Monday, 11 April 2011


I fell in love with Ireland in 2007.  Before that, I’d only made two very brief visits, a day trip to Dublin in my teens and a flying visit (literally!) to speak at a conference in Antrim in the 1990’s.  However, my very first fan-fiction story was set partly in Ireland and I wanted to check out the background details.  So in October 2007 a friend and I went to Galway for a few days.

Since then, I’ve been back seven times, and I’m going again at the end of May.  I’ve tried to define just what it is about the ‘Emerald Isle’ which draws me back there.

Of course, the scenery is one of the reasons.  The west coast is breath-taking –

sheer cliffs rising from the sea

beautiful bays  

breath-taking views

and, of course, the sun setting over Galway Bay.

Inland, the mountain areas are spectacular – my favourite area is Connemara.

Then there’s the heritage  - ranging from pre-historic to more modern history.  Wherever you go, you can’t get away from the richness of Ireland’s history.  Castles, abbeys, ruined monastic sites, and deserted famine villages.

I love Galway City – from the bustling narrow streets in the centre, lined with shops, small cafes and pubs, where University students mingle with tourists, and where buskers play fiddles at every street corner – to the quiet charm of Claddagh with its colourful cottages lining the quayside.

These days you can visit ‘Irish Pubs’ in cities all over the world, but nothing compares with a REAL Irish pub, with its nooks and crannies and snugs (small private rooms with just one table), the babble of Irish voices around you and a small group of musicians playing real Irish music.  Sheer magic! (and the food (“pub grub”) is pretty good too!)

There are so many more things I could mention, but I'll end with this one.  The Irish people are so friendly.  Complete strangers will chat to you in cafes and bars, they’ll wish you ‘good morning’ (not ‘top o’th’morning’ – which is Hollywood Irish!) when you’re in a small Irish village, and they’re more than helpful in every hotel, shop, cafe and tourist attraction I've visited.



  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and colorful pictures of Ireland. One line of my family ancestors came from Tipperary via Canada and I plan to visit Ireland one day as part of my genealogy research.

  2. Oh man, now I totally want to go to Ireland. I was already half-contemplating setting a story there. Those photos, how could I resist?
    - Sophia.

  3. Thank you so much for the journey this morning! Beautiful photographs! :)

  4. Gail - I shall be visiting Co. Tipperary again in May, mianly the area around Lough Derg which is a beautiful lake.

    Sophia - I'm also thinking of setting a story in Ireland.

    Jeffrey - I defy anyone not to take good photos in Ireland as there are so many beautiful scenes there.

    Thank you all for visiting today!

  5. Feels like I've taken a little trip to Ireland... love your descriptive details about the place, which reveal its charm. Those photos are gorgeous!

  6. Thanks, Jade, glad you enjoyed them. I have dozens more - and will be adding to my collection when I go to Ireland again in May!

  7. Oh my, it's just breathtaking there!

  8. If I stretch the pictures to fill the screen I feel as if I am there.

  9. Thanks, Emily and Giggles - so pleased you like the photos. I picked out the ones I thought best represented the sheer beauty of Ireland - although it wasn't an easy task to choose between my many photos from my visits there.

  10. I must let you know about some of the great places to go in and around Dublin! Those are some beautiful photographs.

  11. Thanks, Paul. I love Dalkey and the view of Killiney Bay is stunning. Scenery in the Wicklow Mountains is awesome too.
    And Dublin is great - will be there again soon!

  12. Incredible pictures! I'm happy to have met you through the A to Z challenge. I live in an area that I've been told resembles Ireland, although I'm inland. There are no breathtaking views of the ocean where I live, in SE Washington, USA.