The Emerald Isle

February 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I recently posted several images created in Ireland in 1984 to my VISIONS OF EUROPE portfolio.  Made in the "old days" long before digital photography was available these images have been scanned and digitized from 35mm slides.  Back in those days my equipment (camera and lens) were a far cry from what I'm using today.  To take this a step further my own skills were not what they are today.  So if there's a bit of a drop in quality compared to more recent images that's the reason.  

Still, these images belong in my portfolio if for no other reason than that trip marked my first visit to Europe.  My even being on this trip was kind of an after-thought as my wife and her mother originally planned the trip.  I had decided not to go, then late in the game changed my mind.  For my mother-in-law it was the fulfillment of a life-long dream as her ancestors came from Neanaugh in County Tipperary.  She was 82 at the time and I was somewhat concerned about her physical ability to cope with the rigors of travel, but was I in for a surprise.  She not only coped but kept us going day and night for three weeks.  She is the only octogenarian I ever saw run for a train...and catch it!

Ireland in 1984 was a step back in time.  It was like life in my home town in 1945, unhurried, laid-back, where people cared about one another.  We stayed almost exclusively in bed & breakfast establishments and the first thing we learned was that they wanted to talk.  So whatever sight-seeing we did came after the visiting was done.  On one occasion, in Cork, we planned to go out that evening and hadn't been given a key to the door.  I told the landlady that we might be out a bit late and asked how we might get in when we returned, thinking that would remind her to give me a key.  She looked surprised and said, "just open the door!"  I asked if she didn't lock it at night, and she replied, "Now why would I want to be doing that?"  Different times, different places.  We found Ireland to be a lovely place and the people charming.  

We didn't visit Northern Ireland as there was a different environment there at the time.  We did cross the border once to visit Belleek where the famous Irish chinaware is handmade.  Belleek was just a couple miles over the border into Northern Ireland.  There was a check point to enter but it was kind of like going through a toll booth.  We weren't questioned, bothered or detained.  Oh, they did wish us a happy "holiday".  We purchased a couple pieces of Belleek china to add to our collection and got it home intact only to lose that, and all the rest, in the Loma Prieta earthquake that rattled our home in Santa Cruz in 1989.  

So we have several good reasons to return to Ireland if for no other reason than to check out the north which I understand is just as beautiful  as the south.  I also acquired a taste for some stuff called Guinness which for some reason tasted better in the presence of convivial company in the many pubs.  Erin Go Braugh


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