Blog O'Blarney

Happy early St. Paddy's Day! Mark Koopmans is hosting the Got Green? Blog O'hop about our favorite Irish-inspired thoughts, memories or ideas. I love Ireland, so I'm excited about this one!

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:

Trinity College
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!

Tintern Abbey
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.
The Ring of Kerry
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.

Ballynahinch Castle
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!

Kylemore Abbey
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.
Dunluce Castle
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.

Giant's Causeway
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!



  1. Wow looks like you had an absolutely awesome time. I love Ireland it is stunning x

  2. Beautiful! Since I am Irish on both sides of my family I hope to go there one day myself. Happy St. Patricks Day!

  3. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

  4. "Hauntingly beautiful" <----No doubt! Phew! Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. How neat you've been there and you have these awesome pictures to show! Seriously so fun.

    And new follower here... so glad to be connected! Yay for awesome blog hops! :D

  5. Heather - Yay for Irish heritages! :)

    Morgan - It was quite the experience. Standing there, I could definitely envision Avalon! Thanks for following.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful time. Great pictures.

  7. I can't wait to see all this stuff (well, some of it, anyway) for myself! yay! :)

    Nice post, thanks for sharing your gorgeous pics!

  8. Hey Nicole,

    Wow, you've seen more of bleedin' Ireland than I have (believe or not, I've walked or driven past TCD (Trinity) more than 10,000 times and I've *never* gone inside!!

    Thanks for sharing the pics and for joining the O'hop.... this is going to be some craic, (as you said :)

  9. Love the pictures. You know, even though I'm from the UK I've never, ever been to Ireland. I'll have to change that soon.

    By the way, I've tagged you in the Lucky 7 Meme over at my blog.

  10. Looking at everyone's picture of Ireland makes me want to go back there... more than I already did before.

    Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

  11. Your post made me jealous!! I want to stay in a castle! It sounds like a wonderful trip :)

  12. It's the castles and history that pull me.

    Great photos! Visiting from Mark's blog

  13. Thanks guys! Glad you enjoyed the pics - it was a fantastic trip. Slainte! ;)

  14. Sounds like a fabulous trip! I hope to go some day. Happy belated St. Patrick's day and nice to meet you :)

  15. What a great blog, Nicole! I had to chuckle seeing Kylemore Abbey. Now if only I could find someone with pictures of the inside... :)

    I've been there 3 times and am already day dreaming about a return trip. I usually feel torn between wanting to explore new places or returning to the ones I've seen and deeply loved, like Cashel.