Ireland has been described as a beautiful breathtaking country. I have always looked at photos of Ireland and though “Yeah, that looks amazing.” Let me tell you something, no matter how much you hear it described, no matter how many photos you see, nothing comes close to doing any justice to the power of this land. I know now why art and music are abundant here. In a land of some grand natural beauty, it becomes almost an instinct to try to capture some of this beauty, to explain this beauty to another. Traveling across the country on the way out of Belfast and onto Derry I just wanted to just sing out loud. We would all be talking in the back of the cab when a silence would take over. Sipping on a cup tea, fields of gold and green flashing by, “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman playing on the radio, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh. This smile hardly left my face the entire trip as we traveled through this magical land.
This land has been magical enough to be the set for the epic fantasy Game of Thrones. The first stop we made was at the Dark Hedges which was used in filming part of the third season of the television show. The way the trees encase the road is just stunning, and until the series aired the majority of Irish people didn’t even know this place existed.
Of course as we got closer to the ocean it only got even more beautiful. You could smell the salty ocean air blowing from the coast, calling us. When we finally got out of the taxi’s we all looked at each other with this sense of wonderment and awe written across all of our faces. We were transformed into young children again, exploring this vast fantastic unknown world. Each sight and smell a new adventure. We all ran across the grass to the cliff sides and stared across the ocean spread out in front of us. I have felt this way only a few times in my life before. While traveling down the million dollar highway and staring out across the valley of Ouray Colorado, and while looking deep into the eyes of the girl I loved. Heart racing, my lips splitting apart in a smile, eyes blasted wide open, hope, wonderment, love; all this is the edge of life, the pinnacle of existence . I drew comparisons to traveling to loving someone, and let me tell you again, its true. This is an amazing country and I’m in Love.
It only kept getting better as we traveled on. There are simply not enough words to continue to describe how beautiful it was. Instead I’ll tell the legend of the next place we traveled to, The Giants Causeway. Fionn mac Cumhaill or better known as Finn McCool was an Irish Giant. Like all Irish, he had a fighting spirit and loved to pick fights with the nearby Scottish giants. He built a path of stones across the ocean, the giants causeway, to challenge the Scottish Giant Benandonner. As Benandonner approached Finn realized that he never could take on such a large giant so ran home to his wife Oonagh. Oonagh being a clever women disguised Finn as a child and hid him in a crib. When Benandonner came knocking she told him that Finn was out but he was welcome to stay and have some griddle bread. She hid an iron griddle inside the food so when Benandonner bit down he broke one of his teeth. Oonagh scolded him for being so weak and mentioned that even Finns child could eat these. She fed one cake to the disguised Finn with out the iron inside it. Benandonner impressed by the child’s strength stuck his finger into the cradle. Finn bit the finger right off. Benanadonner terrified of Finn “child” did not want to see how large and strong Finn must be so fled back to Scotland breaking the causeway as he went.
Our final stop before heading off to Derry was Dunluce Castle. Before traveling around the castle we stopped at the cutest little place to have a bite to eat. I wish I could remember or find the place, but it was directly across from the castle. The potato and leek soup was to die for. The warmth and heartiness of the soup was reflective of the lovely women who ran the establishment. Constantly bringing us out more amazing food and the best scones I have had in my entire life. Seriously these scones are the things of legends. Flaky soft interiors, crusty exteriors and of course they were then topped with a mountain of whip cream and the juiciest strawberries. Sitting there reflecting on all we had seen I swear we must have all died in a terrible car accident somewhere in the country side and we had made it to Heaven. Life never felt so perfect.
We never got inside the castle as by the advice of our cab driver Peter, we should enter the cave below the castle. As he said “There is a sign that tells ya not to enter the cave, just go ahead and ignore that. Its amazing down there!” We did just that and scampered down the slippery rocks before sitting in the mouth of the cave.
The darkness of a gaping mouth with gnashers of rock
Shadows broken by shafts of life, the key.
A silence, waves washing in and out, serenity washing over me
Birds careening across the sky in one giant flock
nothing could ever upset thee
in the place of the rocks and sea.
Escaping from the turmoil in this protected dock
There ya go! Some terrible poetry, but sitting there really was a serene experience. I felt this desire this need to write poems to paint to express my thoughts in a form of art. Believe me I’m no poet, and I surly know it. (He He He…) There is something about this country that awakens a creative spirit that resides in everyone. A spark that ignites a fire in your heart. The rest of the way to Derry I held my head out the window and sang my lungs out. Awash in bliss I was smile. I still am smile.