Ireland offers tourists an amazing vacation opportunity – the ability to experience the magic of staying in a thatched cottage. Today’s blog post is a photo tour of one such cottage in County Galway, inviting you to enter into the world of a bygone era.
As you read, why not imagine yourself sitting back, relaxing and warming your toes by a blazing fire, and savoring the old world charm of its welcoming atmosphere.
Beneath that cozy thatched roof, personal stories may simmer, helping you discover who you are, where you came from, what life means, and how you wish to define it.
Living as our ancestors lived before us is an experience to be remembered for a lifetime (even if a few extra modern amenities make our stay a little less burdensome than in years gone by).
Surrounded by these walls, history and identity converge. The power of a thatched house to overwhelm you with emotion may be surprising. The simplicity of its design stands in stark contrast to the space and extravagance of our homes today.
Thatched cottages are enduring symbols of the people of Ireland. Generations may have come and gone, by the time an immigrant’s descendant returns to Ireland. But each individual journey marks the distances we have traveled. By staying in a thatched cottage the circle is completed.
As you peer through a cottage window your soul finds comfort in the peaceful setting, a heightened awareness of ancestral memories, and a powerful connection with the past.
A winding, country road (or boreen as we say in Ireland) brings the vacationer off the beaten track, through rugged countryside as far as the eye can see, only to find a truly idyllic escape from the real world
White-washed pillars and swinging wrought iron gates hold their own special charm. House walls and pillars are built of stacked stones of every shape and size, meticulously fitted together like a jig-saw puzzle. These old stones have withstood the test of time. Mortared with a wet earthen mixture, the exterior is covered with a layer of plaster, before a final coat of white-wash.
Acquiring land and a thatched cottage was a major achievement for the Irishman of the 19th century. Few ever experienced the joy of owning the house they built with their bare hands. The land could never be theirs. Despite their loving labor, their homes remained the property of their landlord, with rent due for the land on which it was built, every six months.
Here is a passage from a novel I am currently working on, describing one Irishman’s pride in his humble home. Set at the time of the Great Hunger (1845-50), this book tells the story of Noreen and Connor. Here he inspects his thatched cottage before heading towards town to pay his rent:
“Striding purposefully out of the yard, with Noreen by his side, Connor turned to look back at his property. The white washed cottage wore its sunny, straw bonnet of thatch, smiling happily at the world. Newly planted rose bushes clung lovingly to the white walls, eager to ramble further once spring arrived. It was a pretty house, filling his heart with pride. A contented smile broadened his lips….
…. Behind the house, neat, fields spread in a glorious patchwork to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The familiar vista made his heart sing. His eyes swept across the fields to the verge, where the eye perceived land and ocean met. Grass grew lush in the constant rain. Nettles adopted a deep green hue nodding under the weight of rain droplets. He turned to his wife with a look of pride in his achievement….”
If walls could talk, boy would these sheltering stones have stories to tell. There are few old hearths in Ireland where our ancestors did not gather, to tell tall tales and to hear stories about family, neighbors, ghosts, mythical monsters, and ancient warriors and heroes.
After an evening of story telling, warm, cozy bedrooms await the weary traveler. In the dark, stillness of an Irish night a refreshing, peaceful sleep can be enjoyed, like in no other place on earth.
My dreams of Ireland revolve around thatched cottages in rustic settings, inviting me to unwind and get away from it all. A cottage get-away is something I highly recommend.
A big thanks to Mary, the owner of this lovely thatched cottage, for sharing these beautiful photos with us today.
It is located in the beautiful town of Spiddal, Co. Galway. To rent this cottage, you can contact Mary at:
091-505819 or from the US dial 011-353-91-505819
You can also contact Mary through Facebook – ‘Tigh Eddie’ Traditional Thatched Cottage.
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom