Tranquility by the Sea

I recently returned from an 11-day journey to Ireland, my first ever trip to this beautiful country. From the moment I stepped off the plane I was entranced, joking with my family that if I hadn’t already purchased a ticket back to Boston I’d be nowhere to be found on departure day.

Our trip was a whirlwind of activity – in fact, we tried to do so much that I think we missed out on a lot, if that makes sense. We went from Blarney to Dublin to Belfast to Kingscourt, Cavan, to Galway and, finally, Bunratty before flying out of Shannon Airport. There were so many places in between that I’d have loved to discover but simply ran out of time.

On our last full day in Ireland, after stopping at the Cliffs of Moher, we came across the beautiful ruins of Kilmacrehy Church and its cemeteries, just east of Liscannor in County Clare. I was struck by its raw beauty, the tranquility disrupted only by the occasional mooing of cows in the neighboring field and the distance sound of the waves on Kilmacrehy Beach.

There are literally hundreds of these cemeteries dotting the Irish countryside. I hope when – not if – I return I’ll be able to explore more of them. Below are some of the photos taken during our stop at Kilmacrehy.

President, AOH Lowell Division 19

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day

If you find yourself feeling a bit more chipper than usual on Saturday, check out the calendar. Sept. 17 holds a special significance for we Irish. No, not because it’s just five days away from the start of fall. It’s because it’s a mere 181 days until St. Patrick’s Day.

Sure we’ve got a long way to go, especially with a typical New England winter just a few brutal cold fronts away. But if you decide to raise a pint or enjoy a delicious bowl of Irish stew, know you won’t be alone.

Recognizing the significance of Sept. 17 began in earnest in 2009 when Guinness marked its 250th anniversary, with the Dublin-based brewery sponsored live music events and other celebrations around the world to help commemorate the day. And it’s become a minor holiday in its own right ever since.

You can read a quick history of the Halfway to St Patrick’s Day celebration here.

So if you see an unusual amount of green-clad Irish folk making their way around town on Saturday, rest assured there’s a pretty good reason for it.