Mary’s Monthly Travel Blog ~ A Magical Journey to Ireland!

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland

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.

Houses, shops along the coast of Rosslare, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Houses, shops along the coast of Rosslare, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan


My first peek at Ireland on a cold, wet, misty, wonderful day.






Cottage in Waterford, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Cottage in Waterford, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan


Taking you on a tour through the countryside….











Must always include the friends, too…




Blarney Castle, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Blarney Castle, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

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…







Yes, me, Mary, kissing the Blarney Stone!

Yes, me, Mary, kissing the Blarney Stone!

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.

My son and I emerging from Blarney Castle.

My son and I emerging from Blarney Castle.

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:

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!

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  1. Virginia Smith

    Thank you for the article. It brought back memories of Ireland. I climbed the stairs to the top of Blarney Castle. I brought back glass from Waterford.

    • You’re so welcome, Virginia!

      Waterford was another special place. It’s strange, but I didn’t want to bring back any crystal. Instead, I purchased a Claddagh ring with a piece of crystal embedded in the heart. A treasured keepsake that I wear daily.

      Hugs xo

  2. What a great experience you had, Mary!
    Ireland is a picturesque country, indeed. I’ve never visited it, in this lifetime, perhaps in another, but I saw it in documentaries and travel albums.
    Lucky you, those gentlemen kept you tight when kissing the stone.

    • When I got to the top of Blarney, I shook my head in absolute shock, Carmen. One of the men looked to be in his eighties! Haha! I figured if I fell, I would die happily in the home of my ancestors.

      Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing, Mary. I have never been to Ireland, but would LOVE to go someday (Scotland most of all). I imagine seeing it was magical, exhilarating, and so much more!

    • Even after sixteen years, I can still remember seeing the mists parting on the ferry and watching as the land came into view. Yes, I cried.
      All treasured memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

  4. fabulous experience , thanks for sharing , stunning photos

  5. Kay Boyce

    Thankyou for sharing, Mary. Scotland would be my first to visit with Ireland being a very close second. Love your friends and that you always include them !!!!!

    • You’re so very welcome, Kay! Scotland and Ireland are both magical, beautiful places to visit (Or live, I wish), with Scotland’s rugged beauty and Ireland’s softer shades. This is how I see them within my heart.

      So happy you love my friends, too. 🙂 Thank the stars my husband never tires of me pointing out all the animals for a photo.

  6. Vici

    I love you Blog and Newsletters. You always add a little something extra and special. Seeing places through your eyes is magical.

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