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Romance in Ireland

What is a romantic escape? Does it really have to be about time with your significant other? Does is have to be a honeymoon trip or anniversary journey? Is it who you are with or is it about where you go?

My affair with Ireland began before I visited this magical place. I read about it as a child, with stories of fairies and legends like The Blarney Stone. I read about the mists in history books and her heroes in my romance novels. When the offer was made to travel across the ocean and actually step foot on this island, I jumped at the chance to meet one of my crushes.

My entire being began to change when I stepped off the plane. My hair curled up, and I longed to start my exploration of the land that inspired so many writers. I visited faery rings, wondering if any of these places were portals into other worlds, like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. I enjoyed dinner at a private residence overlooking the inspiration of Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats while my host read the poem aloud in between courses.

I visited a seaside spa in Sligo and floated in a seaweed bath, imagining myself as a mermaid. I walked the streets of Dublin late one night, in search of Bram Stoker’s residence where he penned Dracula. I enjoyed a pint of Guinness at Davy Byrnes on Grafton Street, the place where James Joyce used to frequent.

I learned about my name, Shannon, and the river my mother named me after. I also learned that the Irish don’t name their children Shannon, as it would be like an American naming their child Mississippi or Rio Grande, but the legend of Sinaan and how the river was named is a fascinating story in itself.

I danced with friends and I danced with strangers all over the island, from Sligo, to Donegal, to Dublin. I enjoyed the food and the drink and the people. I fell in love with Ireland and I discovered a new depth in my soul and even fell in love with myself. I knew that when I returned home to my family I would be able to hold the memories of Ireland dear to my heart whenever I thought my life was dull with dishes, laundry, and carpools.

Every once in a while, when life gets still, one might be able to find me listening to a bit of Celtic music, drinking a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea, and flipping through photos or reading the poetry of Keats. My romantic affair with Ireland will always be in my heart, never to be forgotten.

Ireland is a welcoming destination for families, romantic escapes (with or without spouse), girlfriend getaways, and definitely soul-oh trips. When you find the real Ireland, you find yourself. For more information visit DiscoverIreland.com or find your own romantic escape closer to home.

This article was originally published here on October 26, 2008

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  1. What a great post Shannon! Ireland is actually the first serious trip that DH and I took without the kids (he was there for work and I met him for a ten-day vacation). We stuck to Dublin and the southeastern part of the country, but had a fantastic time. The most romantic and extravagant part of the trip was the night we spent at Dunbrody House, a country-house hotel with a phenomenal restaurant, one of the best in the country.

    Like you, I have Irish heritage and felt very connected to the mysteries at places like Glandalough and Newgrange.

    I think that Ireland is a great place for a romantic getaway and can’t wait to get back there with the kids. And I love that it is your “go-to” place in your mind – Paris is that for me, and it brightens many days.

  2. I would say the travellers and destination. They are destinations that I would say are not romantic, but you could be in a restaurant, with romantic atmosphere.

    I took my girlfriend at the time to Prague, and we walked over Charles Bridge, and that was really romantic.

  3. So funny that Mudslide and I both focused on Moab-area resorts re: romance.

    What’s funnier is that hubby and I went on our first camping trip together in Moab. Sharing that 2-person tent on the banks of the Colorado, making pancakes on the gas griddle, drinking wine by the campfire… that was just as romantic as a 4-diamond property. I agree that romance is a state of mind.

  4. I think a romantic getaway can totally be linked to a place and not a person. I love this post! I have crushes on several countries and cultures that I would love to meet.

  5. Ireland – lucky you to have been there…envy siezure in effect!! 😉 – many people aren’t aware of the enourmous literary contributions that small country has made to the world. Consider: Jonathan Swift (16th century – Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal), George Bernard Shaw, William Butler yeats, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, and of course, the giant of them all: Jame Joyce. I’m sure the gorgeous countryside had a little more than a trifling influence toward inspiring these men!

  6. I’ve never been to Ireland, a fact my late grandmother, Margaret Hogan, would lament. After reading this, I TOTALLY WANT TO GO. NOW. Seaside spa for one, please!

  7. Shannon. Beautifully written. You have raised the bar. thank you for sharing,xoxmaureen

  8. Great post Shannon. Yet another destination to add to my bucket list.

    When I visited Wengen, Switzerland during a college trip, I told myself that I would return with my future husband. (I wasn’t dating anyone at the time.) I kept that promise to myself and returned with my hubby several years later. To this day, I have a crush on Switzerland and my husband.

  9. I agree with Rhea. I have a romance with only one man…but with many many destinations. You definitely have ignited in me a glimmer of a crush for Ireland. Lovely!

  10. love the idea of being in love with a place! I feel that when I go to Paris – everything about the location is romantic to me. The cobble streets, the little cheese shops, the hustle and bustle. I love it all!

    I have only visited Ireland once, and it was a short stay in Dublin, but conjured up many of the same feelings that I have about Paris, so I should definitely plan to return and explore more!

  11. Kudos to Shannon for capturing the spirit of Ireland! I was there (alone, although on a group tour) last March and fell in love, too. It was the first time abroad that, when the time came to leave, I didn’t want to go home just yet. It’s a magical place all right; I’ve already booked another trip for September 2009.

  12. Be thankful I didn’t name you Pearl, river bordering LA and MS or Sabine bordering LA and TX. You could have been named after a bayou like Lafourche, Teche or Courtablue. I just thought you looked like a Shannon….Ireland would be on my bucket list.

    Big Mama

  13. Ireland is on my bucket list. There is something that is just overwhelmingly mesmerizing about it, truly a magical place.

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