Luck of the Irish

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face…

This is one of my favorite blessings.  We seemed to be blessed with the luck of the Irish as the sun did indeed shine warm upon us during a recent weekend in Ireland.  It even brought picture-perfect rainbows, and I kept looking for the little green man with his pot of gold!


Dismal wet weather reports were forecast for our weekend in county Limerick.  I am convinced that the only reason the sun willfully shone is because I left my sunglasses home and packed three layers of foul weather gear!  By day, the sun lit up the landscape in vibrant greens and golds.  By dusk, the setting sun transformed the sky to pinks and purples and the tall grasses to shades of mauve.


I had never been to Ireland before and was struck by the following impressions:

  1. The Irish are the friendliest people on Earth
  2. Once you get an Irishman talking, there is no end in sight
  3. Ireland truly is the Green Isle
  4. Pub singers seem to have an odd fascination with Neil Diamond
  5. Whiskey is delicious and dangerous

Every Irishman we met was affable and optimistic.  Despite crushing economic woe, people remain at once calmly resigned and doggedly hopeful.  The Irish are quick to smile, and the lovely lilt in their voice makes even the most mundane sentence sound charming.  This is a nation of talkers, and as the saying goes, “A true Irishman considers a bore to be someone who keeps constantly interrupting.”  We found this to be the case at a local pub where one friendly fellow adopted us at the bar and monopolized conversation in a one-way dialogue.

Whiskey shots and perfect Guinness pours were the beverages of choice.  Yet no amount of liquor could improve the entertainment at the local pub where an Irish singer made every song sound like a Neil Diamond tribute.  I’m not even sure how it is possible to conjure a Jewish Brooklynite in Ireland, but Diamond’s distinctive low range and raspy rumble improbably sang out above the crowd.

Outside the pubs, I was struck by the lush landscape.  Along the sea at the Doonbeg resort, the sweetly rancid smell of burning peat permeated the thick coastal air.  Vibrant green carpeted dunes rose above the beach, creating a beautiful contrast with the sand and sea.


The green and fragrant County Limerick that I visited bears not resemblance to the gray and gritty Ireland that Frank McCourt describes in Angela’s Ashes, though the book is set in the same general area.  At the stately Adare Manor, rolling hills, leafy trees, and manicured gardens decorated acres of countryside.  We played golf, shot clays, and strolled along winding paths lined with trees radiating orange and gold.


I did find a great book of Limericks which seemed a fitting memento from the county that bears the same name.  In the spirit of the Irish, I thought I’d end with one of my own:

There once was a girl who loved to travel

Traipsing across sand, pavement, and gravel

She packed up her case

And got ready with haste

Waiting for exciting adventures to unravel


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