When something is overwhelming, the problem is always how to begin, how to
put it into words. Ireland is overwhelming. Wish I had the talent to put it
into words, but I know my limitations.
We arrived here last Friday morning, a red eye from Newark, N.J. to Dublin.
I’m a member of a group of fellow travelers, part of a promotion I’m doing
Note that I said “fellow travelers,” not “fellow tourists.” There is a big
difference, I believe. I also believe you learn something about yourself
when traveling and that the people you leave behind learn something, too.
This is my first time in Ireland. Every veteran of Irish travel I’ve ever
spoken with has told me, in so many words, the following: Ireland is a
beautiful country and its people are its treasure.
I disagree only slightly. Ireland is more than beautiful, but as mentioned,
I can’t find the correct words. I just finished talking with a young Irish
couple. They couldn’t have been nicer, which has been the norm here.
Ireland’s treasury is overflowing. Being with these Irish men and women is
making me be nicer than I usually am.
The tour, being guided by Holiday Vacations, made a stop for lunch yesterday
in the village of Mote. It was five o’clock somewhere, which is why I walked
into Bo Allen’s, a pub which doesn’t sound Irish but is a place right out of
John Wayne’s “Quiet Man.”
Speaking of which, on the road today our guide pointed to a bridge used in
the filming of the “Quiet Man.” Also on the back roads today were sheep.
They wander back and forth from fields to the narrow roads.
You’d never see me driving here. The country roads are too narrow, they
drive on the wrong side of the road and I’d never get comfortable driving
from the passenger side of a car. Then there are the sheep.
Today included a long stop at Kylemore Abbey, home to an order of
Benedictine nuns. The nuns devote themselves to a monastic life of prayer
The abbey is a place where people enjoy silence and solitude, a place to
think. Being there made me realize how noisy and how crowded my life is, and
how little time is spent just thinking.
We’ve also visited Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the ruins of St.
Ciaran’s monastery, Clonmacnoise, founded in 545. Services are still held
there. I’ve spent more time in church during the past three days than I’ve
spent in church in the last three months, which won’t hurt me at all.
One final note. Not everything in Ireland is Irish. Entering a pub called An
Pucan, which means “The Boat,” I asked the doorman if they had Bud on tap.
(So shoot me, I don’t like Irish beer.) The doorman laughed and said, "Of
course we serve Bud. Everybody serves Bud. This is Ireland.”
Joe Kelly is the editor and publisher of The Boonville Herald & Adirondack Tourist and