Green Clovers and Pots of Gold – Cork, Ireland

The drive to Cork took about an hour and lucky girl that I am, I got the complete audio tour with miscellaneous factoids by our good friend Joe. He is a plethora of information which leads me to believe somehow fate had it that I would meet up with Irelands most friendly and informed ambassador.

Ireland is known for its great storytellers and matchmakers. Its very good to see that the gift has been passed down through the generations. Before I came to Ireland I would think of green shamrocks and Guinness as well as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now I know that Ireland encompasses so much more. Even though the land mass is tiny compared to many other countries, the people and scenery have left an impression on me that will run long and deep.

Yes, its true that everything is green here. It does rain a lot but how can you have a rainbow without the rain? I can`t tell you how entrancing it is to have the sun beaming down through a soft warm rainshower. Its almost as if beautiful sparkling diamonds are falling from the sky as the light beams through the water in a sunshower. And then as quickly as it came, it is gone only to leave one, two, or `tree (`th` is not a sound in Irish) brilliant rainbows gracing the sky. The plants are the most vibrant shades of green that I have ever seen. I feel like I have gone back through time as I gaze out at the rolling hills (which to some are Irelands `mountains`) and the billowing clouds that glide through the deep blue sky.

Even more inspiring than the view are the people of Ireland. The Irish are a strong but gentle culture keeping tradition alive and well. Each county has a slightly different accent (which Joe is forever morphing into) and they all have a gentle rivalry which keeps them somewhat individual as they enjoy the camaraderie of the Irish culture.

Soccer, football and hurling are big sports here. I was amazed by Ross who plays soccer everyday for a living. He aspires to be a soccer coach (which I think he would be great at with his encouraging demeanor) or a referee. It`s so refreshing to see people actually living their dreams.

Cork was beautiful and rich with culture and history. I learned about Micheal Collins and viewed actual letters he and his love wrote to each other. Joe`s brother, Daire, has been training jet black lab called Iggy to be a seeing eye dog. After a year, the time has come to give the dog up which is proving to be a sad moment in the Kearney family which is just another example of how big their hearts are.

I love listening to the Irish accent and I must give kudos to Joe for being so patient with me as I am endlessly having him repeat things. Sometimes I do understand the first time but its so fun to listen to the Irish speak as they are so animated. Joe’s Mom and Dad are making me fat with all of their delicious meals and desserts. I feel like I am right at home here especially when I have to take second glances because lots of people have ginger colored hair, just like my mum.

Lisa (a bright and ambitious flower) and Carolyn (who has such a cheerful sense of humor) made a strong point of ensuring that I understood the difference between a 3 star and a 5 star hotel. They said that they would love to travel but their shopping habits get in the way. Its nice to know that the shopping bug is universal. I told them that they have the freedom to do whatever they want in life and that if traveling was what they really wanted, then I truly believe that is what they would do. The key here is in believing. And with all the leprechauns and faerys, how can you NOT believe? I find that in a world that has somehow lost its imagination and belief in dreams, a magical childlike hope is still alive and well in Ireland.

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