Green clovers swaying in the breeze … the soft caress of my hair, and the passing warm embrace of the elusive sun breaking through the thick, rolling clouds. The scent of the ocean. The still life … the green. So many shades of green. In one sweeping look down the rolling hills, so many stories.

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Traversing through the crowded airport, after 11 hours of flight, I felt the greatest sense of attentiveness. All my senses fine-tuned, blank files, empty notebooks, sharp pencils. I was ready.

Casey Blanton illustrated that human beings have a “desire to mediate between things foreign and things familiar” (2). I too, longed to go where I wouldn’t find others like me. Somewhere where they were. Bustling cities, underground parking, Guinness merchandise, red hair, and “Danny Boy, the pipes are calling,” were not what I wanted to experience in Ireland. The pub with the bicycles and the hardware for sale, with only three seats at the bar, and the owners live in the back … that’s where I wanted to go.

Mapping a trip to an unknown place can be very deceiving. I bought this map at a petrol station, after getting lost in a Gaelic maze of roundabouts. I found it interesting that it did not map the borders of Northern Ireland. I would have never been able to surmise the experience I was about to embark on, or the sights I was about to see by looking at this flat and pale map.

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As a tourist, it is important to plan where you’ll be traveling through Ireland, as the laws and currency are different. I experienced this sudden encounter when I crossed over to County Derry from a drive from Dublin up the M2 motorway, and began to see British flags. The nice thing about Ireland is that there are very few roads. However, if you get lost its most certainly from the roundabouts pointing to 10 different locations.

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I opened my map, I searched for the most remote areas. The peninsulas were of special interest to me, because I love the history behind all the small islands that surround the West coast. I especially wanted to see the Blasket Islands, and all the breathtaking scenes of County Kerry.

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Although I traveled to many parts of Ireland, this is where I found the most beauty. There is a certain kind of peace here. The kind I could only find growing up within my father’s backyard during the fall. There are so many remote areas in County Kerry. Untouched. Many of its inhabitants still live in isolation. Three hours on a bus to Dublin if you want the city life, the nightlife.

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I stayed at a bed and breakfast while in Dingle. Bambury’s Guest House on Mail Rd. because I wanted to stay somewhere close to the bay, and this was within walking distance. There is also a loop shaped road named Slea Head drive which I wanted to explore. From the breakfast room in the guest house I had the most breathtaking view. Cows. Green. More, and more green.

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After having a full Irish breakfast and taking in the beauty of the place, I decided to go out with only my map to guide me …

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3 thoughts on “Mapping the Isle

  1. Hi Alma,

    What a beauty! I say to every place I’ve never been that it’s a dream of mine to visit, and Ireland definitely makes that list. Are you familiar with the late Irish novelist Maeve Binchy? Her work was the first inspiration for an Ireland trip for me. The film “P.S. I Love You” was the final say. I’m such in awe with a place so green! It sure beats all the brown surrounding me in the desert. Did you travel alone? If so, how do you think the experience might have been different if you didn’t (and vice versa)?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alma–If you are going to write about the Irish, waxing poetic works best, no?
    “I bought this map at a petrol station, after getting lost in a Gaelic maze of roundabouts. ” This is a great sentence–it uses their terms and gives local flavor and connects to our theme for the week.
    The level of specificity is also helpful to me as a reader. What more about the people you encountered might relate to the mapping? Did people try to give you directions much?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Alma,

    The energy in your writing is as vibrant as the rolling green hills. From the moment you arrive, you’re ready to explore. And I’m glad to be along for the ride. I like the non-linear references to roundabouts, your thoughts of back home, and starting another day of adventure instead of concluding the post.

    I’ve never been to Ireland so I appreciate the images. They conveyed a lush maritime feel that contrasted well with the utilitarian tones of the map. I’m ready for your next installment or maybe I need to pick up the Portable Joyce that’s sitting patiently on my bookshelf.

    -Michael

    Liked by 1 person

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