Ireland. September 1993
Ah, indeed, 'tis a touch of Brigadoon throughout the Emerald Isle. Wee little people and fairies behind every rock and under every tree. At least, one would expect it to be so, in this magical land. The grass is really a greener green, or a brighter green, or at least a different green. Perhaps that is because we had rain almost every day. Not a regular rain, nor a constant rain, but a misty rain, just enough to wash the dust off the grass. One day, while riding on our tour bus, it rained off and on all morning and, as we passed over each hill, there were rainbows on every hill far many miles. As one would dissappear, the next one would appear. Magic! We couldn't believe how truly enchanting was this place, this Eden, this God's country. It is easy to believe the Irish would have never left this land and come to Anserica, had it not been for the potato famine.
In the area of Galway, the land, inland from the coast has been reclaimed by the earliest settlers, who, upon arriving, discovered rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I would suppose, they were probebly deposited there by the glaciers of the ice age. They are verring shades of grey and the size of a skull, some larger, others smaller. Those early settlars moved the rocks, one by one, to make way for their farms. At some point in tlme, these millions of rocks were rearranged to form fences, about five feet high, around little plots of land, some plots being no more than a quarter of an acre. And these paddocks go on and on for miles. We were told they keep the rabbits out of the garden plots, and the sheep in the grazing plots. But seeing the quantity of those rocks per plot, made me appreciate the hard work and effort required to clear the land.
Having watched documentaries on the disaster of the patato famine, and how so many people starved because there was no food, I rather expected to see, in the farming areas, ran-down houses and people wearing ragged clothes. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were no run-down houses and the people, throughout Ireland, were well dressed and looked healthy, happy and prosperous. In fact, we were told, that Ireland has now surpassed Australia far the highest rate of home ownership in the world. Could that be the reason they are such a charming, helpful, and fun filled lot,whether you meet them in a store, hotel, restaurant, park, or just walking down the street? They seem to have a twinkle in their eyes, even when they are serious.
The timing of this trip was such that many of us, on this bus tour (there were 42 of us tourists), had already read Frank McCort's best seller, Angela's Ashes. So, when we drove through the little city of Limerick, the scene of his childhood, described in such detail, several of us were busy trying to recognize the locations and street names, etc. I think we did catch a couple of the street names, but, in comparison to the Llmerick, Frank pictured, they have raised the town and built a modern one in it's place. Maybe if they had driven us throngh the beck allies we would have found a different Limerick.
We visited the famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, on another
rainy and very windy day. The wind was so fierce and strong that people with hats had to keep one hand on