As promised in an earlier blog, I want to share our upcoming travel plans.
This summer, Emily and I will be heading back to our home away from home. The place I have been attempting in vain to find employment for the last few years. The island that has changed my life almost as much as Maui, the island where we currently live. If you know me, you know where I speak of, but if you don’t know me by now, I am referring to Ireland.
Back in 2014 we had a two-week trip of a lifetime in Ireland beginning in Shannon and driving ourselves along the west coast from Doolin, down through County Kerry, to County Cork, up through Kilkenny, into Dublin City, and eventually back to Shannon visiting new places each way. Those two weeks were not enough to satisfy my curiosity with Ireland, and I have been dreaming of ways to live, work, and explore there ever since.
For this upcoming trip, we are going to take just over three weeks to cover as much of the entire island as possible. Our current itinerary has us landing in Dublin and the next morning getting our rental car and driving north up to Belfast for a few nights, then further north to stay near the Giant’s Causeway, over to Derry. After one night in Derry, we are looking forward to staying two nights in Fanad Lighthouse. I assume that staying in a lighthouse will be one of the highlights of this trip, but just in case it isn’t we still have two more weeks to head down the Wild Atlantic Way and stay in new places like Sligo, as well as revisiting places we love like Doolin, Waterville, Sneem, Kenmare, Kinsale, Kilkenny, and Dingle.
While on the Dingle peninsula, weather permitting, we will be staying one night over on Great Blasket island, an island just over a mile from the mainland, which has been uninhabited since 1953. I am really looking forward to our brief time on the Great Blasket and have been reading every book I can from the islanders who lived there. I have finished The Islandman, by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Twenty Years a Growing, by Muiris Ó Suilleabháin, and am currently in the middle of A Pity Youth Does Not Last, by Michéal O’Guiheen. I have a few more titles to read, but so far all of these books paint pictures of a very hard life on the island, but one that was never questioned at the time. I am anxious to walk the same footpaths and sheep trails that these island poets once walked.
While in Waterville, we will be returning to Skellig Michael, again weather permitting, to revisit that surreal spit of rock seven miles from the mainland and a lifetime away from reality. With the popularity increasing one-thousand fold since its role in the most recent Star Wars film, I only hope it hasn’t changed too much since we were enthralled by our first visit. There was such a sense of danger and intrigue when we first jumped off the boat onto the island, and I hope it hasn’t been modified to meet the needs of the masses.
After three weeks of exploring as much of the country as we can handle, we will eventually return to Dublin for our final three of four nights. This will give us plenty of time to walk and wander through Dublin City, finding bookstores for Emily, pubs for me, and Georgian doors for both of us to enjoy. Our previous time in Dublin seemed rushed, but we did see a lot of sites that we were told to not miss. This time around I think we will do more meandering in between our destinations.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that before our adventures in Ireland begin, we will be spending a few days in Iceland. We booked our flights from Seattle to Dublin on Icelandair, and they have a fantastic stopover program which allows you to stay up to seven nights on your outbound and/or return flight if the flight goes through Reykjavik at no additional cost. We decided to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to explore some place new, and from the looks of it, very beautiful.