By Christine Lindsay
Being born in Ireland I am naturally biased toward that small emerald isle set like a jewel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
I’ve been back to Ireland only twice in my adult life, but each time the country of my birth has fulfilled every dream I ever had of it. Ireland really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, thanks to its lack of industrialization, it’s majestic coastlines, and soft mists upon its green pasturelands.
Once you are out of the cities, which are small compared to American cities, you are driving along rolling hills that resemble quilts edged in by fences made of stones. You breathe in air that’s perfumed with brine and the loamy fragrance of burning peat in the fireplaces of Irish homes, still to this day as a treat. Or like I do when I visit my family’s farmlands, walk along lanes hedged with wildflowers and fuchsia bushes. Nothing is as fragrant as the flower meadowsweet in a field dotted by fluffy white sheep and newborn lambs.
The coastline always takes my breath away. The Antrim Coast in the north of Ireland where I come from is as stupendous as the Dingle Peninsula in the south. I’ve stood on clifftops at dizzying heights looking down on a boiling sea captured by the jagged arms of the rocks below. In places like that my imagination soars.
The Irish people are as charming as tradition and song always say. Sure Ireland has had its political problems, what country doesn’t, but all that is in the past. When you are welcomed into an Irish home for high tea, with homemade scones and teacakes, you are made to feel extraordinarily special.
Enter an Irish pub and order a 5-star meal, listen to Celtic music trilling fast with the penny whistle, the Irish drum, and the fiddle. Your feet will be tapping in no time. Watch tiny little girls dancing to traditional Irish music. I may not be able to take you physically to Ireland, the land of my birth, but if you’ll let me, I can take you on a visit there through my book Londonderry Dreaming.