Reflections from Ireland……

Well here I sit at Dublin airport, waiting to board the flight that will take us halfway home to Dubai to rest for two days before heading home to reality. It has been the most anticipated holiday of my life….. I am aware that I aquired this particular one for all the wrong reasons, but it was a dream of mine since the very beginning none the less. Since the day I heard my first ever Irish person speak, I have wanted to travel to this Country. Of course growing up I decided I’d marry a man with an Irish accent, and live over here in a 15th Century farm house, drinking guinness with the locals on a Friday evening and singing along with a handful of musos for a lazy Sunday arvo jam…… and I loved that when I met Trenton, although he wasn’t the one with the accent, his dream was to drink and jam his way around the Irish country side too! No surprise really…. most of his hopes and ambitions in life were just like mine. I think its part of what makes a great relationship…. wanting for similar things. Heading in the same direction sure does help in keeping a couple together. Just like being on the same page with your parenting….. its no easy feat. The moment I landed in Belfast I knew it was just as I’d always hoped. The different kinds of Irish accents have always made me giggle like a little school girl. The first place we stayed at was the home of “The Gays.” Now I mean no disrespect when I say this (Paula pointed out that I shouldnt call them that) but I feel that seeing as a large section of my friends are gay and lesbian, surely I can use this term of endearment just this once?!!! I was particularly looking forward to staying with this couple as I knew that from the photos and reviews of their place on Air BnB that they would spoil us rotten….. as they did!!!! The room was divine, opening onto a rooftop garden complete with hot tub (that we sadly didnt get time to use!) and our room had a beautiful ensuite complete with fresh crisp linen and even a choccy on the bedside table. Four dogs completed our lovely stay (Mildred the Scottie dog, Chi chi the mama Chihuahua and Calvin and Klein the pups.) It gave me the dog fix I needed. The next morning we headed off for the bus to Dublin. It gave us a couple of hours off from driving and we got to just sit back and enjoy the view….. we picked up our next car at Dublin airport and headed off for West Cork…. we arrived hours after we thought we would as usual… (note to self – small Country does not equal short driving times as small Country has large population and much traffic!!!) We were once again over excited to see the next Air BnB pad we had booked, and we were not let down…. we arrived to our 17th Century Converted Barn in Wormesly in the country (but right near a rugged and beautiful beach), and fell madly in love once again with the incredible architecture, and the beautiful way that the owner had decorated the pad. A friend got us onto Air BnB, which is a site you can join where you get to stay in peoples homes all around the world. It might be their entire home without them in it, or it could be a room in their place whilst they’re home, and sometimes its a self contained bungalow or unit on their property….. but the beauty is you get to stay at a fraction of what you’d pay for a hotel. And its a lot more interesting as you get to experience the area as it really is.  You can be as little or as involved with the owners as you’d like, and you get to stay in places you’d never be able afford in a hotel. We had booked every night for the entire trip through Air BnB so that every night we were experiencing the culture. Im so glad we spent hours choosing and reading reviews…… it was exhausting but it paid off each time we rocked up somewhere new!!! We met up with Joanne, a mate I’d travelled around Australia with back in 2001, and she and I had stayed in contact via facebook ever since. Jo lived locally to Clonakilty, so we decided to stay near Clon in a place with three beds so she could have the three nights off from her kids too….. and still be nearby….. and boy did we have a ball!!!! My sides are sore from laughing….. the best medicine ever. We drove around all day, just visiting castles snd ruins, stopping on the side of the road for scenic shots, and wandering along the beach taking silly photos of each other. She booked us in to a divine day spa for the Sat morning… and after our one hour deep tissue massage, we were able to make use of the spa’s saltwater pool and spas, and look out over the most magnificent beach complete with rolling green hills…. Heaven. The following arvo we heard a live session going on in a pub in skibbereen, and we went in to join in on the festivities. A wedding had occurred the day before, and the guitarist, fiddle, flute, spoons and accordian players were all still drinking (which is the norm after a wedding we were later told) so we sat and watched over a couple of drinks. Most songs involved the whole pub…. and I was even told to be quiet when some drunk was singing a beautiful Irish ballad (even though he couldn’t sing to save his own life….) and I loved that they did stop and listen…. it was so from the heart.  Its so lovely how the embarrassment goes out the window and you’re almost expected to join in!  It was the vision of what I’d hoped Ireland was…. and it didn’t disappoint. The people here are ready to bend over backwards to help you out….. as long as they work out first that you’re Australian not English (the poor English have copped it many times on this trip……) then you’re laughing. Im not sure how I thought I’d feel once I’d finally visited the country I’ve waited my whole life to see…. I guess like everyhting in my life these days, I can predict nothing of what I will feel anymore. There were a million times where I wanted to text or call Trent and share in what I’d just seen.  I don’t know if that urge will ever pass….. but I loved it all so much that I wanted to share it with you. I will come back one day with the kids, I know they’ll find the Irish hilarious, and it’s a culture they’d feel right at home in. The bonus of the old buildings and incredible history will hopefully not be lost on them… and who knows, maybe they’ll travel at 20 or so like I did and work in Ireland or the UK…. It has reminded me that being such an isolated country, we forget sometimes that there is more on Earth than just Australia/New Zealand and the South Pacific/Asia….. I hope I convinced a few people this trip to make the 23 hour journey (with a stopover to break it up of course!!!!) to Australia as the distance should not stop them….. I will treasure these memories forever…. and I wanna thank Paula for coming with me and putting up with my moodiness sometimes, while I find my happiness on the planet again. A very slow and sometimes painful process.  But hopefully one day I will again. xxxx

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