As negative as the the first word in the title may sound, this is a positive blog! I returned from vacation this week, having visited Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, we rented a car and made a circuit from the eastern coast at the capitol city of Dublin and drove clockwise around the country before ending up in Belfast. We visited Waterford, Cobh, Killarney, Galway, Inis Mor (largest of the Aran Islands), Sligo, Donegal, Derry, as well as driving through many smaller towns.
We all know the U.S., as a nation, is young in comparison to other countries. But, I was struck by the scope of the wonders of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher (five miles along the coast) in County Clare rise up from the ocean and take one’s breath away.
When standing at the top of one, you can look out across the sea and envision earlier times. Early people would use currachs, and those small boats would buck the waves, while the people would look up at the cliffs and hope they wouldn’t be dashed against them in the tides.
As we headed out of the Republic of Ireland north to the UK part of Ireland in County Antrim, we traveled the Giant’s Causeway. The scientific explanation is a series of huge basalt columns formed from a volcanic eruption. Myth states that the Giant Finn MacCool built a walkway to get to Scotland for a battle. I prefer the myth because to see these “steps” plunges me back to that time. I can see Finn taking
“giant” steps on each flat surface.
I’ve chosen only two of the natural wonders of Ireland to put into perspective how insignificant one feels when seeing such magnificence for the first time. But, rather than feeling diminished, I feel inspired. What stories these rocks could tell; what things they’ve witnessed over the centuries!
We spoke with locals, dined at pubs, and had an unforgettable journey in so many ways. I came back refreshed and energized, eager to tell stories in my voice.
Oh, and if you can see the tiny L-shaped island at the very top northern part of the map, it is Rathlin Island. Rathlin Island is in the very first book I attempted, a historical set in 1560. My wonderful son and daughter-in-law surprised me with a ferry trip to visit it. The island is only 7 miles total in size, so we took a tour bus around it and I could clearly envision where my hero and heroine would camp, where the outlawed druids had hidden from persecution, and from which coast the h/h could set out to Scotland. So excited, I might go back to that book and rewrite it. Trust me, as the first one I wrote, it sorely needs it!