Last week, my husband and I were in Ireland. We visited because I had been accepted at an academic conference in Limerick. In fact, the paper I submitted with my colleague Breeanne ended up winning the Hayhoe Fellow Award, or the award for the best graduate student paper.
We spent a day in Dublin. We got there from Limerick by driving. My husband did a great job driving on the left side of the road with a manual transmission. We had a few close and scary calls, but nothing major. We only got honked at twice the entire week. In Dublin, we attended church, and then basically walked around the city center and visited a few of the major sites there, like the Trinity College library. I also got my picture taken with Oscar Wilde!
We also visited the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive reminder that humans are small and weak compared to nature. I enjoyed the hiking on the coastal cliffs, but had a full-blown panic attack when Breeanne decided to hang her legs over the edge of the cliff. And my husband, Mike, wanted to do the same. I plastered myself against some rocks as far from the edge as I could and hysterically cried with my face in my hands while Mike took a picture of Breeanne putting half of her body over the edge of a 700-foot cliff. Mike ended up not doing it since I was so upset. However, Mike did get electrocuted! Along the cliffs is some private property with sheep grazing. The fence surrounding them is electrified, and when Mike casually leaned against it, he completed the circuit and got the shock of his life!
We spent time at Lough Gur, and found impressive the big stone circle from ancient history.
We also visited a few castles. Bunratty Castle was a fun tour.
We had a medieval banquet at Knappogue Castle with the conference, so I got a picture of me and Breeanne with one of our professors, Dr. Walton.
I really wanted to take this couch home with me, but it wouldn’t fit in my luggage.
The Rock of Cashel was beautiful. It was in ruins, but impressive and had nice views. We also hiked down from it to Hore Abbey in the field below. These sites were one hour from our hotel, and the Rock of Cashel closed at 7 pm. We got to the site right at 6:15, when they would allow the last visitors to enter. I ran up the hill to the entrance, only to find that they did not take credit cards. We had spent our last euros just hours before, as it was our last day in Ireland. The man at the desk, seeing my face and my disappointment, welcomed us in for free.
One of the greatest things about Ireland is the people. They are some of the kindest I’ve ever met.
Here is the limerick I wrote about my time in Limerick.
There once were two women from the U.S.
They went to Ireland dressed in their best.
They won an award and traipsed the Cliffs of Moher.
Now they are done being stressed!