us to imagine stepping into our ultimate travel destination. I actually wasn’t sure what mine even was. Santorini had always been it, and now I had checked that off my list.I had my journal with a list of my top places, but I didn’t know where to go next. When I closed my eyes I pictured myself on a cobblestone path that led to a forest. I couldn’t see myself in the image, just the ground passing beneath me. The land around me was beautiful and green. I realized after a few minutes that I needed to go to Ireland.
After we meditated on this image for a while and I convinced myself that I was actually there (the power of manifestation is so great) She asked us to think of one small step we could take towards our next travel goal. I knew which pockets of time I had free, and I had the frequent flier miles to make it happen, but I had become so overwhelmed with the things that had piled up, since I had the heart of a traveler, but the life of someone incredibly situated. When she asked what small step I could take I realized that ALL I had left to do was book the flight.When you calm your mind even for a few minutes, you’ll see so many things you may have overlooked. You’ll also realize most of the time that the “huge” issues you’ve been stressing over aren’t so huge at all.. they may not even be issues. Silver lining, where are you? I know you’re there!
My mom has traveled to Ireland before, so I told her that when I decided to go I would call her in the off-chance that she might want to come with me. At this point I had decided to leave my apartment in LA in 12 days for the adventure and fly straight to Boston for the camping trip I go on with my mom in Maine every summer. I had a feeling it might be a bit too spontaneous for her to agree to so quickly, but then most of my ideas for adventures have people laughing, shocked, or totally confused. I was so excited when she said she would come with me! She knew the country far better than I could from reading websites and travel blogs, and she offered to rent a car and drive me in a loop around the southern part of Ireland. Amazing news. Thanks mom!
My mom would fly in from Boston and I would leave from LA and we would meet at the Dublin airport. The plan was as follows:
8/4 Dublin —> 8/5 Northern Ireland (For the Game of Thrones Filming Location Tour) —>8/6 Kilkenny—> 8/7 Cork —> 8/7 Killarney —> 8/9 Limerick —> 8/10 Galway —> 8/11Dublin —> Home
When I got to the airport I heard bagpipes playing and there was a lot of commotion. I realized that I was arriving at the airport at the exact same time as the athletes from the special olympics, (which was crazy since I had been at the opening ceremonies in Los Angeles a week earlier and seen the same team not far away from me.) There were hundreds of people waiting outside the door to greet them upon their return. There were two doors that lead into the airport from our terminal. The athletes would go out one, and the rest of us were directed to another door so we wouldn’t accidentally end up in a parade. I was the first one out the door, at the same time they opened the other door for the athletes. Even though I knew the cheers weren’t for me it was so fun to walk out the door to a huge wave of cheers and applause and people waving. I felt like a queen! (A Khaleesi!) What an amazing welcome into this country. Haha It felt like God was telling me that my decision to travel the world was a good one.
The first day in any city is usually shrouded in brain-fog because my body is super sensitive to jet lag, but I stumbled around Dublin with my mom and braced myself for what was going to be a crazy week. I had been so excited about the Game of Thrones tour that I had a hard time getting any sleep on the plane.
(I wrote another blog all about the Game of Thrones tour, so I won't go into detail about that here.)
We spent 2 nights in Dublin at the Kildare Street Hotel. Dublin wasn't what I expected at all. It had much more of a city vibe than I thought. I am glad my mom came with me to show me the rest of Ireland because while Dublin was really rad, I was partial to the towns that weren't as metropolitan.
Next stop, Kilkenny! Driving through Ireland is magical. The low fog over the rolling green fields and hills was something I never could have imagined even after seeing plenty of pictures. I have always lived fairly close to cities (Boston, NYC, LA) so I hadn’t seen this type of landscape before.
When we got to Kilkenny we were notified that our hotel had been temporarily closed due to the weather...? (The weather had been fine. This was a weird excuse.) They moved us to another hotel a few streets away. It was a little bizarre. There was a bin at the bottom of the stairs labeled swords/towels. They told us we couldn't stay in the room next to ours but that we had to use the shower in there because the door to ours had fallen off. Haha. My mom and I are both pretty go-with-the-flow type people so it wasn't a big deal.
Kilkenny was so cute!! We spent some time exploring Kilkenny Castle and we walked down the field that sits behind it. Unfortunately this was back when Periscopes deleted after 24 hours so I don’t have my broadcast to post here, but it was really cool to bring my community there with me for some of the adventure.
We arrived in Cork the following day. We stayed at Creedons Traditional Irish Welcome Inn which was right at the end of Oliver Plunkett Street. If you visit Cork, definitely check out this area. The street is lined with shops and restaurants and buskers playing music on the sidewalk. While you're there, pop into the English Market. It's beautiful.
Onward to Killarney. It was a beautiful town, but it was raining pretty hard that day.. and honestly from traveling around to so many places so quickly, we were both really tired. We went and explored Ross Castle, then into the city center for lunch, which was actually one of the best lunches we had. Giant beers and some kind of brie and cranberry toast thing..and then just hid out in our B&B for the rest of the day. On our way out of the city we got the car stuck in an alley and there were tons of other cars behind us and I had to climb out my window and slide across the hood of the car to help my mom get out. Haha. That’s probably the only tense moment from the whole trip, but we figured it out. Sans Souci. No Worries.
The next day we stopped in Limerick, saw some castles and had a glass of wine overlooking the River Shannon. I had fallen in love with Ireland at this point. I didn’t think I could love it any more than I did in this moment. I was wrong.
We went to the Blarney Castle and I kissed the stone. Apparently the legend says that once you kiss it you're endowed with the "gift of gab." I like to think it worked, although I've always been a talker. ;)
Next we drove out to Dingle (hehe) and then to Slea Head. It was a long drive and it was a foggy day but it was still one of the most incredible views I had ever seen. I feel like I keep saying that. Ugh. Ireland, I love you.
On our way out to Galway we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher. I honestly can’t even describe them. If you do only one thing in Ireland, if there is only ONE place you see, consider letting this be it. I don’t recommend going on the path directly on the edge of the cliffs, since apparently not uncommon for people to slip and fall over the edge. I think they said around 15 people per year fall over the edge. I’m the kind of person who trips over my own feet on completely solid ground, so I wasn’t going to risk it. We stayed on the path that was a few yards away. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it was real. They looked like fake cliffs from a movie. It was like Pandora.. or Narnia. Despite my best efforts, a picture just can’t capture the essence of this place. You have to go there.
We arrived in Galway, and I of course fell in love with it. Ha. I lay in the grass in Claddagh looking for 4 leaf clovers, ate fish and chips and watched Irish dancers. Our trip was coming to a close. I couldn't believe how much we had done in such a short time. We spent the last night back in Dublin where we had started and now, here I am.. on my way home. Wait! Pilot! Is it too late to turn around? Oh, it is? Damn.
Time to plan the next adventure!