Ireland…a place filled with many different shades of green. A land filled with friendship whose people have a fierce pride for their culture and language.
And an island I call my home.
My first visit to Ireland was in the summer of 2000. Nothing could have prepared me for the first glimpse of a land that called out to me. Have I mentioned that Ireland, specifically the Hill of Tara, is another place I considered putting the Order of the Dragon Knights in my stories? The idea began in Scotland, but I couldn’t get Ireland out of my mind, too. Therefore, I had an epiphany and decided to include both, especially since I love the mythology of Ireland.
We left Pembroke, Wales via the Irish Ferries. It took four-and-a-half hours to cross the Irish Sea during a rainy day. The ferry had eight decks and I still remember the difficulty moving about from place to place.
As our ferry approached, the mists parted and I cried. I can’t explain the emotions…
If you’ve noticed the date and journal entry on the picture to the left, I lost my precious item on the first day in Ireland. Thankfully, someone found it on the lobby floor of our hotel and shipped it to Dublin. I went three days of scribbling notes on various bits of paper and stationary.
My first peek at Ireland on a cold, wet, misty, wonderful day.
Taking you on a tour through the countryside….
Must always include the friends, too…
A definite must see on any trip to Ireland is a visit to Blarney Castle. Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. The first building was a wooden structure built in the tenth century. It was replaced in 1210 by a stone structure. This was eventually demolished and a third castle was built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster of which the keep still remains standing.
More views of the castle…
Imagine the secrets within this alcove…
Slowly we make our way to the top of Blarney…
Can you see a bit of the green over my left shoulder? That is the ground below. Two men were holding me as I bent backwards to kiss the stone.
Legend has it that Robert the Bruce gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude for his aid at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 This, now known as the Blarney Stone, was incorporated in the battlements where it can now be kissed.
Going up the circular stairs was fine, but coming back down another story. This is what I wrote in my journal…
“Yet, the fun was descending the castle after kissing the Blarney Stone. Argh! Hang onto a rope, sit on your buns, and pray you don’t fall!”
It might have been exhilarating, but one of the ladies in our tour actually sprained her ankle.
Once is enough and I’m done.
To learn more about this fascinating place, here is a link to Blarney Castle: http://www.blarneycastle.ie/
I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini tour of my first few days in Ireland. Next month, we’ll visit a place where I’ve always wanted to take their Celtic Studies program. Trinity College!