Saturday, 1 December 2012

Ireland - Spring In To It!


When I set off to spend the month of March in Ireland, there were a couple of reasons which clinched my decision to travel there in Spring.
 
Dublin Blossom
Firstly, was my allocation of annual leave.  When you only get 4 weeks of annual leave per year & 3 of those weeks have to be taken during a compulsory shut down of the business over the Christmas/New Year period, it does mean having to wait a few years before you have accumulated 6 weeks extra leave to take a decent holiday.  And when your travel destination is 18,000km away on the other side of the world, it is not worth your while to just skip over there for a few days.  Six weeks is pretty much a standard holiday for most Kiwis travelling to Ireland, UK or Europe. 

Secondly, my flights, rental car & a week’s accommodation were being funded by Tourism Ireland NZ, having won the prize of a lifetime.  In May 2010, I won a much dreamed of trip to Ireland!   This trip had to be taken by April 1st 2011.

And thirdly, I’d always wanted to spend  St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, which meant being there on March 17th.


The Colourful St Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin 2012
And so March it was.  And on March 17th we were in Dublin for the St Patrick's Festival & Parade, a truly spectacular event.

Our decision to be in Ireland in Spring proved to be as good as a Lotto win!  In the month we were there, & many of you reading this will find this hard to believe....we experienced only 3 full days of rain.  Sure there was the odd day where it was grey & cloudy, even brief moments of drizzle, but miraculously, the sun shone for most of our journey!

Kylemore Lough, Kylemore, Connemara

There are a few benefits of travelling around Ireland in Spring.  The biggest drawcard for us was there were few tourists, no queues, plenty of parking available,  guaranteed accommodation vacancies at low season prices [expect slightly higher prices in Dublin around St Patrick’s Weekend] and daffodils everywhere!

Saturday Market Stall, Galway
 
We stayed mainly in B&B’s except for the weekend of St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin where we had made a booking 6 months previously, for 3 nights at Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street.  It’s location was perfect, it was a beautiful hotel & because of our early booking, we’d got a great discount. 

If there is a down side to travelling around Ireland in the low season it is that some B&B's you have scoped out to stay in may not actually open until nearer to Summer.  We only found one of our B&B choices closed during March. 

Also closed during the colder months are some of the castles & historic sites but we found very few where this applied & where it did apply, there were still fabulous photo  opportunities to be had of the exterior of these historic places.

As I’ve mentioned before, the weather in Ireland can be a bit of a lottery.  We were extremely lucky.  But I have to say, that some of my best photographs of this lovely country, were taken either in the rain or on grey cloudy days.  The green of the land & the blue of the sea seem to just pop out at you on those cloudy days.

Jaunting around the grounds of Muckross House, Killarney, Co. Kerry

Coastal Co. Clare between Doolin & Ballyvaughan
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
 
Coomeenoole [North] Strand, Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula
The Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

While I’d love to return to Ireland for St Patrick’s Festival weekend again next time, there are many other Festivals in Ireland I’d love to experience too.  So I’m thinking my next trip might have to be around August for the King Puck Festival in Killorglin & the Music Festival known as Fleadh Cheoil na h√Čireann.  Each year, hundreds of musicians take part.  In 2013 it is being held in the 2013 City of Culture, Derry. 

Whenever it is I choose to return & return I definitely will, it will be to once again experience the richness of the culture & the land, the uber friendliness of the people & pay another visit to my ancestral home of Enniskillen.   

Head of the Bay, Bantry, Co. Cork
 
Ironically, just a week after returning from Ireland, I received an email from a family member here in NZ, she had found out that my great great great grandparents on my mother’s side of the family were from Bantry, Co. Cork!     So it's fair to say, I am most definitely destined to return to Ireland.

Wicklow Mountains, Co. Wicklow
 

2 comments:

  1. Hope all is well with you this new year. My name is Lorna and I'm writing a blogging piece for the new online magazine by Lisa McGee at http://www.islemagazine.com/. This time, I am concentrating on bloggers that aren't based in Ireland but who are promoting or featuring Irish products / events / scenery / way of life and I was wondering if you would be interested in being one of the 4 or 5 bloggers featured. If so, I will send you a few questions next week with a request for a couple of photographs too.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,please email me at info@garrendennylane.ie or gdlaneinteriors@hotmail.com if you are interested. Hope you had a great holiday in Ireland btw :)

    Kind regards, Lorna

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my goodness Lorna, I'd be so chuffed!

    ReplyDelete