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An International House Sitter Recommends Ireland to Tourists

by Teresa Roberts
(Fort Wayne, IN)

Ireland Landscape

I have been fortunate to have lived in lots of countries all over the world for various lengths of time. I am an international house sitter. And although I do not consider myself to be a tourist, I feel very qualified to make recommendations to tourists. Why do I recommend Ireland? In many ways Ireland is one of those countries that seems to have it all. For most Americans who travel outside of their own country, Ireland tends to feel like home, I think. First of all, the Irish are very welcoming. I quickly discovered that the Irish enjoy sharing the beauties of their environment with travelers. Many of the Irish people have strong connections with the United States through relatives who live in the United States. To me, there seems to be a bond between the peoples of both countries. But that's not all! The Irish landscape is second to none.

When I decide to spend time outside of the U.S., I always seek an area of outstanding natural beauty. Ireland fills that requirement! Whether passing the time in one of the picture-perfect villages or driving the lonely passes on an Irish peninsula, I am guaranteed a visual feast. Did you know that Irish villages actually compete for tidiest town award of the year? That's right! There is great pride taken in how a village presents to the public eye. What a delicious treat.

Stark Contrast of Ireland

I've spent most of my time in Ireland in County Kerry. There are three peninsulas that I have had easy access to during my time there. The Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, and the Beara Peninsula are all worth seeing. Although I rarely rent a car, as I prefer using public transportation or walking when I am abroad, I have made a rare exception for the peninsulas. There are bus tours that are easily available for these three peninsulas and are not extravagantly priced. Usually, the bus tours make stops along the way as well as a planned lunch break at an Irish pub or restaurant. It is nice to be able to leave the driving to someone else and immerse yourself in the natural beauty, unencumbered. However, if you want to get off the beaten track, renting a car is a good option.

What I discovered when driving a car were the numerous lonely passes that connect both sides of the peninsulas. These passes are absolutely stunning. Since I am a lover of traveling during off-season, I escaped the crush of the tourist crowds. I am certain that that enhanced my passage on these glorious back roads. Picture yourself alone in some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes imaginable, wild and lonely, just you and the free ranging sheep, fresh air and the heavens above you.

Ireland House

When you return to your hotel or your holiday house, there are plenty of things to do in the evening. It is never difficult to find a social outlet, enhanced by music. The Irish unabashedly enjoy their traditional music. Most villages have at least one if not many Irish pubs where, in addition to enjoying live music in the evenings while drinking a Guinness, you can also indulge in a meal, particularly the famous pub grub. There is something very comforting about ordering the roast of the day with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and hearty Irish soda bread. You will have an appetite after spending a good part of your day on the peninsulas. A hearty meal is just what your body needs.

There is so much that I could say about this gorgeous country with its many shades of green and unending rainbows. It is a magical and wholesome environment. If you haven't been to Ireland, you've got to give it a try. Who knows! You might run into me while you're there. I have returned more than once to this enchanting island and plan to do so again and again and again.

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