A Night of Fairies and Folklore, Final Days in Ireland
Our time in Ireland so far had been full of fabulous scenery and lovely people, great pubs and tours, historic castles and barrels of fun. For our final days in Ireland we returned to Dublin and began with a tour of the Teeling Distillery. I have to say this seemed to be a fan favorite since so many of us left with a bottle of the brew.
After Teeling we checked into our hotel facing the River Liffey and spent free time around Trinity College and the Temple Bar area. Shopping, Pubs, the Book of Kells, this pedestrian friendly area is a great place to spend an afternoon.
That evening proved to be a real surprise. First we headed off to the Brazen Head pub, the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1198. In an upstairs room we were treated to an amazing meal and entertainment that kept us glued to our seats.
Johnny Daly is an Irish Folklore specialist, and he must have kissed the Blarney Stone because his gift of eloquence is unsurpassed. He kept us spellbound for nearly two hours with tales of Irish Folklore. He was generous with his information and actually emailed an article of tales to me right after I returned home. I’d be happy to email a copy to you if you’ll request it (firstname.lastname@example.org).
During our time in Ireland we learned so much about Irish history, culture and humor. Mark said “we know how to pick a fight, we just don’t know how to win one”. The impact of the potato famine is still fresh in the minds of the Irish. The shepherd at the sheepdog exhibit had a famine farm on his property and his brother wrote an excellent book about the famine that I read on the flight home (Famine in Ireland and West Kerry by Gordon Kavanagh).
Mark told us that when John F Kennedy was elected President of the United States every Catholic home in Ireland hung his photograph next to their photograph of the Pope and said “look, an Irish Catholic boy made good”. The plight of the Catholics in Ireland is also a recurring theme during tours of Ireland. It’s such a relief that the “troubles” between the Protestants and Catholics are behind them and they’ve learned to respect each other and live in peace.
Gun control in Ireland is a huge issue. Mark has never even held a gun, which to those of us from Oklahoma was an astounding revelation. Due to the “troubles” getting a gun in Ireland is harder than getting elected President.
On our final day we loaded into our luxury motorcoach for the last time and were delivered to the Dublin airport. Did you know you clear U.S. customs and immigration while you’re in the Dublin airport? That way you don’t have to go through that process when you land in the U.S..
One thing I’d like to mention, several in our group had been tempted to take a self-drive tour of Ireland rather than go with our group. Without exception every one of them expressed relief that they had opted to join the group tour. Driving in Ireland is difficult to say the least, and life threatening at its worst.
We’ll be returning to Ireland next year for a guided tour with Mark. This time we’ll see Northern Ireland and ferry over to Scotland and see the highlights there. I remain convinced that Ireland is best experienced on an escorted tour, however I’d also recommend cruising around the island.
Ireland is an amazing adventure and the people of Ireland are waiting to welcome you with open arms.
Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel. Contact Joy at 918-339-4805