Northern Ireland and Ireland; Two Countries

There is a rock formation in Northern Ireland that Jerome wanted to see and time was tight so we left early in the morning and drove (let’s be clear, HE drove) north to Northern Ireland.

The rock formations are fascinating.  There are only 11 such formations in the world.


It was a rainy day and the there was plenty of hiking to be done.  That yellow hat served well.

Northern Ireland is a different country from Ireland, but there are no border checks they use a different currency and are a part of the United Kingdom.  The guy at the car hire desk assured us that we shouldn’t have any problems, though by the plate on the car they will know we are from Ireland.  Rally?  That bad?  Well, a few weeks ago we were contacted by a few friends to see that we weren’t near Belfast with the dis-rest going on there on July 12.  Ugh.  Sounds kind of scary but there was a sight to see.  It was a zoom-zoom through Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway and then back to Dublin to sleep for a few hours before an early morning flight to Edinburgh.

WE LOVED IRELAND,  Is it a place we would want to return to and spend extended time?  YES from both of us.  It is the birthplace of my great grandfather, who left as a young boy with his family, just one year in to the potato famine.

I love the history.  So much of Irish history has come to America.

We love the rock walls, buildings, streets, homes, fences.

We loved the sea.

We loved Howth and the kids cliff-jumping.  

We loved that when we asked someone’s name it was Sean or Shannon or Paddy or O’Donnell or O’Connell.

We love the tiny diet coke with the tiny ice cube trays, well, not really.

We love the finger-twitch and friendly drivers.

We lovedthat Carol befriended us at the beach and took us along.

We love ice cream cones with candy bars in it.

We love that many Irish have been to America and feel a connection to Americans.

We loved telling them that America is becoming great again and they agree.

We love that there aren’t serving sizes on the packages of cookies.

We (I) love their gourmet donuts (they are WAY better than any I’ve had).

We loved that eating their grains didn’t make us feel sick. (They don’t use round-up in harvesting their wheat.)

We loved their gardens and flower boxes at their doorways.

We loved their doors.

They are colorful, inviting, sometimes creepy and rad and tiny. 

We love their accents and that they call tiny or small “wee”.

We love that their sons and daughters are lads and lasses.

We love that we can drop a pair of slacks off at the alteration shop at 10 am to have them ready by noon.

We love that if the shop-keeper was walking away as you approached his shop he’d come back, unlock and sell you what you wanted.

We love that Ford Motor has a strong presence here.

We loved that Julie of Kilkenny gave us parenting advice.

We love that before a chick gets married her friends throw her a “hen party”.

We love that people are interested in who we are, what we are doing and why we are here.

We love learning little things like “by Hook or by Crook”.

We love the music telling stories of love and longing, farming and fishing.

We love their genuine kindness soft gentle, willingness to help.

We love that every little town or village has all the shops needed, dress shops, tailor/alteration shops, bakeries,

We love that there are so many churches, though not as full and busy as in the past, they still stand for what was important to the Irishman.

We love the diversity of the Irish people.  They are not all freckled-faced redheads.  They are Asian, Indian, African, Spaniards, Eastern European and they are busy, going to school, going to work, helping one another.

We loved that they are happy and they are busy being kind to this Retired and Remote American couple.

We loved watching playoff of their national sport Hurling, and cheering for whatever team’s fans we’re sitting with.

We loved being in a pub full of Croatians the night that Croatia got to the finals of the World Cup.

If it were only one thing that we love, it is her people.

The Quennevilles are on the move, but will always love Ireland.

Next:  On to Scotland.


2 thoughts on “Northern Ireland and Ireland; Two Countries

    1. Hook Lighthouse on the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford will see visitors ascend the 115 steps of the 800-year-old building.

      Hook Head itself is steeped in history and is said to have found its way into common English usage in the saying “By Hook or by Crook.”

      It is claimed that the phrase is derived from a vow by Oliver Cromwell to take Waterford by Hook (on the Wexford side of Waterford Estuary) or by Crook (a village on the Waterford side.


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