The Shannon River in Ireland

Scotland and Ireland

We just returned from this ten-day trip through Ireland and Scotland (March 2013) and my travelers enjoyed an amazing journey.  The United Kingdom is such a magical land.  Here is a living history and fairy tales brought to life.  Dublin, though a fairly large city also has a charming, bucolic side to it.  For a Southerner, visiting Ireland and just trading accents is worth the price of admission.  George Bernard Shaw said England and America are “two countries separated by a common language.”  Well that quote holds true for Ireland and Scotland as well.  When you visit the UK, you’ll want to bring along a notepad to record the many colloquialisms that pass your ears.

I’m not much of a beer drinker yet on this journey many of my travelers requested a visit to the Guinness Brewery. The good folks at Guinness are very accommodating and tourists are warmly welcome

In the countryside, Ireland shows itself as an ancient land of rolling green pastures dotted with ancient stone castles that are swept by sharp North Atlantic breezes.  Ireland’s castles are a year-round attraction and these fortresses are often four to five hundred years old.  Glenveagh Castle, pictured below is just a baby, it was built in the late 1800s.

Traveling through Ireland the scenery often changes quite dramatically.  Rolling green pastures can suddenly give way to sheer cliffs that perch on the edge of the Atlantic or the North Sea.

The Irish coast can be visually dramatic. This is the Cliffs of Moher (more) near the southwest edge of Burren in County Clare, Ireland.

After taking in a view such as the one above, we headed to a local tavern and warmed up with a delicious Irish coffee, topped with rich dairy cream from a local village and spiked with Irish Whiskey, it was a wonderful way to take the chill off of the day.  Many of Ireland’s pubs and taverns offer delicious examples of Ireland’s local cuisine.

Dark, scorching hot coffee, a shot of Irish Whiskey and a chilled layer of local cream with a charming garnish of coffee beans for good luck.

We enjoyed some memorable live music, took in an Irish dancing show and explored the many diversions that Ireland has to offer.  I wanted to bring home pounds of Ireland’s delicious butter and gallons of their cream.

Ireland’s markets and cafes are so charming and colorful

While in Ireland we visited the home of the  legendary “Apostle of Ireland,” St. Patrick.  Patrick did his mission work in the 5th Century where legend has it that he used the three-leafed clover as a teaching tool to describe the Holy Trinity, which is why today we associate the clover (both three and four leaf) with the Irish.  St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio; they’re enormous celebrations that can swell a large city.  On to Scotland and its many charms.

 Scotland’s rugged terrain meshes well with its congenial people.  In Scotland you’ll never be far from a smile, a warm greeting, grilled sausages and meat pies.  The terrain is much like the Irish countryside, full of rolling green pastures, dramatic rock outcroppings and sheer cliffs at the water’s edge.

Loch Lomond, the largest body of freshwater in the UK lies on the Highland Boundary Fault. While not as famous as its cousin, Loch Ness, the views around Loch Lomond are spectacular.

Scotland and Ireland are truly special places and offer such priceless memories for the visitor.  If you’re dreaming of a once in a lifetime vacation to Ireland and Scotland then I’m here to help.  Just get in touch with me on my “Contact” page and I can help you make your travel dreams come true.  Sweet dreams!

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