2,317 kilometers (1,439 miles) driven, 1,849 pictures taken, 15 days of traveling, and 1 happy-to-be-home traveler.
Today was the real “going home” day. I tried valiantly to give up my seat again this morning, but they told me I couldn’t because I had already done it once. So I resigned myself to getting on the plane and coming home. The feeling of wanting to be home wasn’t as strong today, and I found myself missing Ireland before I even left. I can guarantee that I will be back.
I can’t say there was any one part of Ireland I loved more than any other part. The woman sitting next to me on the plane asked what it was about Ireland that makes me want to go back, and it’s not something that can be put into words. I told her it was more of a feeling than something specific. The people, the culture, the landscapes, all of that, but also it’s a sense of place in being there. I’m not planning my return trip quite yet, but I know it will happen.
Throughout my trip, I had a keen sense of all of the things that were different from home. Not necessarily bad, just different. Driving on the left is a big one. Having done it a few times now, it’s not a big deal, just different. A lot of other more subtle things stand out as well, such as calling the restrooms the “toilets”, eating black pudding for breakfast (no, I didn’t try it!), and having signage in Irish and English. Obviously we do things differently in the U.S. too, and I felt like I was more conscious of these differences on my return home this time.
It would be difficult to name all of my favorites from this trip, but here are some of them:
Best breakfast: Dingle Skellig Hotel
Best casual meal: Ham and Cheese Toastie at the Brehon Bar in Killarney
Best dinner: Trattoria Magnetti in Galway
Best dessert: Strawberry Pavlova at Fishy Fishy Cafe in Kinsale
Best scone: Ballinalacken Castle Hotel
Best soft serve ice cream: Muckross House in Killarney
Best hard serve ice cream: Kenmare Ice Cream
Best day: Day 6: Kinsale to Killarney
Best attraction(s): Kilmainham Gaol and Glendalough
Best music: Kyteler’s Inn (Kilkenny) and Kitty O Se’s (Kinsale)
Best castle: Ballinalacken Castle
Best hotel: Pembroke Hotel in Kilkenny