Have you ever visited a place where, from the moment you arrive, you feel at ease and comfortable? This was Ireland for me. And I don’t think it was just the tea.
This was a special trip. Not only had it been ten years since I’d been abroad, but I was going to Ireland (!!) and I was going to meet family!
Connecting with family abroad is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I can attest to this specifically being a goal as early as freshmen year of high school because my mother recently ‘gifted’ me some of my old writing assignments and this was listed on a “Things I Want To Do Before I Die” assignment alongside connecting with family in Ukraine. I’m not sure why she acts likes these things are ‘gifts’ but I appreciate them and maybe that’s the only necessary qualification.
(The majority of the pictures in this post were taken by my overly talented sister.)
Back in 2014, my dad’s mom got a Christmas present that was once in a lifetime – Grandpa would be sending her and the three grandkids to explore her mother’s birthplace.
Last May, after my sister’s college graduation, we set off to Ireland.
After a red-eye across the pond we made our way up the N17. Kiana wasn’t interested in the boring highway views and played copilot as we traversed the Irish countryside and searched for a place for breakfast. We stopped at a random shop/petrol station/closed pub to look for snacks and inquire about a good place to grab a bite and were quickly shuffled back to the pub by the shop keeper who insisted on opening to feed us.
After breakfast we continued on our way to Sligo, settled into our hotel, and explored the town. Late in the evening, I’m talking 8 PM, with the sun still high in the sky, we realized we should eat again so we headed to a restaurant where I indulged in my first round of fish and chips. Who knew the sun stayed up so late in Ireland?! It was rather disorienting.
We continued our explorations of Sligo the next day with some window shopping and we had the fortune of meeting Mr. Quirke, a butcher turned woodworker who also happens to be a rousing storyteller. He made us each carvings.
That afternoon we headed to Enniscrone Beach before driving back up to Strandhill where we were able to spend time with our family at our great-aunt’s swanky nursing home that overlooks the sea. This also involved adorable babies.
The next day we headed back to Strandhill, a popular surfing destination, where we enjoyed seaweed baths at Voya Spa – highly recommended! We also had the opportunity to explore our great-grandmother’s hometown/former stomping ground (Easky), climbed to the top of castle built in 1207, got a personal driving tour of what felt like the entire NW, ate only seafood (at least I did), and took a mini hike to see The Devil’s Chimney waterfall. Oh, and I made a new dog friend, Jack 🙂
Looking back I’m amazed at how much we were able to see in such a short amount of time, obviously we had the advantage of a personal local tour guide. I would have been perfectly content staying in Sligo the entire trip but on Saturday we headed back down the N17 toward Galway.
More to come…