I've just returned from my second trip to Ireland - I traveled there exactly two years ago and I wrote about that trip here . Just as before, I find myself completely charmed, truly inspired, and more than a bit smitten.
I visited several gardens including: The walled Victorian Garden at Kylemore Abbey. The contemplative Japanese Garden in Killdare. And The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin where they are practicing permaculture, raising honeybees, and breeding orchids from seed.
I hiked to Torc Waterfall in my beloved Killarney National Park. Walked a small bit of the rugged Burren Trail at the Cliffs of Moher. And climbed to the top of the highest cliff in all of Ireland - Slieve League where I was stunned silent and moved to tears by the sheer magnificence of it all.
I watched boarder collies work. I listened to live music each evening. I drank a belly full of Guinness. And I dined on the ubiquitous brown bread, butter, and veg soup.
I crossed briefly into the North of Ireland to visit the murals of Derry, to hear about "The Troubles" and the peace process with a Buddhist guide. And to wonder at the geological strangeness of the Giant's Causeway.
I contemplated St. Kevin's solitude at the monastic ruins of Glendalough. I returned to two of my favorite towns - Killarney and Killkenny. I visited Galway, Connemara, and the Dingle Peninsula for the first time. I swooned in the Church at Drumcliff as I listened to the loveliest little lady speak of Yeats country and "...clouds like tattered lace."