Ireland. A journey of a lifetime and a land of absolute astonishment for any traveler. Upon arriving via Lingus Airways at Shannon Airport, the hues of green confounded every spectator, and was a blinding sight given the overnight flight. It was a sea of every possible shade of green, blending with billowing strands of soft grass. We sat quietly on the bus, faint Irish music playing during the fifty minute drive, the beauty of our surroundings captivating our attention for the next destination. Located in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher were no stranger to a hollywood close up, appearing in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as well as the Princess Bride. In person, the movie appearances paled. Sheer cliffs dropped into turquoise water, white caps accentuating the vibrant shade against the rough edges. We stood near the edge of the cliff, eyes focused on the water, each person bold enough to reach out for the perfect shot. Cameras were held aloft as tourists walked the well worn pathway along the edge, pausing for a picturesque snapshot, before continuing on the scenic amble. As we drove away, the cliffs faded from view, everyone clamoring over what would be next.
Approaching the bus with luggage in tow, prepared for another wondrous day, we see an almost comical sign of good fortune glimmering overhead: a vivid rainbow. Ecstatic, we took photos, unaware of the beauty our day had in store. The trip through the Rings of Kerry is not something to be rushed, if any such idea was possible. A six to eight hour drive, every seat had a magnificent view out the window. Surrounding the Iveragh Peninsula, this panoramic wonder stuns with lush grass, rocky mountainsides, and roaming sheep, molding into a glorious experience. For lunch, we stopped at the Thatch Cottage restaurant, a quaint yellow cottage with a thatched roof. Being in a group of over fifty, I was bewildered, confused as to how we would all fit. However, the restaurant was more spacious than it appeared, having a casual seating arrangement and rustic appeal. I ordered a Shepard’s pie along with a slice of rhubarb pie, determing to experience everything. It was phenomenal. The Shepard’s pie was fresh and flavorful, its aroma enticing both the person who bought and the ones who wished they had. On the other hand, the tang of the rhubarb was sublime. Never had I tasted rhubarb pie, but this one left me hungry for another. The texture was firm and sprinkled with powdered sugar on the outside, leading to a smooth center packed with flavor. After lunch, we continued on, full and focused on our surroundings. Yellow flowers bloomed against the dark stone, its hue seeming in high definition. Later on in the trip, we would see more yellow flowers, but not just a handful. I was lucky enough to experience the seas of daffodils in Ireland. The dainty blooms were plentiful, whole fields bursting with gold. Against the deep green of the grass, a sea of them would appear reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz, a golden road to pursue one’s dreams.
Ireland is a wonder all on its own, and is a stunnning beauty in every respect. From the preserved ruins to the fantastic food to the wonderful music, it is an experience I will never forget.
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