One can't but be impressed with the depth of history that is evident throughout the country. Ancient ruins are as commonplace as sheep and you know how many of those there are!
Rick and I have varied the many places that we have stayed, wanting the different experiences, so we have enjoyed fine hotels and home B&Bs. We have loved getting to know different folks. The biggest surprise has been how international Ireland has become. We think of the States as being a country of immigrants, well the more time passes, the more global the world becomes and the more international we all become. We have met many from Eastern Europe, Australia, the States, etc, who have moved here for love, economic opportunity or infatuation with Ireland. And why not? It is an amazing place.
In Dingle, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast with a lovely family. Sean is a farmer and very involved in local activities and helping to raise money for local youth sports. Kathy oversees the family, runs their B & B and cleans houses. Kathy was born in America to Irish parents and met Sean at a wedding in Chicago. They have five kids, only one left at home. At one point Rick remarked on Sean and Kathy's 26 year marriage - "And to one woman!" To which Sean replied, "I haven't gotten around to replacing her yet," with a twinkle in his eye. I almost fell over when Kathy told me she has over 100 first cousins!
At Screebe House, we marveled at Susie, who seemed to be everywhere at once, who immediately took charge of all of our plans and stated emphatically that we should contact her during the entirety of our trip if we needed anything, anything at all! We felt so pampered. She even went so far as to use her own credit card to hold a booking for high tea for us at Ashford Castle, making sure that they knew that I kept a Jewish diet so they should stay away from ham and shellfish. And her sidekick, Killian, born of an American mother, whose family celebrates "Stations" which sounds just like a Mezuzah hanging celebration (only not)..
We did one night of taking chances and found a lovely B & B in Waterford. Delia, the proprietess, wanted to know all about how we live in a big town with all of the stress and couldn't get over how often we have moved. She was incensed by the Nasty Lady and wanted to fix everything for us.
Traveling is such an extraordinary gift. It gives you a window onto the world, into other's lives and affirms that there are new friends waiting to meet you wherever you roam.