FOR ME, the real Ireland is on the back roads. That’s the green isle I envision when I close my eyes, winding around its rocky coastline on tiny lanes lined with centuries-old stone fences. And that’s exactly what my fellow MatadorU faculty member Candice Walsh and I did this spring on a quest to uncover her Irish heritage.
For nearly two weeks we made our way across the southern coast, bobbing and weaving through tiny hillside towns all the way to County Sligo. What follows is a photo-album-worth of images from the trip.
[Note: Scott and Candice's visit was sponsored by Tourism Ireland.]
It seemed as if everywhere we went in Ireland, we were met with charming stores and beautifully designed signs.
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
The President welcomes foreign journalists to Ireland a few days before St. Patrick's Day
Áras an Uachtaráin
The Irish White House, home of the President.
Dublin's Temple Bar area on an atmospheric evening.
You can't go to Ireland and not have a Guinness…it's simply not allowed.
Matt the Millers
As you can see, the patrons must have kept the staff of Matt the Millers in Kilkenny rather busy that weekend.
Candice strolls along a deserted beach on the Copper Coast, south of Waterford.
Candice takes a moment to soak in the landscape from which her ancestors departed a few centuries ago.
While searching for Candice's family records, we had the opportunity to look at some seriously old-school documents -- such care and precision went into creating these artifacts.
We actually got to spend one night in this castle. Fairly spooky, but beautiful nonetheless.
The round tower of Ardmore.
The ruins of St. Declan's Church.
Walking a beautiful section of coastline near Ardmore.
A journalist takes notes on Candice's quest to find her family.
Our journey led us to many different places in search of Candice's roots. Here she's getting interviewed on a local radio show in Dungarvan.
An evening in a local Irish pub, with traditional live music being belted out in the corner.
A small town on the Beara Peninsula.
The almost tropical-looking beach of lower Ballydonegan.
Scenes of the countryside
Killarney National Park
Small fishing boats are left until the summer season returns.
The land is green, the water is green…just about the only thing not green in Ireland is the beer.
Lookout point on the Dingle Peninsula.
Cliffs of Moher
In County Clare, these cliffs shoot nearly 400 feet directly up out of the ocean. Not a place for those who are afraid of heights.
This structure was built in the mid-1800s by Sir Cornelius O'Brien to impress his female visitors.
An ancient "portal tomb" built at some point between 4200 and 2900 BC.
There's no lack of craic in Galway.
Kilcullen's Seaweed Baths
in County Sligo.
Candice and I nearing the end of our road trip.