Ireland Travel Vlog
Updated: Jan 26
In June of 2022, my wife Cheryl and I spent 30 days traveling through 3 countries (Ireland, Scotland, and England) by planes, trains, and automobiles on the left side of the road. We also walked or hiked 166 miles in towns, on trails and cliffs, and experienced thousands of stories. I believe that the best stories are the ones in which you remove yourself from your comfortable surroundings, and relocate yourself for a time, to experience something new with an openness to learning something. So, we decided to document it. I kept it simple. At night I’d take 5 minutes to add a note on my phone of whatever we did, wherever we went. I’m glad too, because now I can tell you that if you ever go to Inch Beach on the western peninsula of Ireland, you should consider seafood chowder and a pint at Sammy’s Restaurant & Bar… or that if you make your way to Scotland, should you travel up through the highlands on A82, you have to stop in the Glen Coe valley car park next to a breathtaking view of The Three Sisters… or that in Port Isaac, Cornwall, there’s 2 phenomenal beers that await you: Tribute Pale Ale and Korev lager. Every day I tried to just grab a few seconds of video on my phone and once a week at night, we’d sit in front of my pocket camera on a mini-tripod and vlog about the things that changed us. Since I’m writing about Ireland today, here’s what changed us: the people.
The Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, once said: There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet. Ireland for us was and is all about the people.
The Republic of Ireland was our first destination for 10 days. We flew into Dublin, then slowly drove through the country side to the west, ending on the coast in the town of Dingle, in County Kerry. While there, we visited shops, went to folk concerts, walked the harbor, drove the Slea Head Loop around the Wild Atlantic Way, and tried to visit as many pubs as possible. I drank more Guinness in Ireland than I’ve collectively done so in the USA.
Patrick from Rockville House B&B in Cashel taught us about the Irish sense of humor. Up the hill from his B&B is the Rock Of Cashel, historical stronghold of the kings of Munster, including St. Patrick. So I love that the owner of where we stayed was also Patrick. When he first met me and dryly said he had to go into town to pick up his Ecstasy, I thought he was serious. When we left his B&B and told him we’d be back, he quickly replied: Once was enough David. By then I knew he was a character.
Helen & Aidan from Towerview B&B in Dingle taught us about hospitality, friendship, and kindness to strangers. They invited me into their staff kitchen to look around for a lighter when I asked for one. I enjoyed smoking my pipe on their front porch with their dog Milo. I enjoyed late night conversations it the parking lot with Aidan about how he grew up upstairs from Murphy’s Pub, once owned by his father. Helen would talk at breakfast with Cheryl about her days as a teacher. Yes Yeats, no strangers.
In Killarney, we toured the park in a Jaunting Car with Lewis and his horse Abbey. Lewis told us about what it’s like to be part of a family business that goes back 6 generations. Family business is quite normal in Ireland, from the sheep hills to the pubs downtown.
I learned from Bryan, who worked at Dingle Record Shop (the smallest record shop in Ireland), that my middle name “Bryan” is in fact the English spelling. Never knew. When I passed on a Chieftans album the first visit, 30 minutes later I returned to buy it. As soon as Bryan saw me, his heart sank and he started to apologize. So did the man at the counter holding the album I wanted. I was laughing and tried to explain that in America, if you snooze, you lose. No matter, they kept trying to give it back to me as if I had previously asked Bryan to hold it for me. I refused, shook both their hands, was grateful for kind-hearted locals, and then bought a different album by Donovan, whom Bryan compared to Dylan. Bryan, from Tralee, reminded me of my love of music and why it's so special in Ireland.
We enjoyed dinner in the harbor. At the restaurant, our waiter, Eddie, told us about his computer science degree he was pursuing at the University of Galway. He also turned me on to Derry Girls, on Netflix. I’d heard good things, but if an Irish kid vouches for it, that seals the deal.
We met James & Maria at M. Neligan’s Pub. They were in Dingle for the annual Adventure Race, a 73 km route around the Slea Head Loop that involved hiking, biking, kayaking, and running. They were 20 years older than us and easily fitter than us. Somehow, they weren’t too tired after the day’s race to stop in for a pint and some live music. When Maria asked me about our travels, she invited us to visit them in Killarney. I believed them.
Finally, there’s Mr. Christie, the elderly gentleman who worked for the railroad in Cork. We met at a pub that was the downstairs of the Airbnb we were staying at. As Cheryl collapsed after a long day of walking the city, I went downstairs where I met Mr. Christie. Over a couple of Beamish pints, he learned I lived in Nashville, TN. He started crying telling me about how he bought a plane ticket to go to Nashville. It was his life long dream to see the Grand Ole Opry. But due to his dying mother, and then COVID, he never got to go. We exchanged information and I invited him to come see us. The next day, as we were leaving, I spotted him sitting on a stool in the pub. I walked over, introduced him to Cheryl, and he leapt off the stool to hug her tight. That’s when she heard all the same stories. It was beautiful.
So for us, Ireland will always be about the people. The pubs there are more than a place to drink. It’s not like a bar in America. A pub is where all community exists for long stretches of time: to eat, drink, listen to music, play billiards, read, or just pass the time with friends. I definitely fell in love with the pub life there. Everyone is up for a song, and anyone can play if they want. But everywhere we went in Ireland, we met strangers and said goodbye to friends. These stories are their stories first, but I’m so glad to now share in them. In Ireland, blessings, poems, and cheers are everywhere. A common toast was to good health. So I say to you: Sláinte
Want to check out my Ireland Travel Vlog? Go to: David Stories Travel Vlog '22 (Part 1- Ireland)