Ireland in Summary: What I Really Think About The Emerald Isle, How To Talk Irish, and The Most Ridiculous (Amount Of) Selfies Ever

Everyone said I would fall in love when I went to Ireland.  Everyone was positive that it would happen, and I know everyone wanted that for me, even though I was doubting it all the way through.  I haven't had the best luck in love in my life, and it didn't seem like that would change just because I had a change in geography.  I really never thought it was going to happen.  And then it did.  I have said it before and I'll say it again:  I fell in love with one of the best people I've ever met and I loved every day I got to spend with him.  I still feel that way.  But that was just my first love story in Ireland.  The second was falling in love with Ireland itself.  And here's the truth, and here's why I am opening up this blog post telling you about my Irish love life:  because without one love story, I don't know if I would have had the other.  

It's funny how words escape us when we want them the most.  Have you ever noticed that?  Whether it's a comeback you came up with too late, or words you're too afraid to say out loud, or that moment when you see the person you like and instead of sounding cool and suave you start stuttering and talking in gibberish?  One year later, I sit here staring at my keyboard.  I'm trying to find the words to best summarize three whole months of my life.  Normally, this would be so easy to do.  I can summarize the last three months in Vermont in one sentence:  it's gotten warmer since March and I have been trying new things and getting out on the lake more to enjoy the nice weather with friends.  There.  Three months summarized.  But how do you summarize a life-changing trip?  How do you summarize falling in love?  How do you summarize sunrises and sunsets and all the perfect little moments in between them?  How do you summarize finding yourself and then losing yourself completely to another person?  You try, I guess.  You put pen to paper... or fingers to keyboard, I should say, and you try to get it out so that you never forget.  So here's my effort at that.  Here's the truth, as honestly as I can say it, as clearly as I can remember it.  Here's the whole shebang; the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

For years, I built Ireland up in my mind.  I had wanted to go there since forever. I had seen a million beautiful photos, watched every Irish movie I could get my hands on, poured over the tour books and obsessed and planned and dreamed about Ireland being exactly how it was in the those movies, those books, those pictures.  And when you build something up in your head like that, to unattainably high standards, you are bound to be disappointed.  It's unavoidable.  And so when I arrived in Ireland, and it was COLD, snowy and rainy, and didn't look like the pictures, and I didn't meet an actual Irish person for what seemed like days, I was disappointed.  That's right, I just said I was disappointed in Ireland.  Now, granted, I had chosen to arrive in Ireland right before St. Patrick's Day, and hadn't realized what a complete sh*t show that would be... and while it did turn out great once friends joined me for a few days, it wasn't the REAL Ireland to me.  The one I felt I had come to see.   It was masses of vomiting tourists wearing seas of orange and green, and it was drunken mayhem and screaming outside the hotel windows and a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty for me, a question of whether I had made the right choice.  But this was just Dublin, I told myself.  This was Dublin on St. Patrick's Day.  What else could I expect?  As soon as I left Dublin, it would be how it was in the movies and the postcards.  I thought my disappointment would fade away as quickly as the Dublin skyline in my rearview mirror.  And here's the first unfortunate truth:  it didn't.  I continued, for a few weeks, to be disappointed by Ireland.  Because here was the reality I found:

 

-the weather is terrible

-the people were friendly but not overly friendly

-it's more modern than you expect it to be

 

Those are the three truths I was having a hard time accepting those first few weeks in Ireland.  Let me go one by one...

 

The weather:  Yes, everyone knows that it rains a lot in Ireland.  EVERYONE knows this.  My dad was only too happy to point it out about 500 times before I left.  And my answer was always:  "It's what makes it so green!"  So yes, maybe I was a little naive about the amount of rain I would experience while in Ireland.  But you expect the rain.  You don't think about what comes with it, which is WIND.  My god, the wind.  I cannot even describe it.  Some days I literally felt like I could get to England if I just grabbed an umbrella and pointed it in the right direction.  You could literally be leaning into the wind and be standing upright... it was like doing trust falls with Mother Nature.  The wind was terrible!  As for the rain... it's one major thing that makes the rain sort of unbearable: it falls without fail every day.  It's not like being in the states when you can go to the beach and plan to be there all day when the weather is nice.  Irish weather doesn't hold out for the whole day, so at some point in your day, it is going to mess up your plans.  AND your hair.  Be warned.  I bought a rainjacket with a hood and I still ended up looking like Tina Turner most days.

 

The people:  Everyone told me Irish people would be the friendliest people I would ever meet, that they would hear my accent and immediately want to know all about me and where I was from.  Now, while I did meet my fair share of incredible Irish people, and I did find so many of them welcoming and friendly, I'm going to be completely candid here:  it wasn't at all to the level that I expected.  I'M SORRY!!!  I feel like saying that gets me kicked out of the club or something.  I feel bad saying it, I really do.  But first off, these are people who are used to tourists swarming their big cities and small villages ALL THE TIME, so hearing an accent is a daily occurrence.  I really didn't find one person who was impressed with mine... in fact, if anything, I'd say having an American accent was a point in the negative column for me!  No one heard it and wanted to know where I was from in America.  Really, I can't think of one instance of that happening.  I, of course, reached out and told my story and did meet several great people along the way, but most of the time I felt that I was sort of forcing my story ON THEM, trying to engage and hear about them and make friends when they didn't seem all that interested.  I really didn't feel that anyone was going out of their way to be overly friendly to me, in pubs and things like that.  Secondly, do you want to know who WAS doing that and who, time and time again, I felt I was really connecting with?  AMERICANS.  I am not kidding.  Several times in my trip, I met amazing people who wanted to take the time to chat with me, who wanted to drink with me and hang out and hear about my trip and tell me about theirs and just to have a good time together, since that's what traveling is all about.  It really reaffirmed my faith in people opening up their hearts to you... I really felt like Irish people were much tougher around the edges and harder to break through than I expected.

 

The modern-ness of it all:  This one was foolish on my part, but quite honestly, I pictured Ireland to look EXACTLY how it does in movies like Circle of Friends or Leap Year.  And it does, for the most part.  The scenery is spectacular:  the rolling green hills, the dramatic cliffs, the castle ruins, the miles and miles of stone walls and the miles and miles of coastal cliffs.  But unless you're on the Aran Islands (one of my favorite stops, clearly), the houses are completely modern and don't have any of that "old Ireland" feel to them.  You have to go out of your way, or to an attraction like the Bunratty Castle Folk Park or Muckross House Traditional Farms, to find a thatched roof house.  I thought they would be a dime a dozen.  Also, not every guy at the bar is a farmer looking for a wife and a dowry.  Not every bar plays traditional music, and you don't just meet gorgeous guys walking down the road like they do in P.S. I Love You.  Okay, I guess none of that has anything to do with the modern style of the buildings, but still, you get what I mean.  I guess a more appropriate title for this bullet point would be "It's not like it is in the movies."  Because it's not.

 

There were some other things that bothered me too.  One major issue I had was seeing kids in bars all the time.  Not restaurant style bars... I'm talking BAR bars, with no windows and virtually no stimulation for children.  So many times, I would look over and see little feet swinging from a very high stool, a little girl or boy sipping Coke from a straw, eyes glued on the corner TV while their mom or dad or aunt or uncle drank pints with friends.  At first I thought it was just me that it bothered because I am an American and such a thing wouldn't be allowed here, but one night driving back to Cork an Irish radio deejay brought it up and was saying that it shocked and disappointed him and had several callers who agreed that there is no reason for kids to be in bars so late at night.  I was glad that I wasn't just overreacting.  I'm not sure what the exact law in Ireland is regarding kids in bars, but it either needs to be updated or more strongly enforced.

 

So there it is.  The bad.  Or the ugly.  Whatever you choose to call it.  There were other things of course... everyone has bad days and I'm sure I had more than a few, missing my family and friends and feeling lonely in a foreign place.  But I was determined to stick it out, determined to prove to myself how much I could accomplish on my own, and determined to fall in love with Ireland the way I had always planned to.  It was about to happen... I just couldn't see it yet.

 

I have been single for about ten years.  That is not to say I haven't been out on dates or had crushes or come close to falling in love.  I have not been sitting in my bedroom for the past ten years, pining away while staring longingly at my Prince William poster (AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS A DAMN LIAR!!! ;).  I have dated.  But I have never felt that click, that spark, that moment that you just know.  I'm not talking about an initial meeting, or love at first sight.  People like me don't really believe in that sort of thing.  What I am talking about is that moment of pure trust, of looking at someone and knowing that they love you completely, that you can put your heart in their hands because you're already holding theirs, that from that moment on you can rest easier because you are completely safe and protected.  I never reached that level with anyone else, ever.  And saying hello to Kevin that first night, I never predicted that I would soon know exactly what that felt like.  It was just a hello at a bar, while I tried to kill time between my dinner and the music starting.  But what's that saying?  "A simple hello could lead to a million things"?  It's so true.  So freakin true.

 

From the moment we met, Kevin and I were inseparable.  We made each other laugh, we told each other our sad stories and our happy ones, we adventured together and explored together and saw new things together.  I put up with his terrible dancing skills and he put up with my equally terrible singing voice.  We both slept with our heads under separate pillows to drown out the other person snoring, but it was a small price to pay to be able to fall asleep next to each other every night.  And my favorite spot in Ireland?  It quickly became the spot on his shoulder that I would nestle in to while we drove to our next adventure.  It was one of my favorite routines with him, actually... he wouldn't start the engine to the car until I had slid across the seat and rested my head there.

 

I wasn't expecting to fall in love with Kevin so quickly, and I hate admitting how fast it happened because it almost somehow cheapens it.  It was like a relationship on speed, because we knew we only had a certain amount of time.  We would joke that in dog years we had already been together forever, so it was okay to be in love already.  And because it was okay with him, I gave in to it and let it sweep me up and let it become another stop on this journey.  Like seeing the Cliffs of Moher or kissing the Blarney Stone, loving him became a picture on Instagram, a check off of my bucket list.  It became as real and as tangible as the claddagh ring on my finger, that for once was pointed in the right direction.  I finally knew what everyone had been talking about for so long.  This feeling, this person... this was EVERYTHING.

 

Falling in love opens up your heart in ways that defy description.  And in those first few days and weeks with Kevin, I started to see things differently.  Not just when he was with me, pointing things out and showing me Ireland through his eyes.  It was when I was alone, too... I felt more confident in myself, I felt myself open up more, I started showing a side of myself that I'm not sure I knew was there.  I felt like I started showing Kevin and everyone I met along the way who I really was... this dream that had finally come into realization because someone else had seen it and held up my mirror.  When we couldn't be together, we talked on the phone a few times a day and I would always tell him about the amazing thing I had seen or the great meal I had just had.  I started noticing how happy I was all the time... it sounds cheesy, but one day it was pouring in Sligo and I got caught in it without my wellies on.  And by the time I got to the B&B I was completely soaked, but the first thing I told Kevin on the phone was about the rainbow I had just seen.  The rain, and getting caught in it, wasn't the story that day.  I really slowed down, stopped overthinking, and let Ireland reveal itself to me.  I looked around, opened my eyes a little wider, and there it was.  The Ireland I had dreamed about.  Would I have noticed it without Kevin?  Maybe.  But then again, maybe that's who he was meant to be in my story.  This person who was put on my path to hold up a magnifying glass and show me what I was overlooking, not just in myself but all around me.  How can you not be grateful for that, even if you know you can't keep it?  That's like a blind person being able to see the ocean, just for a minute.  Would they complain about not having longer to stare at it's beauty?  Or would they spend the rest of their days finding new words to describe its wonder?

 

I met Kevin exactly halfway through my time in Ireland.  Really... I was in Ireland for 12 weeks, and I met him 6 weeks in, almost to the day.  He would always say he wished we had met sooner.  Right now, missing him... I would agree and give anything to have those extra few weeks together.  But I have believed from the beginning that it happened exactly how it was supposed to.  I was supposed to spend those first few weeks the way I did, the bad days and the good.  I needed that time to show myself how much I was capable of and what I could handle on my own.  And I needed him to come along exactly when he did, to show me how much happiness can be multiplied when you're sharing it with someone.  I never knew that before.  I know it now.

 

So that's the best way I can tell you about this person I fell in love with, and what happened with him, which was everything and then nothing.  We tried to keep it together when I got home, and spent several weeks WhatsApping and arranging calls with a 5 hour time difference between us and planning trips to visit each other that would never come to fruition.  The truth is not every long distance romance is meant to last.  I'm sure for every successful one you hear about, there's about ten that fail.    And that's the best way to explain the heartbreak, the tears, the months of frustration and devastation and the months I spent specifically NOT looking at Ireland photos.  I know so many people probably just thought I was being downright lazy by not blogging my trip photos right away, but the truth is it's taken me this long to be okay with LOOKING at them.  The sadness came in waves, and I let it.  Sometimes the mood would hit me and I would be okay enough to cull through photos and pick out the ones I wanted to share.  More often, I wouldn't even want to hear the word Ireland because it would make my heart ache.  Daily reminders were everywhere, too, and each time I felt a thousand little knives stabbing me all over.  Ask me how excited I was when I discovered there is a huge concrete company called S.D. Ireland based very close to me in Burlington, and their trucks are EVERYWHERE, with a giant clover as their logo.  There's a street I pass a lot called Irish Rover Lane.  Do you know what it's like to be in the grocery store clutching a package of Kerrygold butter and crying?  Because I do.  And the song... THE song... the song that I can't seem to get away from, the one Kevin and I listened to over and over while we drove all over the country with my head on his shoulder... that song still sends me into a tailspin and I have to shut it off, or get away from it, every time it comes on, or I will end up on the side of the road fighting for air.  It's happened more times than I care to recount.

 

Those are the painful moments,  the side effects of great memories that are now packed in a Rubbermaid container and shoved in a closet in my dad's house.  I packed everything away... my claddagh ring, the shell I found on our first day together and kept, the wool pom pom hat I got at the Aran Island sweater market that he laughed at as I snapped a selfie in the front seat of his car.  It's all in a place where I won't see it.  I'm not there yet.  Maybe some people won't understand that, but I waited 30 years to fall in love, to find someone that loved me too.  Then I did and it didn't work out, and that's a hard thing to have to be reminded of with knick knacks and keychains and coffee table books.  But just like the photos, I know I'll get there someday.  It's inevitable.  And when that day comes, and I go through that Rubbermaid container, I'm sure I'll cry a little, but also smile a lot.  I'll hear his voice in my head, the one that had just one phrase for when I would make a ridiculous purchase of something expensive I didn't need:  "They seen you coming, dearie!"

 

I think about Ireland every day.  I think that's inevitable too.  Do you know when you come back from a week or two vacation and it's really hard to go back to work and get into a routine?  It's like a vacation hangover, almost, and you get all sad and nostalgic and wish you were back where you had just been?  That feeling gets multiplied by 12 when you're gone for 12 weeks :)  I try to dissuade myself from it and remind myself of those lonely first days in Dublin, when I hated everything and thought for sure I had made the wrong choice.  But those thoughts are quickly replaced with some awesome memory or another, and I find myself sitting at work googling tour guide jobs or how to study for your master's abroad.  For months, I was missing my first love.  Now, I miss my second.  I think about those green fields, the colorful windowboxes, the live trad sessions.  I think about Sean and Julia and Mairead and Jamie and Melissa and Lilly and Cathal and Krista and Karen and her phantom husband Tom (haha) and I think I could be happy there too.  I could make a life there.  I know I could make it on my own.  Crazy that it took someone else believing that about me to make me believe it too.

 

I'll love you forever for that, Kev.  Thanks for being my first love... and thank you for giving me my second.

 

 

Just for fun, this is a little Irish vocab list I put together while I was over there... I would hear something that was different than what it would be in America and I would quickly put it in the notes section of my phone.  This is the list I came up with... anyone got any that I missed?  :)

Crisps- Chips Chips- Fries Chipper- Take away place (usually open late) that sells fries Take away- Fast food Jumper- Sweater Lorry- Truck Peckish- Hungry Pram- Stroller Shifting- Kissing Dear, Dearer- Expensive, More expensive Pinting- Drinking Laying in- Sleeping late Lift- Ride Ride- Sex  (don't find this one out the hard way like I did!) That's gas- How funny Boot- Trunk Queue- Line Lads, mates- guy friends SatNav- GPS Petrol- Gas Your man- Any man Giving out- Telling someone off Fair play to you- Good for you, well done  (this one is my absolute favorite... I'm going to try to bring it to the states... it'll be like Gretchen Wieners tried to make fetch happen) OAP (Old Age Pensioner)- Senior Citizen The Dole- Welfare, public assistance

 

I thought about all the photos I could use to wrap this up.... my favorites from my professional camera, or photos of Kevin and I... but honestly, I wanted to end on a light note, a fun note... and so I'm ending with the most ridiculous amount of selfies you've probably ever seen in one place :)  When the horrible, atrocious, not-even-a-song song #Selfie came out, my friend Stephen told me that the song reminded him of me.  We are no longer friends.  Okay just kidding.  But as much as I hate it I have to admit I could see why.  When you're in a foreign place traveling on your own and seeing amazing things all the time, it's just a force of habit!  Rather than ask someone else to take your picture alone, you stick the camera out in front of your face and "selfie".  And so that's what I did for three months, and so my Facebook friends have all had a sneek peak at these crazy selfies I took all over Ireland.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

My first beach walk on an Irish beach.  Brittas Bay Beach, in Wicklow... not sure why I am looking off into the distance like that?  Maybe I'm looking off towards the next 3 months on the trip?  Yeah, let's go with that :)

 

 

On my way from Wicklow to Kilkenny, I was trying desperately to find the Wicklow Gap.  No seriously... I legit couldn't find it.  It's not like I could plug it into the GPS or anything, and when I stopped for directions a guy at the gas station told me that the highway department was discouraging people to drive it due to the icy conditions.  So he referred me to drive the Sally Gap instead...

 

 

And why don't we do a little ice/ snow comparison between the Sally Gap and the Wicklow Gap?  Which of course, I stumbled on a few hours later :)  This is my, "look, there it is!" selfie...

 

 

This could have been the very road that Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank met on in P.S. I Love You.  Because obviously I pretend movie characters are real people.  No but really...

P.S. This was my first Ireland National Park visit... Wicklow Mountains National Park!  I am dying to come back to this in the summer sometime; the colors are supposed to be incredible...

 

 

Selfie with cows in Kilkenny...

 

 

Visiting the Rock of Cashel... as you can see from the scaffolding, they were fixing it up and doing some improvements for my visit...

 

 

So, let me reiterate something I may have mentioned in another post... the day I visited the Rock of Cashel was probably one of my top 3 windiest days in Ireland, if not #1.  It was RIDICULOUS.  There was a storm going through Kilkenny at the time, and I can't even tell you... when I got to the top of this thing, to the actual cathedral ruins... this was pretty much my reaction to how bad the weather was... (and also, this has to be my favorite selfie of the ENTIRE trip)...

 

 

No really, it was bad...

 

 

My Irish movie tour continues with a trip through Inistioge... this town common was where much of the movie Circle of Friends was filmed.  Sigh.

 

 

I have a weird thing for lighthouses... it's like an architectural fetish, if you will... so yup, passing through Wexford, there was NO WAY I was going to miss Hook Head Lighthouse, the oldest operational lighthouse in the world!  One of the coldest days I can remember in Ireland (notice my Rudolph nose) but so worth it...

 

 

Waterford Crystal... a magical place where you can spend $500 in about 5 minutes... not that I would know or anything...

 

 

The day I rode the hop on/ hope off bus all around Cork... with only random teddy bears as my companions...

 

 

The selfie I took with a mannequin at the Cork City Jail... I think he's into me...

 

 

Waiting for my turn to make out with the Blarney Stone...

 

 

In Midleton visiting the Jameson distillery...

 

 

And that time they had me watch a video about Jameson by myself in a full theater, since everyone else on my tour was German and needed the German version... oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyy, drinking-Jameson-alone-in-the-dark selfie!  What's up?

 

 

Hanging out with some old friends at the International Museum of Wine in Kinsale (there is no shortage of alcohol themed attractions in Ireland)...

 

 

Mizen Head, the most southwestern point in Ireland!  Another windy day...

 

 

Sunny skies at the Beara Peninsula...

 

 

Selfie with the tallest ogham stone in the world.  Look how tall it is, just look!!!  Amazing :)

 

 

Meeting of the Waters at Killarney National Park (my 2nd national park visit)...

 

 

Selfie in the most expensive jaunting car ride that ever existed in the history of ever... at least they gave me a blanket!  And by gave, I mean they let me use it during the tour...

 

 

Waiting out a hurricane/ tornado/ monsoon at Ross Castle in Killarney...

 

 

5 minutes later...

 

 

Pretty day and pretty colors at Muckross House in Killarney...

 

 

Rocking the Ring of Kerry...

 

 

On the Ring... Portmagee!

 

 

En route to Dingle, via the Conor Pass... p.s. I should wear bright colors more often, I kinda like this!

 

 

One of my favorite places in all of Ireland... the Dingle Peninsula!

 

 

Pinnacle of my trip:  I GOT TO HOLD A BABY LAMB!!!  It was all downhill from here...

 

(kidding)

 

 

Deep sea fishing in Dingle... but I didn't catch anything.  Wah wah.

 

 

Rocking my wet suit in Dingle Harbor, about to hit the water for kayaking...

 

 

Doolin drunky eyes selfie...

 

 

The coveted Cliffs of Moher selfie...

 

 

Visiting the Burren with Mel and Marc... my 3rd national park visit!

 

 

On my way to Galway, I stopped at the Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara... a place my dad and stepmom visited on their honeymoon.

 

 

Walking the Salthill Prom and becoming a Galway girl :)

 

 

Man.... the Galway Cathedral is gorgeous... so is this angle on me... what's up double chins!

 

 

My first visit to Inishmore... this was on Dun Aengus... also where they filmed scenes from Leap Year, including the proposal scene, but I digress...

 

 

Back on Inishmore a few weeks later for Memorial Day weekend!

 

 

Hiking in Connemara National Park in Clifden... my 4th national park visit...

 

 

Selfie in front of Cong Abbey...

 

 

And down the road at Ashford Castle... this is actually a hotel you can stay at.  I mean, rich people can stay here.  Poor people like me stay at B&B's down the road :)

 

 

On the top of Croagh Patrick, the hardest hike of my life...

 

 

And back down on the bottom again... this is my "I rocked that mountain!" selfie, although I'm sure Kevin would disagree with that statement :)

 

 

Ballycroy National Park... my 5th national park visit...

 

 

Sligo Abbey on another beautiful Irish day! :)

 

 

Another one of my favorites... walking the beach in Strandhill... as you can see, it was totally calm and still...

 

 

Does this helmet make my head look big?  Horseback riding in Grange, outside of Sligo...

 

 

Donegal Castle...

 

 

 

Donegal Abbey.

 

a) This is what my sister refers to as "the cheese face".

b) I have lipstick on my teeth.

 

Back to regularly scheduled programming...

 

 

I loved Donegal!!!  It's beautiful...

 

 

I didn't visit every single beach in Ireland, but this was by far the most perfect beach (on the most perfect day) that I found in all of Ireland.  Silver Strand Beach in Donegal... sheep grazing along the walkway to the beach, the most perfect set of old beach stairs down the cliff to the sand, the peaceful cove it sits in with a few waterfalls on the cliffs around it... this place is heaven and I still dream about it.

 

 

Romantic sunset selfie with my favorite cliffs in Ireland, the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal...

 

 

Glenveagh National Park... my 6th and final national park visit!  Saw 'em all, woot woot!

 

 

Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland!

 

 

Walking the city walls in Derry...

 

 

Me in front of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which I didn't get to climb cause it was closed.  Damned if I walked all that way and wasn't at least going to get a picture with it...

 

 

A half hour later, over at Giants Causeway... another beautiful sunset night!

 

 

Okay so clearly I didn't start hitting the tanning beds or douse myself in self-tanner... this is just a funny camera trick... that being said, I look like Tan Mom in this selfie at the Bushmills Distillery...

 

 

Rocking a captains hat at the Titanic Museum in Belfast...

 

 

And an even cooler viking hat on my last weekend in Dublin :)

 

 

So there it is, folks.  One year ago today, I came back from the trip of a lifetime.  I can't believe it's already been a year when so much of it seems so recent, but thank you for baring with me and reading these posts and looking at my pictures throughout this year of lackadaisical blogging.  I have one more blog post coming about Ireland, and it is probably the most important one of all, because it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.  I was in Ireland when the tragedy at the Boston Marathon unfolded, and I felt utterly helpless being so far away when it occurred.  So, as I have been saying for the past year... I will be finishing the gallery of images that I will be putting up for sale, and I will be sharing those images here, on Facebook, on Pinterest, EVERYWHERE!  I want to reach as many people as possible because all the proceeds from any sales of these prints or products will go directly to The Massachusetts Resiliency Center, to support marathon survivors.  I really hope you see something that you love, that you might consider putting on your wall or giving as a gift to someone who loves Ireland... it would mean all the world to me to be able to make a strong contribution.  I will be shouting it from the rooftops when this gallery is done, so stay tuned!  XOXO.