My dream had always been to go to Scotland. When the trip I was planning on changed to include Ireland, I was happy about it, but it was Scotland I was excited about most.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with Ireland. I will miss the Irish Sea for the rest of my life. The people were warm and friendly, full of fun and stories. I was hooked before I knew it. The traditional music also grabbed me, but I’ve always loved Celtic melodies.
Isn’t it a wonderful surprise when something we had hoped for turns out far better than we imagined? That doesn’t happen often.
The photograph is of the Castle at Cashel. It was the home of the High Kings of Ireland. It was the first stop on our long journey of 26 days. We had just gotten off the plane and I had not slept all night. After racing through the airport with a heavy backpack to catch our connection to Dublin, one knee was killing me. But even far below my normal self, I was overwhelmed with the reality of standing in the place where Brian Boru reigned and ruled and the High Kings and Queens that followed for centuries.
Standing alone in the courtyard with my camera, I could suddenly hear the creak of leather on saddles, the smell of horses, the sound of children scurrying about and dogs barking. I could hear the clank of swords and the busy sounds of life when the castle was occupied and full. I was breathing the air they breathed, touching the stones that provided home and protection for them. I was right there in the place where the High Kings made battle decisions, married off their daughters as part of treaties and military alliances. I was there where Queens wept when their sons did not return form battle and old kings were replaced with new.
I know I have a wide open imagination, but every once in a while we have the privilege of glimpsing beyond our time and space. My first impression of Ireland went deep.
I dropped and broke one of my cameras there – our first stop. I’m very thankful I had a spare. I was tired and frustrated because of the accident, but just being there wiped away any remorse about a spare camera being broken.
For the next several days I will write about our journey and the things we saw and people we met. I will also share photos of each place. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Ireland, Scotland, England, or Wales, I will take you with me on our journey as I revisit our stops along the way.