These first days in Ireland have been, as travel can be I suppose, a bit of a rough start. Having heard so often that this is a country best traveled by car, we decided that would be the best way to cover the most ground, to really have the freedom to get off the well-beaten tourist trail. And, while this may be true, once we arrived we found the car to come with lots of added expenses that we hadn’t anticipated, and so I’ll now be coming back a bit earlier than initially planned to make up for that mistake. That unexpected challenge coupled with some sort of bug that we picked up somewhere, first myself and then, as soon as I was feeling better, my traveling partner and husband J., made for an exhausting and somewhat frustrating beginning.
But, the days are cool and beautiful here and the light is very long, and since we’ve left Dublin and struck out for the southeast coast, things have started to look up again. We are staying tonight somewhere in between the coastal fishing town of Bantry and its slightly northern neighbor Glengarriff, hosted by the most gracious and enthusiastic A., as well as what seems like a whole herd of dogs and cats, in her quirky 300 year old home that she completely restored from the inside out. It is cluttered and a little crazy in just the right ways. Ways that would surely irk me if it were my own place, but that I find easy to overlook when it is someone else’s, particularly someone so warm and inviting. Tonight, after a meal of take-away fish and chips in town, we sat outside with A. and her friends, slowly sipping very sweet elderflower wine, until the sun finally set close to ten o’clock and watched the lightning off in the distance over the ocean light up the whole sky as it got dark.
Ireland is, thus far, full of the unexpected. And I am a planner. A planner who isn’t always so keen on sudden changes in plan. Ireland seems determined to beat that tendency out of me, at least a little bit. I am very lucky to be here, in a place whose writers have caught my imagination for so long, even if the plan changes a bit as I go. The best plans usually do.