Wish I was there: memories of Irish travel treasures

The format of this post on Irish Travel Treasures was updated 12/8/2019. Information is from a 2008 trip.

St. Patrick’s Day makes me think of Ireland and thinking of Ireland makes me think of the Ireland travel treasures we’ve visited. These memories make me want to be there.

I fell in love with this magical isle almost the moment my feet hit the ground.  I felt I’d come home, though I have nary an Irish bone in my body. Luckily, Steve, with his Irish heritage shares my love.  The closest I can get to Ireland at the moment is writing about it and looking at photos. Here are some memories and photos of sites we love in the west of Ireland. I’ll let them mostly speak for themselves. Join me for a tour of

Irish travel treasures


Ireland travel

Poulnabrone, photo Steve Collins

The Burren, which encompasses a bit of the south end of County Galway, mostly falls in County Clare. It’s an ancient place home to megatholic sights, early Christian churches and thin places. It’s temperate climate produces unusual flora and fauna.

One of the my favorite Irish travel treasures is Poulnabrone, one of the most sacred places I’ve visited in Ireland. I break into tears when I visit Poulnabrone, a megalithic dolmen (portal tomb). I also break into tears at nearby Corcomroe Abby. I can’t tell you why, but the tears are specific to that area. I felt a pull to it the moment I saw it from across Galway Bay  one afternoon. I felt like I’d been at this spot at the ocean’s edge waiting for a boat to come get me in a past life. Eerie? You bet, but that’s part of the charm of Ireland for me.

Dog’s Bay

Ireland travel: Dog's Bay

Is there a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow at Dog’s Bay? photo/Joey Chriistensen

Another of Irish travel treasures is Dog’s Bay, This pristine, undeveloped beach is north of the quaint town of Roundstone which might look familiar — it was a location for the Janeane Garofalo film, The Matchmaker. Access to the beach is through private farmland. We had to walk through a stile and past cows to get there. Walking through a field to the ocean’s edge we found an old ruin. It was magical. Then it rained ane this rainbow appeared. Magical! The town is also known for the bodhrans (traditional Irish drums) produced by master craftsman Malachy Kearns.

Cong Abby

Ireland travel; Cong Abby, County Mayo

The Fishing House, Cong Abbey, County Mayo photo/Steve Collins

The monk’s fishing house is part of the 7th century Cong Abby in County Mayo, another Irish travel treasure. The County Mayo site is part of Ashford Castle, now a luxury lodging.. The castle, which dates to 1228 AD, was bought by Sir Benjamin Guinness, the brewer, in 1852. If you go when the boats are running from either Cong or Oughterard, you can get a boat out to Inchogoill Island, once owned by Guinness, where there’s a ruin of a 5th century monastery that St. Patrick is believed to have founded.

Dingle Peninsula


Ireland travel

Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula, the western most mainland landfall in Ireland, photo/Steve Collins

Irish culture is alive on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, a center of Gaeltacht (a word that describes a region where Irish is the primary language. You’ll hear the lilt of the Irish language in shops, pubs, restaurants and any other place locals gather. The area has a weathe of Irish travel treasures from wild ocean front landscapes to old beehive huts, forts and churches. Explore ancient sites, enjoy the famous Slea Head Drive along the coast and hit the pubs for traditional music at night.

Ireland travel: Beehive huts along Slea Head Drive in Dingle Ireland, photo Steve Collins

Beehive huts (clocháns), across the road from Dunbeg Fort on Slea Head Drive, photo/Steve Collins

Ireland should be on everyone’s bucket list especially if your ancestors hail from there. The country has much to offer visitors with its rich history, haunting music, natural beauty, great food and verdant lands. Perhaps, like us, you’ll fall in love and feel like you’ve come home.

Author’s notes: If you plan some Ireland travel or want to read more about Ireland, click here for posts from Santa Fe Travelers and some I’ve written for other sites.


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8 Responses to “Wish I was there: memories of Irish travel treasures”

  1. Charles Higgins
    March 16, 2019 at 8:38 pm #

    Those are truly some inspiring photos..well done..


    • Billie Frank
      March 16, 2019 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks, Charles. For us it’s an inspiring place.

  2. Mary
    April 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm #

    The first photo is so captivating. There is something about the photo that could easily move someone with the colors and landscape of how the clouds, green grounds, and stones are placed around.

    • Billie Frank
      April 5, 2019 at 7:13 am #

      Thanks, Mary. Poulnabrone is one of the most special places I’ve ever been too.

  3. Hans
    January 8, 2019 at 9:13 pm #

    I wonder if you have any idea what the large-leafed tropical plant (the fourth photo above) might be. I have a photo of the same type of plant on Achill Island from May, 1997 that was ‘as big as a house’, but I’m no closer to identifying it after all these years (tropical plants not being my forté).

    We were to many of the same places you were; it was a great time.

    • Billie Frank
      August 4, 2019 at 8:15 am #

      I don’t- a bit scary looking-lol. We didn’t get to Achill. It’s such a beautiful country and has my heart.

  4. Hans
    January 8, 2019 at 9:39 pm #

    On the Rolf’s Facebook page I found it is called: Gunnera manicata.

    I looked that up, and I found this:
    Gunnera manicata, or giant rhubarb, a native South America from Colombia to Brazil, is a species of flowering plant in the Gunneraceae family. It is a large, clump-forming herbaceous perennial growing to 2.5 m tall by 4 m or more.

    Rather to my surprise, it is what I called it all those years ago when I saw it: giant rhubarb.

    Santa Fe is lovely too; we were there in 2012, inspired by Willa Cather’s book.

    • Billie Frank
      January 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm #

      Very cool! I had no clue what that leaf was.

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