Tom Crean – An Unsung Irish Hero

Tom Crean, a remarkable and little known Irishman, ran away to sea aged fifteen, became a polar explorer extraordinaire, but unfortunately until recently, remained an unsung hero in his homeland.

TomCreanPortraitImage Credit

Believe it or not, Crean spent more time in the unexplored Antarctic than Scott or Shackleton. He served and outlived both of these famous men.

Today in County Kerry there is a movement afoot to finally recognize his amazing accomplishments by renaming Kerry Airport as Tom Crean Airport.

In today’s blog post I share his heroic and dramatic story and the wonderful work finally underway to mark his place in history.  I hope after reading his amazing story you’ll join in the quest to have him finally recognized appropriately in his home county.

 

Tom Crean:

 

Tom Crean was born near Annascaul in Co. Kerry, on February 25th 1877. One of ten children his rural Irish childhood was harsh and poverty stricken.

Tom’s schooling probably ended around the age of 12. Three years later after an argument with his father over wayward cows, he ran away from home and enlisted in the Royal Navy.  By September 1899 he had been promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class.

 

Scott’s Expeditions:

 

In 1901 Crean’s ship was in the New Zealand port of Lyttleton where Captain Scott’s ship Discovery was docked. Crean volunteered to replace a deserter from Scott’s expedition team and ended up playing a memorable role in Antarctic exploration.

Over the next three years Crean proved himself to be a reliable and valuable crew member, despite the failure of this expedition to reach the south pole.  Scott recognized his  ‘meritorious service throughout‘ and promoted him to Petty Officer 1st Class.

In 1910 Crean rejoined Scott aboard the Terra Nova in a quest to be the first to reach the south pole. By late 1911 they were within striking distance of the pole, but Scott chose a party of 5 to strike for their target and ordered Crean and two others to return to camp, a 750 mile journey across snow, ice, and glaciers.

Tom_Crean_with_skis_1911Image Credit

One of his companions, Evans became seriously ill. To save his comrade’s life, Crean undertook an 18-hour solo march across 35 miles of ice in trecherous conditions. 

On the 19th February 1912, a disheveled, frost bitten, Crean trundled through the door of Scott’s base camp hut in Antarctica and slumped to the ground.  Thanks to his heroic trek across the harshest terrain on the planet, Evans was rescued.

When Scott failed to return by October 2012, Crean joined a search party to retrace the steps of the famous antartic explorer. They found the frozen remains of the unsuccessful Polar Party.

Crean was awarded the Albert Medal for bravery in saving the life of Lieutenant Teddy Evans.

 

The Endurance Expedition With Shackleton:

 

Crean’s physical and mental strength, his courage and bravery, made him a key member of both of Scott’s expeditions.  Earnest Shackleton requested Tom Crean be amongst his crew members to set out for Antartica on board the Endurance in 1915.

Tom_CreanImage Credit

Tom Crean was the only crew member from the Terra Nova, to ever return to Antarctica.

The Endurance Expedition ended in failure, but Crean excelled on this mission, taking part in one of the greatest survival stories of all time.

The Endurance was trapped in ice before ever reaching Antarctic shores. The crew endured months of entrapment before the ship sank into the icy depths.

Leaving the crew on Elephant Island, Crean was amongst 6 men who crossed the Weddell Sea in a life boat to find help. They battled through hurricanes and ferocious seas to reach South Georgia 800 miles away, before trekking 130 miles of uncharted land to reach the Norwegian whaling station located on the island.

Three attempts to return to Elephant Island failed because of ice, but finally Crean was amongst the rescue party which found the stranded men. Amazingly no lives were lost on the Endurance expedition.

 

An Unsung Hero:

 

Crean was a simple, unpretentious man, who shunned the limelight.   Upon retiring from the Royal Navy Crean quietly returned to Kerry and bought a pub.  He passed away in 1938.

Anascaul,_South_Pole_Inn_-_geograph.org.uk_-_256287

© Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License.

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Recognition for Tom Crean is long overdue.  After saving the lives of many of his colleagues, his achievements are only commemorated in his home town of Annascaul. 

In the year 2000 his story was finally shared with the world through Michael Smith’s book  An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor.

A kid’s book was also published called Ice Man: The Remarkable Adventure of Antarctic Explorer Tom Crean.

Tom Crean’s amazing life is honored on the website Tom Crean / An Irish Antartic Explorer.  Check it out if you get a chance. My brief synopsis of Crean’s courageous feats fails to do justice to his bravery.

Crean is no longer a forgotten hero outside of Ireland.  A glacier in South Georgia was named Crean Glacier in 1953 and in 1965, the Australians named the mountain he crossed to save the life of Teddy Evans, Mount Crean.

It is high time we honored this great Irish man in Ireland.

A Call To Action: 

 

Wherever you may live, you can help achieve the mission of renaming Kerry Airport in his honor, where a worldwide audience could learn more about this great Irish Hero, whose story still largely remains unsung.

Until then it’s up to us, admirers and fans of this great man, to spread the word.

Please share and please like the Facebook page, Kerry Airport Should Be Renamed Tom Crean Airport. Let our sheer weight of numbers wake a country up to a hero they did forget.

This group set a target of 5000 Facebook fans to be reached by Tom Crean’s birthday on February 25th. Just 10 days to go, so why not check it out, give them a like, and the boost they need to reach this target.

Their cause could be considered Tom Crean’s last expedition, so please, join the crew.

 

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

What Is Irish Turf?

When most Americans hear the word “turf”, an image of green grass immediately comes to mind, like the lush green turf of a golf course.  For Irish people the word conjures up dreams of lapping flames, and the distinctive smells of a turf fire.

And so today I thought I might introduce my American readers to Irish turf.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/529507

© Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

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Known as peat in other parts of the world, the Irish prefer the term turf, unless referring to hard, compressed fuel blocks known as peat briquettes.

But whatever you call these brown earthen blocks, I think most Irish people appreciate the warmth and comfort of a turf fire.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/paddymccann/1238684527/in/photostream/

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 Turf is dried peat and was a primary fuel source for Irish people for thousands of years.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/2301210

© Copyright Derek Mayes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

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Upon hearing the word ‘turf’ my husband immediately recalls days of back breaking summer toil, cutting, stacking, drying and bagging winter’s fuel supply. 

When he reached his teenage years, his poor father had to peel him off the bed to come help him in their Donegal bog.  Somehow the lure of an ice cream cone at the end of the day had lost its appeal for a cool teenager.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/1058904

© Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

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In the past, Irish people used turf to heat their homes and cook their food.  Turf was harvested from a bog.  Cutting turf by hand is a laborious task.

A two-sided spade called a sleán is used to slice blocks of peat from the bog.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/1842570

© Copyright Jeremy Durrance and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

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So much work was involved entire families, in years gone by, took part in the summer turf cutting expeditions to the bog.  Everyone’s effort was necessary to save enough fuel to sustain the family throughout the cold winter season.

Preparing turf requires drying it out so that it will ignite when lighted. 

Sods of newly cut turf are laid out in the sun and turned to allow them to dry.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/1537321

© Copyright Pamela Norrington and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License

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The turf blocks or sods are then stacked into small ‘stooks’ as shown in the photo above.

These little towers of peat allow the wind to blow through the sods and help with the drying process.

Standing the sods of turf upright and leaning them against each other is no easy task. This process is called ‘footing’ the turf.

http://www.geograph.ie/photo/487132

© Copyright Liz McCabe and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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Stacking turf is back breaking work.

Very few people cut turf these days, but in some western counties turf stacks can still be seen in the summer months, balancing precariously against each other to dry out in the wind and the sun.

The sods of turf in the picture above are almost ready for the fire.  However, they probably wouldn’t see a match until the cold days of winter.

http://www.irishamericanmom.com/2013/01/09/county-galway-home-of-the-tribesmen

Connemara Turf Pile – © Copyright Chris N Illingworth and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License.

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Once the turf is deemed dry enough it is gathered together into a great mound or rick for storing.

In the summer months of 1846, at the time of the Great Irish Famine (1845 – 1850) many Irish people were too hungry and weak to work in the bog. 

Cutting turf and saving it was exhausting work. A day at the bog was a daunting prospect on an empty stomach.

As a result the poorest Irish folk had an inadequate fuel supply stored for the winter months of 1846-1847. And to make matters even worse, that winter was cruel, with bitterly cold temperatures. 

I have read that people took to drying cow dung to burn in their fires for heating, since they had no turf saved.

Such sad, sad times.

  © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

© Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

Image Credit

Today turf cutting is primarily completed by machinery in the vast bogs of Ireland’s inland counties. But you’ll still see turf stacks in unusual places along the coast.

In the photo above a rick of turf has been gathered on top of the high cliffs overlooking the Atlantic ocean on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal.

Turf Fire in an old Irish hearth

Turf cut from peat bogs may be the traditional fuel in the west of Ireland, but unfortunately it is a smoky fuel. It has been  banned in smokeless urban zones.

In my granny’s cottage kitchen in rural Ireland turf was the fuel of choice. I still remember the bright, lapping flames of the turf fire, and the sweet aromatic scent that permeated her kitchen.

Cozy Fireside - Irish Thatched Cottage

Turf brings back lovely childhood memories.

Let us know in the comment section below if you have ever had the pleasure of warming your toes in front of a glowing turf fire, or perhaps you endured days on end of back breaking labor to save the precious turf when you were a child. I’m looking forward to reading all your stories.

Many Irish pubs in the west of Ireland still burn turf in open fires, helping tourists and locals experience a little bit of the olden ways of Ireland.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

Ireland’s Arched Bridges

Arched stone bridges remind me of Ireland. Dotted around the countryside, they span Ireland’s many streams and rivers.

I love these old bridges. They seem to tell stories of days long gone, and the many generations who passed over their arches in centuries past.

Bennett's Bridge

Bennett’s Bridge, County Kilkenny – © Copyright Kevin Higgins and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License.

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Enduring testaments to the skills of Irish and English engineers from bygone days, these bridges continue to carry their heavy loads, largely ignored by travelers and locals alike.

Shank Bridge, Kells

Shank Bridge, Near Kells and Connor, County Antrim – © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License.

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These ancient arches have spanned the centuries, with most of Ireland’s stone bridges dating back over 150 years.

Some have stood the test of time through many hundreds of years.

Arched Bridge near Macreddin Village, County Wicklow

Arched Bridge near Macreddin Village, County Wicklow

I was surprised to learn over 18,000 masonry bridges support roads in Ireland to this very day.

That’s a long history of bridge building, and these stony masterpieces have demonstrated amazing durability.

Bridge over the Funcheon River, near Marshallstown, County Cork

Bridge over the Funcheon River, near Marshallstown, County Cork

Initially designed to carry horses, carts and carriages, these bridges display formidable inherent strength by carrying heavy traffic loads each and every day.

Droichead na Gabhair, Kildorrery, County Cork

Droichead na Gabhair, Kildorrery, County Cork

Don’t worry. I’m not going to launch into arch theories with intricate diagrams of thrust lines, compression points, or inversion and loading configurations.

My brain aches just typing these mathematical terms.

Abbeytown Bridge, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

“Abbeytown Bridge” by Chris55 at en.wikipedia

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In this post I simply wish to draw attention to these beautiful architectural gems.

Driving around Ireland you might be crossing ancient arches without even knowing it.

Abbeytown Bridge in Boyle, Co. Roscommon dates back to the late 12th century.

This 5-arch bridge could well be the oldest surviving stone bridge in Ireland, with over 800 years of labor under its belt, or above its incredible arches, however you like to look at it.

This ancient bridge has been widened but traffic continues to flow across its span on a daily basis. Simply amazing.

Old Arched Bridge, County Donegal, Ireland

Old Arched Bridge, County Donegal, Ireland

The stone walls bordering this small road are a clue to a hidden gem beneath.

Ramelton, County Donegal, Arched Bridge by Salmon Weir

Ramelton, Co. Donegal

In Ireland, the landscape, the buildings, and even the bridges connect us to the past.

To tell you the truth I’m a bit of a pain as a car passenger. Whenever I see a bridge with rustic looking stone walls, I immediately sense a little bit of history around me.  I never hesitate to interrupt our journey.

Arched bridge near Ramelton, County Donegal

Salmon Weir, County Donegal

“Whoa,” I call out at the sight of a river with old stone walls edging the road.

“What is it now,” asks my husband, pulling over to the side.

“Let’s check out that bridge.”

Before you know it I’ve climbed over the bridge wall and am down in a field with camera in hand.

Multi-arched bridge in County Donegal

Castle Bridge, Buncrana, County Donegal

These stone arches are part of Ireland’s infrastructural heritage, having served us well over the centuries.

I hope the powers that be will choose to conserve these structures for the future.

Bridge in Ramelton, Donegal

Ramelton, Co. Donegal at Christmas

As custodians of history, I hope today’s generations will honor the symbolic importance of these bridges. They are part of our cultural inheritance.

And so, as you travel around Ireland, keep an eye out for her beautiful bridges.  You never know when you may cross one of these architectural masterpieces.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

Knockalla or Port Salon Beach, County Donegal – One Of Ireland’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Ireland’s beaches are spectacular, and one of the most stunning of all is Knockalla Strand, also known as Portsalon Beach, in County Donegal.

And so, as everyone head’s back to work on this Monday morning,I thought why not start the week off with some beautiful scenery.

Hopefully, these peaceful views of Ireland’s shoreline will set the tone for the rest of your week.

Knockalla

Ireland may be a small country, but as an island, she boasts a long and varied coastline.  The actual length of this coastline is debatable, and any statistic for said length is totally dependent on how much detail was used when measuring.

There may always be a hidden cove not traversed or measured.  However, the Ordnance Survey of Ireland estimates the total length of Ireland’s shoreline at 3171 kilometers (approx 1981 miles).

Beaches of Donegal

And Knockalla is no hidden cove. It is approached from an elevated cliff side road, with amazing viewing points along the way. 

Donegal’s coast is festooned (I love that word) with sandy beaches, and Knockalla is probably the most breath taking of all.

Beautiful beaches of Ireland and Donegal

 This is Ireland at its best – the Ireland made famous in poetry, song, legend and film.

Beautiful Donegal

Knockalla lies on the western shores of Lough Swilly, with commanding views of the Inishowen peninsula across the waves.

Beaches like this are why Ireland’s coastline is described as dramatic.

Donegal Coastline

 When designing Ireland, God spared no extravagance.

 

Donegal is an untamed landscape, with three-quarters of its borders formed by the Atlantic Ocean.   The sea has shaped this land.

Ireland's Shoreline

This magnificent beach is a photographer’s paradise.

This is Ireland, at her best – a place of tranquility and great natural beauty.

Most beautiful beach in the world

Portsalon was named the second most beautiful beach in the world by “The Guardian”, or maybe it was “The Observer” newspaper.

I’m not quite sure who awarded this beach the runner-up prize in the world beach beauty pageant, but let’s face it, who cares.

Port Salon Beach

Portsalon’s beauty may be much appreciated around the world, but luckily, the Donegal climate means it can be enjoyed without having to deal with crowds similar to those found on sunny Mediterranean shores.  

These photos were taken on a bright, sunny day, and not a soul can be seen on the strand below…… Only in Ireland……

Sandy beach in Donegal

Even on a cold winter’s day, a run on this beach is perfect for getting rid of excess energy, and clearing the cobwebs from the brain.

Top Ten Beaches in the world

And so, to start my week off on a positive note, I am imagining myself going for a leisurely stroll along a sandy beach in Donegal.

You’re welcome to join me on my mindful morning walk.

 

View from Port Salon

For me, the wind is blowing a soft gentle mist across my face, cleansing my spirit and strengthening me for a busy week ahead.

Stiff breezes feature in all my Irish imaginings – I wonder why?

Donegal Beach

Wishing you all a wonderful week, full of promise and accomplishments.

I hope this little tour of Knockalla Strand has stirred your Irish dreams, and lifted your spirits on this Monday morning.

Remember, ocean blues are the only Monday morning blues allowed in my little corner of the web.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

Top Ten Reasons Why Tourists Love Ireland

I count amongst the millions of people worldwide, who simply love Ireland.  My deep feelings of connection are understandable, since I was born in Dublin.

However, after living in America for over twenty years, I have come to realize, many who have never even set foot on Irish soil, feel the same affinity for our little island.

Irish Scenery Collage

Many reasons explain why we love Ireland.  I suppose every tourist holds in their heart a very personal and special reason why they make the journey across the miles to visit the Emerald Isle.

And I am quite certain some visitors leave Ireland perplexed, unable to figure out what all this Irish, nostalgic hoopla is all about.

And so, in today’s post I thought I would explore the great big WHY.

 

Why do so many hold Ireland dear to their hearts?

 

I have browsed through numerous posts on the internet where reasons to love Ireland are eloquently listed.  I found some focused too much, on what I consider superficial reasons, such as the pubs and the Guinness.

Now don’t get me wrong, Guinness is a fine Irish product and its invention is plenty reason to admire Ireland and the Irish, but in my book, Ireland’s magic springs from a deeper, more spiritual place.

And so, without further ado, here are my top ten reasons, why I think tourists love Ireland.

Irish Animals Collage

 

1. Our Own Unique Music

 

I must confess Irish music makes my heart swell with joy.  Every time I hear the rhythmic beat of a reel or a jig, I take a deep breath, my insides do a little somersault, and my foot inevitably begins to tap.  I don’t know if this is a reflexive expression of my Irish genes, or just sheer appreciation for the vitality of this passionate music form. I truly believe Irish music is a deeply resonant and beautiful expression of our unique culture.

For a country as small as Ireland, it’s amazing how far and wide our music has reached.  Irish dancing classes are taught as far afield as China, which for me is evidence of the uplifting qualities of our tunes.

Most tourists to Ireland take time to enjoy at least one traditional Irish music session at some point on their itinerary.  The moment a listener makes the vital decision to join in, magic happens.

By clapping those hands and tapping those toes, visitors experience the rich and intricate combinations of notes and rhythms, at a spiritual level. Irish music can simply stir the soul.

 

2. Festivals:

 

Ireland is a land of festivals especially during the summer months. With a little planning tourists are sure to find a festival of interest celebrating everything from the arts, architecture, fashion, film, food, literature, music, theatre, and much, much more.

I know you think I’ve lost my marbles by including festivals in this list. At first glance these festivals may appear to be tourist traps. But that is far from the case.

Festivals are part of who we are as a people, part of the tapestry of our wonderful, cultural history. Our Celtic forefathers celebrated the seasons with four distinct festivals. Their social lives revolved around fairs and markets held during these carnivals.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries fairs and marts were held at regular intervals throughout the year, and were highly anticipated by native Irish people. Dancing, drinking and revelry accompanied the more mundane tasks of paying the rent and selling farm animals and produce.  Coming together to connect and to celebrate is part of who we are as a people.

Irish festivals are all about interaction, where the depth and uniqueness of individual Irish characters are waiting to be discovered. Irish people seldom strive for commonality, but revel in the diversity of their individuality. At an Irish festival you meet a cohort of characters unmatched anywhere in the world. Festival goers possess a love of stories, talk and music, a deep-seated wildness, and above all else, an affinity for fun, or what we Irish call ‘divilment’.

http://www.irishamericanmom.com/2013/01/11/why-are-irish-americans-so-captivated-by-ireland/

 

3. A Hundred Thousand Welcomes:

 

“Céad míle fáilte” is one of the most loved Irish expressions worldwide, and it literally means a hundred thousand welcomes. Irish people are very proud of the welcome they extend to visitors.  Now I hope I’m not painting a picture of smiling leprechauns greeting you with a canned “Top of the Morning” salutation at the airport.

No!  Ireland’s welcome is more subtle.  It revolves around a chat, a friendly nod, a reserved inquisitiveness. A lady I met on a plane when I was returning to America once told me:

 

“Ireland feels like a dear old friend.”

 

 

I love this description, and I truly hope visitors feel welcomed home by their dear friend, Ireland.

 

4. Peace and Tranquility:

 

The moment I set foot on Irish soil, an overwhelming sense of calm and peace, overcomes me. I always think of Yeats’ poem The Lake Isle of Inishfree.

 

“And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.”

 

 

Ireland offers true quietness for those who seek tranquility. I believe it is one of the best countries in the world to relax and unwind. Remote and romantic, Ireland offers a laid-back charm, with a unique sense of place.

The sound of silence in rural Ireland is unparalleled. For me, it is a hymn to the surrounding landscape and magnificent scenery.

Even when the rain falls in bucketfuls, as is so apt to happen, it simply takes an evening sitting by an open fire for real warmth and peace to transform the soul. The scent of a turf fire, appreciated from the comfort of a welcoming chair, is simply magic.

History All Around in Ireland

 

5. History All Around:

 

In Ireland, the old and the new co-mingle with grace. Our ancient past is evident nearly everywhere through our history, music, art, and architecture.

In America 100 years is considered “old”. But in Ireland one hundred year old buildings are considered modern additions.  In every small town and village visitors encounter sites much older than historical landmarks found in America

To sum it up, Ireland is steeped in history, and that history is evident everywhere you go. Ireland’s first known settlement began way back in 8,000 BC.  Newgrange, is older than the pyramids. The land boasts ancient castles, dolmens, burial tombs, arched bridges, round towers, and monastic ruins, dotted here and there throughout the countryside.

Preservation of our history is no accident. Reverence for ancient sites is inherent in some Irish souls.  Farmers plough in circles around ancient monuments, afraid to disturb the memory of long lost ancestors. Museums are frequented by both young and old, eager and willing to learn and preserve our country’s fascinating past.

 

6. Folklore and Stories:

 

Rest assured a story awaits you in Ireland. From tour guides to barmen, shop keepers to farmers, everyone treasures stories of our recent history and distant past.  Ireland’s charm is wrapped in myths and legends.

Our stories are filled with heroic warriors, deadly goddesses and trouble-making supernatural creatures. Folk tales from mainland Europe focus more on fairy godmothers, talking animals and, of course, wicked stepmothers. A few colleens with a severe lack of maternal instinct also feature in Irish myths, but in contrast to the Hans Christian Anderson variety of fairy tale, the Irish ones are filled with romance and tragedy, ghosts and other worldly beings. To tell you the truth, some of these tales would frighten the life out of a child today. But these stories are part of who we are, and feature regularly on tourist trails.

Once when we visited Donegal, we took a boat cruise on Dunlewey Lake. The tour guide told stories of all the mythical creatures and ghosts surrounding the lake. My American children were enthralled.

No banal, politically correct tales to be heard in Ireland, but in their stead thrilling sagas of ancient warriors, saints, sinners, and lingering spirits.

Who cannot love this superstitious land?

The Beauty of Ireland's Coastline

 

7. The Coast And The Islands:

 

Ireland may be a small country, but as an island, she boasts a great expanse of rugged beauty along her winding, and sometimes treacherous coastline.  I grew up on the coast, with views of Dublin Bay at the end of our road. The sound of waves and howling winds are part of my childhood. Living in Kentucky, I miss the sea, wind swept gales, Atlantic sunsets, and the sheer beauty of Ireland’s coastline.

From Howth to the Giant’s Causeway, Malin Head to Mizen Head, the Cliffs of Moher and all the wonderful spots along the Wild Atlantic Way, I truly believe this island’s magnificent coastline, is one of its finest attributes.

 

8. The Scenery:

 

During the many years I have lived in America, I have often been asked:

 

“Is Ireland as beautiful as it seems in photos?”

 

And the answer to this question is a simple and resounding “yes”.

To be honest, Ireland’s scenery must be seen to be believed. It is even more beautiful than it appears in any photo or postcard. No image does Ireland justice. Even cloudy skies coordinate magnificently with mythical stones and ancient ruins.

When the sun doesn’t cooperate, Ireland’s beauty still shines.  Around every twist and turn of Ireland’s winding roads, awaits yet another new reason to smile.

 

Irish Food Collage 2

9. Irish Food:

 

In previous posts, I have waxed poetically about the glories of Irish food, and I still make no apologies for Irish food.  Traditional Irish food is hearty and wholesome, comforting and filling.

Irish dishes provide healthy helpings of meat, oodles of veggies and, of course, the pride of every Irish mother’s table, potatoes.  After a spoonful of Irish stew, or a warming bowl of potato and leek soup, it will be easy to understand why I rate Irish food so highly

My advice for tourists is to dig into a plate of bacon and cabbage, savor our brown bread, and treat yourself to a full Irish breakfast. You’ll leave Ireland understanding how simple, wholesome food feeds the soul.

 

10. Irish Pride:

 

And last, but not least, comes Irish pride. We Irish live and breathe our heritage.  From a very young age, we learn our history through myth and legend.  For centuries we clung to our culture, even when our conquerors tried to strip us of our heritage. This Irish pride has been carried by generations to the four corners of the world.

But when you visit Ireland you will learn the subtle differences in our heritage and how our cultural inheritance changes from county to county. A tourist’s experience in the Burren in County Clare is vastly different from the memories created in County Donegal, but everywhere you go on this little island, you will be enthralled by the pride people feel in their local village, town, and county. History and heritage survive, because Irish people choose not only to remember the past but to practice old traditions with pride.

 

And so I hope this little list, will help you understand why you may already love Ireland, or if you plan to visit the Emerald Isle in the near future, it will help you understand you too may be at risk of falling in love with Ireland.  If you think of another reason to love Ireland, why not join in our discussion in the comment section below.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

 

Irish American Mom