Postcard from Ireland

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Blarney Castle in County Cork, where you can kiss the Blarney stone and magically receive the “gift of gab”

Whenever I think of Ireland, I think of road trips through the rolling countryside that come to a halt when a flock of sheep decide to congregate in the road. I wanted that classic film moment to happen to me; it’s so romantic. The closest we got was a confused goat crossing the street in a village.

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Hearty Irish breakfasts awaited us at every bed & breakfast, complete with blood sausage and all the tea you can drink.

The people in Ireland are so kind, I was suspicious of them at first. They’re always smiling and going out of their way to make your day better, even if you never asked them to. One night Robert and I stood on a bridge in Limerick, admiring the hundreds of wild swans that gathered on the water. In the U.S., parks will buy two or three swans for show in a man-made pond and call it a day. In Ireland there were swarms of them. It was late evening as we huddled on the bridge, when a man started walking toward us. We tensed up and wondered what he wanted from us. When he got closer, we saw that he was smiling broadly. He saw that we loved the swans and advised us on where to go during the day to feed them stale bread.

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Another time, a parking lot attendant let us exit without paying in full, due to some confusion I can’t recall. Before we pulled away, he smiled at us and said, “I always wanted to go to America to see those tornadoes, and be a storm-chaser!”

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Killarney, my favorite village and yes, Bing Crosby’s “Christmas in Killarney” played on a loop in my head

Ireland was full of charming villages, ancient ruins on the side of the road for people to explore, neon shades of Kelly green, and hearty Irish breakfasts that called for blood sausage. They changed the name to “black sausage” to make it more appealing to foreigners, I believe.

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The many pubs we visited were dark and comforting, with hand-crafted mahogany bars and booths.

We’ll be coming back.

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At Newgrange, an eye-opening Neolithic site just outside of Dublin

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Oh, just your average unmarked ancient ruin

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Fish and chips – Ireland knows that the best fries are steak fries!

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Wearing my locally made Aran wool sweater for this chilly night…in July!

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All of the bed and breakfasts in Ireland had ticking grandfather clocks, good family china and dogs curled up in chairs.

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King John’s castle in Limerick

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Exploring an abandoned church in Adare Village

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The breathtaking west coast of Ireland mimics the beauty of California’s Big Sur – a great, seaside drive over winding cliffs

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Ireland needn’t advertise their beef as grass-fed. Their response? “But of course they are!”

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Slane Village in County Meath

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