A young couple plays hurling in the water on Couminole Beach, Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland.

The Gathering Ireland 2013 (Part 2)

So if you come visiting Ireland this year – what can you expect? There will be so much for you to enjoy. You will, of course, merrily connect with your cousins, who will give you a tremendously warm Irish welcome. You will observe their features and mannerisms, and it will seem like you already knew them, they look so much like your sister, your uncle – or your cousin May back home. So that’s where you got your nose from, and now you see the genetic pool from where Barack Obama got his ears. Well – have you ever seen a true African with those ears?

You make a trip to see the old homestead – or what’s left of it. There’s no roof, and not a lot left of the tumbling stone walls either. But you walk inside, just to feel what it’s like in there, amongst the nettles. There’s not much to see, no possessions left here – but wait – what’s that bit of broken crockery there wedged between the stones? You pull it out and reflect. Did this once belong to your great, great, great grandmother? Was this a treasured bowl, that took pride of place on the modest kitchen table? Is this what she used for the beautiful homemade bread or scones that she made in the pot oven over the peat fire.  You reflect on the lives and activities of your ancestors here in this very room, their joys and sorrows. You feel the presence of these people, you feel welcome, connected – it’s a wonderful warm feeling.


Looking through the open door of an old cottage on Great Blasket Island, County Kerry, Ireland.


View from Castlegregory Golf Club, County Kerry, Ireland

You have a superb choice of entertainment of all kinds – music, dancing, singing, theatre, and countless other events. You learn the meaning of ‘ceol agus craic’ (music and fun). There are many interesting tours. How can you find the time? Your cousins all want to share their knowledge and make suggestions. You are just overwhelmed by the hospitality, the generosity, the fabulous food, the vibrant and talented people, the characters – and that I’ve come home feeling!


A young couple play hurling on the beach at Couminole, Dunquin, County Kerry.

You experience the rewards of fair and foul Irish weather too!  You discover the beauty in the drama of the deep purple clouds, luminous sunlit fields, ferocious winds, hazy hills, rain, rain and high soaring seas. You are joyful for this opportunity, and euphoric on those beautiful soothing sunny days when you are able to walk up the heathery hills and along the long scenic sandy beaches. You are in raptures as you behold the sights of those breathtakingly brilliant West of Ireland sunsets. Such a privilege! You want to stay here – forever!


A dramatic view on Curracloe Beach, County Wexford


Patches of glowing sunlight on the fields of Dunquin, County Kerry


A beautiful sunset on Banna Beach, County Kerry.