Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Before we get carried away with green beer and beads (why are there always beads? Were they left over from Mardi Gra maybe?), I thought it might be fun to get back to the roots of Saint Patrick’s day, and by that I mean Ireland. I was there last June for three awesome and rainy weeks and had a blast.
10 things I love about Ireland:
The Irish people are some of the friendliest and nicest people I’ve met traveling. I felt like everyone I met there was welcoming and happy and always down for a good time.
Everything is green
Due to all that rain they get everything is always green, which is always a nice change up from the browns and yellows of dry California (ok, I suppose this year has been a bit of an exception). The rolling green hills, lush gardens, and even the moss and vines growing on buildings are just beautiful.
Sort of piggy-backing on the fact that everything is beautiful, getting out into nature in Ireland is sort of like being in a fairy tale. Hiking through the woods you almost expect to see magical creatures of some kind.
You’ve got the classic Guinness that we all know and love, and if you are in Dublin definitely go take the tour of the Guinness Storehouse. The best part is having your glass of Guinness at the end in the rooftop bar with sweeping views of Dublin all around. Aside from Guinness, there are a number of craft breweries popping up all over Ireland that are worth a try. One of my favorites was an IPA from Franciscan Well.
So the Irish pretty much invented whiskey, and they are good at making it. You can take tours and tastings of famous distilleries like Jameson and new lesser known and one of my personal favorites, Teeling.
The pub is where everyone goes to hang out and have a good time. It’s more than just a bar, but a place where people congregate for food, music, and yes, drinking. But unlike the bars for the US that are usually dark and divey, or dark and club-y, pubs in Ireland are bright and welcoming with windows and light.
The western coastline of Ireland is beautiful and dramatic. Famous spots like the Cliffs of Moher and the Skellig Islands (end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, anyone?) are along the west coast. Take a little roadtrip down the Wild Atlantic Way, you won’t be disappointed.
Ireland has a really interesting history, and there is a lot of it. There have been people living in Ireland since 10,500 BC! You can follow the history from the earliest settlers through the bronze age, middle ages, all the way up to the present. A visit to the Galway City Museum is definitely a must for any history buffs. And if you are thinking you have some Irish roots, you can search the archives of the National Library of Ireland for records of your great great grandparents.
I am not usually one for heavy breakfasts, but the Irish breakfast got me. Maybe it’s because it’s so different than what I’d usually eat, yogurt and fruit being my staples. A full Irish breakfast consists of Irish bacon, Irish sausage, black and white pudding (basically meat patties), baked beans, egg, toast, and grilled veggies(usually a tomato or mushrooms). For whatever reason I really got into having baked beans and grilled tomatoes for breakfast, it’s savory and hearty and perfect energy for tromping around in the rain.
I noticed the doors to houses and buildings in both Dublin and Galway were awesome. So many were colorful and intricately designed that I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of them. While the rest of the building was usually made out of stone or brick, the bright doors always stood out and made me smile.
Have a happy and safe St. Patricks Day!