My husband Liam is from Ireland and his parents and siblings all live there, so I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Emerald Isle over the last 30 years. Our visits are a busy combination of reconnecting with family and traipsing around the countryside—making me more familiar with the country than a tourist but less than a local. Now that travel to Ireland isn’t possible due to COVID, I realize how important this beautiful country, people and culture have become to me. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are five things I miss about Ireland, told mostly through photos.
It’s called the Emerald Isle for a reason. All that rain and a relatively mild climate means Ireland is teeming with gorgeous greenery. Look at the lily pads and lush moss! And it smells simply delicious.
Once you get out of Dublin, Ireland is an agricultural country, filled with pastures. I love bumping into sheep, cows, chickens and goats as a matter of course. In Chicago you might see a coyote and in Florida an alligator is no big deal, but a donkey? Now that’s exotic.
“The local” is a vital part of Irish culture and charming, historic pubs abound. Liam and I always celebrate our arrival with a fresh pint of Harp and a cup of creamy vegetable soup with brown bread.
Compared to the America, Ireland feels ancient. The craggy coastlines, lush valleys, stormy harbors and classic castles all create an atmosphere that feels mysterious and magical. Is a leprechaun lurking under that hedge? Aye.
Family and Memories
In America, our family is compact but in Ireland, we belong to a big clan of Killeens. On our last trip in August of 2019 we celebrated Liam Sr and Kitty’s 60th wedding anniversary (just look how adorable and happy they are) but we haven’t been back since. We miss them so much, along with the other members of our fam.
Also, this may seem strange, but I miss my memories of my kids in Ireland. We’ve traveled so many times to Cork together and always go to the same places and do the same things—at Blarney Castle, Kinsale, Gougane Barra, Patrick’s Street. My kids have walked those paths at every age and when I’m there I remember them all. We cherish those traditions and look forward to getting back to them again as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this little sentimental glimpse of Ireland. I raise a Guinness to you and wish you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!