Thursday, April 03, 2014

Take me back to Inis Meain, or Inish Maan, or whatever you call that gorgeous scenic place ...

Shockingly to me, it's almost a year ago that I was on my last European trip and about to visit Ireland for the first time since my childhood. With friends spending six months on one of the least known Aran Islands, either Inis Meain or Inish Maan depending on your preference, I dragged my husband and son over there for a week-long stay in a place that is otherwise not really visited by tourists. And as I had long predicted (yes, I did tell everyone "I told you so"!!), it was brilliant. I am a massive fan of going to off-the-beaten-path destinations and this was great. I'm reliving it today for you ... or is it really for me?



This was the incredible view that greeted me each morning from the kitchen of our friends' rented house on Inis Meain. They were away from the main village and close to the airport, and that meant the view made me feel like we were in the middle of nowhere and I LOVED that. Don't you think that kind of nothingness really revives the soul? It does for me, anyway, and I could have stared at this view for hours on end. In fact, I did.



And then there were the animals. Obviously my three-year-old son was impressed to see lots of animals around - sheep, cows, horses, donkeys, pigs, chickens and more - but I loved it too. It was pretty unique to see them penned in by these old stone walls rather than conventional fences, and because some of these fields were quite small the locals regularly rotated the animals to other areas and it was common to pass a group of animals on the road. There is something about having the humans being significantly outnumbered by the animals which appeals to me.



We spent a lot of our time on Inis Meain walking. It's the kind of island where you can walk nearly everywhere, as long as you have enough time, and are willing to put up with a fair bit of wind. I find walking in the wind utterly refreshing, and then there's that moment when you step back into four safe walls and everything seems so quiet. And so it was after our trek out to Synge's Chair, one of the spectacularly scenic spots of the island.



But even the best scenery and the most unique place in the world doesn't, for me, beat catching up with old friends on their new adventure. I have known Maria for close to twenty years but in the last decade we have rarely lived nearby. It was a true pleasure to visit her in her temporary new home, to spend hours catching up and having that feeling that it doesn't matter how often we see each other, we will always be friends. This picture shows her with my son on the beach beyond their rented house; it was so windy that the sand was constantly whipped into our eyes and we didn't stay long, but it was so scenic I couldn't ignore it completely.


I'm joining in with the Instagram Travel Thursday link-up this week - you can discover some other great travel blogs once they link up below.

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful scenery - I also love being in the middle of nowhere and finding treasures off the beaten path, and what an added bonus to be able to visit a friend while travelling to a new location!

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    1. Thanks Reeta - yes it really was the perfect combination of destination and intention. Such a lovely time.

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  2. Great pictures! And friends make traveling even a better experience!

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    1. Absolutely right Katja - we were very lucky to be able to visit them!

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  3. It's been a year since I was last in Ireland too! Your pictures have me wanting to go through my own Ireland collection!

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    1. Glad to inspire a walk down memory lane! Such a scenic country with lovely people.

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  4. I used to live in Ireland for almost five years and since then I've been going back at least once a year, hence it's probably no surprise to you if I say that I LOVED these images!! I'm heading back there in August, can't wait...

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    1. Oh Satu you lucky thing!! Did you live in Dublin or somewhere else? I'd love to have a more extended stay in Ireland.

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  5. Gorgeous. Ireland is high on my list. You are making me want it more!!

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    1. Good to hear Stefanie, then my job is done!!

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  6. We just loved having you three visit us. Made our special 6 months on the island even more special:)

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    1. Thank you - and thanks for having us! It was a brilliant experience :-) xx

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  7. A special place indeed, what a great opportunity to stay with friends in this place.

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    1. Honesty LindyLou, it was travel perfection!!

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