We landed in a Foreign Land; the Emerald Island and arrived in Dublin City.
Being in Dublin felt surreal to me the first couple of days and then I just jumped into the experience with both feet and had a BLAST OF AN EXPERIENCE!
We used Emerald Custom Tours. Our Tour Coordinator, Valerie, and Our Driver, Ciaran, helped in making our trip to Ireland an AMAZING LIFETIME EXPERIENCE! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The people are friendly and take such pride in sharing their country with us! Thank you!
The accommodations were just what we wanted and beyond our expectations. Paul and Brian Hughes at Abbeyglen Castle offer guests the BEST experience ever!
The Top Highlights
- Kilmainham Gaol
- Guinness Storehouse
- Blarney Castle
- The Atlantic Ocean
- Cliffs of Moher
- Locating the town of Pluckerstown in County Kildare to find the ancestral roots.
- Heading to Crossmolina to find the other side of the ancestral roots.
A truly wonderful experience and hope to do it again in the near future!
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic to the west of Great Britain. It is separated by the North Channel, the Irish Sea and St. Georges Channel. It is the 3rd largest island in Europe. Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (population 4.6 million) and Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom – population about 1.8 million).
- Connacht (west)
- Leinster (east)
- Munster (south)
- Ulster (north) or Northern Ireland
There are twenty-six counties in the Republic of Ireland and six counties in Northern Ireland. Dublin is the largest city in the Republic of Ireland and Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland. Achill Island lies off the coast of County Mayo and is Ireland’s largest island. The River Shannon is the island’s longest river at 240 miles long.
The Flag of Ireland
Referred to as the Irish Tricolor; green, white and orange.
The Irish government describes the symbolism behind each color.
- Green representing the Gaelic tradition of Ireland.
- Orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland.
- White representing the aspiration for peace between them.
Gaelic Ireland emerged by the 1st century and lasted until the early 17th century. Following the Norman invasion in the 12th century, England claimed sovereignty over Ireland. English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th-17th century Tudor conquest. This led to the colonization of Ireland by settlers from Britain. In 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. In the early 20th century a war of independence was followed by the division of the island.
The population of Ireland changed dramatically during the second half of the 19th century. A population of over 8 million in 1841 was reduced to slightly more than 4 million by 1921. The Great Famine of 1845 to 1852 took about 1 million lives. Another cause of the population decline was the economic state of the country that led to a culture of emigration until the 21st century. Emigration from Ireland in the 19th century increased the populations of England, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Interesting Fact: As of 2013, a total of 34.5 million Americans claim Irish ancestry.
Irish culture has had influence on other cultures pertaining to literature, science and education. The Irish culture exists amongst the Western culture through Gaelic games, Irish music, the Irish language, the English language, and sports like rugby, football and golf.
Interesting Fact: Less than 10% of the population of the Republic of Ireland today speak Irish regularly outside of the education system.
Ireland’s culture comprises elements of Gaelic, Celtic, Anglicization, Americanization, and European cultures and influences. For instance, the Celtic knotwork in jewelry, art, music, and dance. Religion has played a significant role in the cultural life of the island too.
- James Joyce – Ulysses
- Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
- Oscar Wilde
- In the 20th century, Ireland produced four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney.
- Riverdance – a theatrical performance of Irish traditional dancing.
- Irish traditional music groups – The Dubliners and The Chieftains.
Food and Drink
- The arrival of the potato in the 16th century. A typical family (man, women and four children) would eat 18 stone (110 kg) of potatoes a week.
- Herding of cattle – the number of cattle equated to social standing.
- Cows for dairy.
- Pork and white meat were more common than beef.
- Black pudding – a breakfast staple.
- National dishes like Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty (a type of potato pancake), or colcannon (dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage).
- “New Irish Cuisine” in the last quarter of the 20th century emerges due to international influences. Fresh vegetables, fish, seafood, traditional soda breads, and handmade cheeses.
A Fact You May Already Know About: The Irish remain the highest per capita consumers of potatoes in Europe.
- Ireland once dominated the world’s market for whiskey, producing 90% of the world’s whiskey at the start of the 20th century. Then there was prohibition and bootlegging in the United States. Sales of Irish whiskey worldwide fell to a mere 2% by the mid-20th century.
- Then there is Stout, particularly Guinness.
- Lager and Cider are becoming more popular now as well as Craft Beers and Craft Ciders.
(Photos by RSheridan)
September 29th, 2014 at 5:54 PM
What a great opportunity. My Uncle Robin hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
September 29th, 2014 at 7:20 PM
A Truly Wonderful Life Experience! I think if there was more time a train ride to Belfast could have been a possibility.
September 30th, 2014 at 7:10 PM
Sounds like an amazing experience.
October 1st, 2014 at 9:10 AM
Yes, an AMAZING Experience and I soak every bit in I could too! Happy Day 🙂
October 1st, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Cool. We are considering going next year, but aren’t sure yet. We’ve been watching videos and pricing different places out…and trying to decide between 3 for our 25th anniversary. Your posts are perfect timing for me.
October 1st, 2014 at 1:16 PM
The planning took about a year and a half for us. We really enjoyed working with Emerald Custom Tours. Wishing You the Best – Good Luck 🙂 Great Idea for your 25th Anniversary too!
October 1st, 2014 at 2:05 PM
You guys did a ton. How long were you there total?
October 1st, 2014 at 3:16 PM
11 Days + 1 1/2 days to travel there and another day to travel back home.
October 5th, 2014 at 5:02 AM
I went to Ireland last year and absolutely loved it! It felt like home. My Irish roots must have been showing.
October 5th, 2014 at 8:38 AM
I will have to search your blog for your Ireland trip. I loved it and would love to go back and go at a slower pace 🙂 Happy Weekend!