Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you!

Who was Saint Patrick, and why do we celebrate today? Neither a canonized saint nor Irish, he was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates, and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but later returned to convert the Irish from their pagan Druid practices to Christianity. He died on March 17, 461, having first established monasteries, churches, and schools on the Emerald Isle.

Here’s another Irish history nugget: Blarney Castle was constructed in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, Irish King of Munster. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) had ordered the Earl of Leicester to seize it, but its owner was so talkative that the earl wasn’t able to get the job done. Frustrated with the earl’s ineptitude, the queen allegedly called his reports (or excuses) “blarney.” The term stuck: according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “blarney” means “skillful flattery,” “nonsense,” or “humbug.”

The castle’s famous Blarney Stone is said to bestow that gift of gab on those who kiss it. When I puckered up, I was relieved to discover that visitors no longer are suspended headfirst and held by their ankles. I felt totally safe. Well, reasonably.

 

If you’ve never been to Ireland, or have visited and wish you could travel back again, I’m offering you an armchair journey: no plane fare, no layovers, no PCR or antigen tests. Just a two-week trip to one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world. So make a cup of tea or pour yourself a Guinness (I prefer Chardonnay with a drop of green food coloring today) and come away with me.

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Discovering Dublin: Day 1

Discovering Dublin: Day 2, Part 1

Discovering Dublin: Day 2, Part 2

Day 3: On the Road to Galway Part 1: Hill of Tara

Day 3: On the Road to Galway Part 2: Brú na Bóinne and Hill of Slane

Day 4: On the Road to Galway: Bective Abbey and Trim Castle

Day Five: Renvyle House and Connemara National Park Part 1

Day 5: Renvyle House and Connemara National Park Part 2

Day 6: Kylemore Abbey and Aasleagh Falls

Day 7: Ashford Castle

Day 7, Part 2: Cong and The Quiet Man

Day 8, Part 1: The Cliffs of Moher

Day 8, Part 2: Bunratty Castle and Folk Museum

Day 9: Clifden

Day 10: Tales from Galway

In Memoriam

Day 11: The Guinness Experience

Day 12: Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and the Ring of Beara

Day 13, Part 1: Killarney National Park, Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey and Muckross House

Day 13, Part 1: Killarney National Park, Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey and Muckross House

Day 14: Macroom and Cashel

Day 15: Homeward Bound