In Honor of St. Patrick's Day .... Photos & Tales of Ireland
This idyllic spot is the actual home place of my grandfather, William Clifford, who was born in 1886 in Cahirciveen, a small and charming market town in County Kerry (not far from this spot is the Western-most land point in Europe, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean). These sheep are on the family homestead, several acres with the original cottage still intact. My grandfather later emigrated to San Francisco, and he was the kindest, most patient man that I ever knew. Growing up hearing his tales of life in rural Ireland was such a treat for me ... and was the beginning of my love affair with Ireland and its people. In 1995 I obtained dual citizenship (which any American can do if you have an Irish grandparent) and the following year I moved to Ireland, fully enjoying Irish life there for eight years.
As often as I can, I love to return to Ireland, where my heart feels happy, and where people smile and after five minutes of chatting, you feel like you've known them for years. The Irish are very hospitable, and love to ask Americans where they're from. If you say "Oregon," for example, they might reply "Oh, would you happen to know my cousin Thomas O'Callaghan in New York?" :-)) Ireland is a small country, about the size of the state of Maine, so imagining the size of "America" is sometimes hard to grasp unless they've traveled outside of their country.
Besides walking the fields in the photo above, which my grandfather walked across to get to school each day, during my return visits to Ireland I like to take photos of the spectacularly beautiful scenery. Here are a few to share with you ...
In 1996 I established a Bed & Breakfast in the ancient environs of Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, where stone circles as old as Stonehenge are part of the landscape, and where the locals recall seeing fairies on the lake in the "old days"
A friendly pub is never farther away than a stroll up a country lane
The pub above is 300 years old, and when my son Brendan & I return for a visit, we have the honor of "babysitting" it so that the owners can go on a short vacation -- what fun!
In Ireland, you can count on visiting the remains of old castles, churches & other amazing sites!
If you haven't yet visited Ireland, put it on your Bucket List ~ Afterwards, you'll be smiling whenever you think of it.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and yours!