Ireland is a wonderful land – a beautiful green island that has seen its fair share of war and famine. Go there – soon! Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Walk the coastal routes and marvel at beaches that would rival anything you see in the Caribbean. Travel on roads so narrow it is incredible how two-way traffic is allowed – and works. Find yourself in a Derry pub with traditional music playing and the owner might even invite you behind the bar to pull a pint!
You see it is the people and the Irish spirit that makes the island so special – and yes I say island and not country because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together make up the Emerald Isle.
I toured the cities of the “troubles” – Derry and Belfast – and saw this from the unique perspective of both sides – Loyalists and Republicans. Our group drove through one of the many gates in Belfast which still separate Catholic and Protestant and closes each night at 6 pm. We even had a chance to add to the multi-coloured murals with our own graffiti –
I was there during the semi finals of Gaelic Football with Dublin playing Kerry. My goodness – makes the Red Mile in Calgary look sad. Every house was decorated in the blue of Dublin’s team and although I didn’t go to the match we went to the local pub to “celebrate”. I think the bar tenders there must be lip readers – they certainly couldn’t hear any of the orders shouted across the bar.
You see the Irish have a turn of phrase – a way of saying things that make you stop, think and then laugh.
Take the famous statue of Molly Malone – I am sure you have heard the old song – and the statue is a popular tourist attraction in Dublin.
Leave it to the Irish – she is known locally as the “tart with the cart”.
Then there is the famous Spire …. The Spire of Dublin, alternatively titled the Monument of Light, is a large, stainless steel, pin-like monument 120 metres in height, located on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street in Dublin, This was erected to replace Nelson’s column which had been blown up by the IRA in 1966. They did have another go at it during the Easter Rising in 1916 but apparently the explosives failed to ignite due to dampness – my goodness me! Rain in Ireland? What a concept.
Leave it to the Irish – known as the Stilleto in the Ghetto!
Or how about this beauty? Meant to personify the River Liffy this statue was erected where the Spire is now.
Leave it to the Irish – this became well-known as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi.
So go there – have a Guinness – have a laugh – have a cry.