My Mom and I went to Ireland for about 10 days a couple years ago, and it was one of the most fascinating trips I've ever done. I really enjoy the people, the culture, the language and, most of all, the stories. Ireland has such a mythic and turbulent history with strong, passionate figures, filled with all the elements of a great epic. It definitely gets the ideas sparking for me!
Here are a few of my favorite inspiration spots from our trip:
A mainstay in the setting of one of my fave urban fantasy series, plus the long room is like the mother ship for those who love books!
Totally carried me back in time - I was writing the outline of a new abbey-inspired story as I sat in our farmhouse B&B that night!
The Rock of Cashel
Visually stunning with some incredible, humbling historical features. We saw cemetaries with graves that dated back to the 1100s.
You know those vibrant green fields and the warm welcoming charm you envision when you think of Ireland? The Ring of Kerry is the real life version of that!
Cliffs of Moher
Hauntingly beautiful! We watched the clouds and rain blow across a gray-blue sea and shroud the cliffs in mist. You better believe I had all sorts of epic, heartbreaking story scenes rolling through my head as we stood there atop the world.
We stayed in a castle!! That's one bucket-list item accomplished for sure! It's actually an old elegant hunting manor, and the surrounding grounds and countryside offered some amazing photo opps. While eating in front of the fireside one night, my Mom and I overheard an entire conversation in Gaelic. I was giddy!
Another incredible stone structure! You look at it and just know it has so many stories to tell. It makes me want to wander through the halls and discover whatever unfolds.
I think this was my favorite castle of all the ones we visited. It's on the very edge of the northern coast (some of it actually fell into the sea ages ago), and you can see Scotland from its ruins. This was another place absolutely steeped in history and stories.
If you want to feel out of this world, go to Giant's Causeway. It'll make you imagine volcanoes and alien landscapes in the middle of rural Ireland.
St. Paddy's Traditions
A little closer to home, my friends and I love to watch the local St. Patrick's Day parade from the top floor of our favorite Irish restaurant. We all crowd near the wrap-around windows so we can see the parade from both sides of the building, then run downstairs and out the side-door to get free items thrown by the float-riders as they turn the corner. There's live Irish music, lots of craic and never-ending baskets of Lucky Charms at the tables. If you're ever in Milwaukee near March 17, check it out!