Another trip to Ireland – reinforcing the stereotype

In my experience, despite the distinct stereotypes and generalisations for just about every country in the world, there are few places that live up to theirs as well as Ireland. My grandparents live on the Shannon Estuary in County Kerry so I have visited the country several times now, generally only for short visits, and so feel a little more qualified to make such an assertion.

So what are these stereotypes of which I speak? Well, I’m not referring to leprechauns, pots of gold and raging alcoholism; I thought I’d focus on a couple of the positive traits that particularly stood out to me on my recent trip back, which was in less positive circumstances with my grandparents not being very well.

1. The Irish like to talk.

This stereotype is an understatement. A massive understatement. In the village where my grandparents live, similar to most villages in Ireland, everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows everybody’s business – not for malicious reasons just because they take an interest in their neighbours. I went out running everyday that I visited, I took different routes through the countryside, farmland and shoreline, but each time I would be stopped mid-stride as I was coming up the last hill by inquisitive neighbours asking me a multitude of questions in an accent so thick I could barely understand them!

2. Hearts of gold Vs. Pots of gold

You don’t need to go to the end of the rainbow to discover the leprechaun’s pot of gold. All of the people I met were keen to help with anything they could – inquisitive, friendly and incredibly kind. Given the situation I was in, I found this community spirit very heartwarming and, although I was sad to leave, I felt better leaving my grandparents in a place where I knew people cared.

3. Green, green and more green!

Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland really is lusciously green everywhere you look – rolling hills, farmland, lakes and a stunning coastline, this is especially true in County Kerry where the omnipresent sheep and cows make the most of it in order to produce their famous butter and dairy products.

4. March sunshine, April showers, bring forth May flowers…

…Except in Ireland where it rains pretty constantly throughout the year. It can be beautiful and it can be wild, but the showers don’t always last that long. I was fairly lucky this September, but even when it does rain, it has never ruined a trip for me.

Despite the circumstances, visiting Ireland once again allowed me to breathe freely and deeply, get away from the stress of daily life and connect with the beauty of nature and the love of family, even if for only three days. Many thanks to all of the kind souls in Ballylongford who are looking out for my grandparents, I very much look forward to catching up with you again on the next trip.

You can read more about my previous experience of the beautiful County Kerry here.