Growing up I often felt extreme jealousy of the obsession of my church and schoolmates with all things Irish...green and orange, shamrocks, fonts and unfortunate attempts at a Gaelic inflection. Ireland seemed very nice and quaint and lush but, well, nice and quaint and lush could be found in Wisconsin if you looked hard enough, and why brag about being Irish when I am primarily German in ancestry and hardly know anything but a meager polka to take pride in.
Ok. Now that I am here I am, I do believe, far deeper in love with a place than I have been since we arrived in Europe, and more comfortable, trusting, et al, of the general populace and environment.
I will give a few reasons before handing the laptop back to our barber, Paul, one of Matt's relatives whose hospitality, as seen below, is overwhelming us constantly and standing as a perfect example of the unexaggerated kindness of the Irish.
We arrived a week and a day ago, taking a ferry into Rosslare, traveling the sea in the night and waking up early to see the sun blinding the water, a pure white lighthouse on a lonely rock, its light doing a two-step on the ship, guiding us into the port. At customs we had the sweetest official ever, who gave us a 90-day stamp and assured us that we could extend our stay if we talked to a police officer, and gave us hearty wishes for good travels. He was the kind of person who, if he didn't actually have pictures of his kids in his office, you could imagine them and know that he was a good father.
We took the bus to Tipperary and wandered about a bit, gathering some canned sardines and strawberries and filling up our water from a natural spring, talking a long while with Mrs. Ryan, as well as a visiting Catholic nun, before being invited into a pub for a drink.
So, that was us, just a few hours into the island and already four pints down, all paid by our kindly benefactor, a bartender on his day off.
We had a devil of a time following the trail trail which we were attempting, the Ballyhoura way, and it began to rain on us as we tried to remain cheerful, with very pained soles, shoulders et al. Amazingly, a woman who owns one of the only campings in the area saw us as she was driving home, pulled over, and asked us if we wanted to sleep on her land for the evening. We told her that we weren't very well off financially, and she said that she and her husband would try cutting us a deal, which they did. And so, we got to sleep in a lovely place overlooking the Majestic Glen of Aherlowe (pictures soon forthcoming).
(I wouldn't recommend adhering to that trail, though the towns that it claims to follow are amazing and if you were interested I would offer you a simpler, more reliable route.)
And, that was only our first day. We have had our trials, specifically in Matthew waking up in a puddle after a freak rain storm, but happily that was when we were at the camping and we were able to use their driers.
I will write more soon, but I don't want to hog Paul's computer for long. Take care, and really, come to Ireland and visit, okay? You'll be so glad that you did.