The ferry ride from Holyhead to Dublin was rough seas. As we moved out into the Irish Sea, the deck started to drop away beneath our feet, only to rise up and nearly collapse our legs under us with the sudden upward thrust of the waves. We rode out the seasickness by laying down, sprawling across the bench seats in the lounge for the duration of the voyage.
Luckily, by the time we reached Dublin, the sky was clear and the city lights glittered over wet pavement. We drove quietly South out of Dublin in the dark, eager for the end of transit. The clear sea breeze that greeted us when we climbed out of the car that evening was refreshing after spending so much time driving from France, through Switzerland and Belgium and across the UK, and it was comforting to reconnect with the rest of the family who had arrived a few days before.
That night the fickle Irish Winter flipped her face again and the howling wind came screaming through the doors we left cracked to the cool night air. Since then, Irish weather has continued to alternate, one minute showing us sun on endless green fields rolling away toward the sea, and in the next, the wind picks up bringing with it rain and rogue sea spray in horizontal sheets. Sun dappled views or Screaming Banshees, it all seems so appropriately Irish either way.
From the sunroom in our house in Ireland the views are incredible. Rolling green hills crazily crossed by hedgerows and clumped with the purple grays of un-identifiable shrubbery. Sea birds circle like lazy teenagers, heckling at each other and sailing on the breeze. Of course, just as I write this, one of the sea bird’s droppings splattered right into the glass sunroom doors. There is always a little bit of tarnish somewhere, isn’t there? Some unpleasant side. Right now, however, with the sun sparkling off the distant waves, and the sound of the church bells barely reaching us on the breeze, it is hard to imagine Ireland has anything worse in store for us than this endless rolling green.
When the weather is calm, you can see elusive fox and the occasional pheasant. I imagine when we get a chance to quietly walk along the fields on a clear day, there will be a great number of other creatures to see. It is a beautiful place. I can’t say that enough. I just wish my cell phone camera was adequate to convey the magic of the place.
Last night some of us went down the street to the closest village pub. It was everything you might imagine in a pub in Ireland: a dark wooden bar with an assortment of taps with Guinness, Beamish and Murphy’s, and various Irish Whiskeys. The patrons had the look of long lives spent wearing away their places into the worn wood of their seats. They looked at us with curiosity (I don’t imagine they get many strangers outside tourist season in a pub so small), but they greeted us with genuine friendliness, even so. We sipped our Stout and looked at the pictures lining the walls of local fishing and sailing. When we left the whole bar called out well wishes, as if sitting in the same room through a round of drinks meant we were nearly old friends. That is the kind of hospitality Ireland seems to offer. It kind of feels like home, to me.