We're off to the Emerald Isle!


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Published: May 27th 2019
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"A good start is half the work" - Irish Proverb

We are very excited to be travelling again, this time to Ireland!

Our flight to Dublin (via Toronto) leaves mid-day tomorrow, so no crazy early morning required. This trip is shorter than our usual ones, just 12 days from start to finish, but still time to see a variety of the country, and, we are sure, to have many pints of Guinness!

We will start our trip in Dublin - and yes, we have our timed entry to the Guinness Storehouse 😊, and then head out on a 3 day tour of southwest Ireland. Then it's back to Dublin for a few days, followed by several days in Belfast.

Like many North Americans, I have Irish ancestry. I grew up with my maternal grandmother telling us we were Irish (she was a Murphey), and according to ancestry DNA I'm around 1/2 Irish (the rest mostly English and Scottish). My closest relative who was born in Ireland is my great-grandmother on my father's side, who was from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. We haven't been able to trace the Murpheys back to Ireland, so we don't know where they
My Irish Great GrandmotherMy Irish Great GrandmotherMy Irish Great Grandmother

She was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
came from or when they left (the trail ends with my great great-grandfather who was born in the US in the 1830s). Various other ancestors were apparently from Doonaha, County Clare, and County Limerick.

So many have Irish ancestry because of the millions who emigrated from Ireland over the years, including of course, during the Great Famine in the mid 1800s (it's estimated one million Irish died in the famine, and around two million were forced to emigrate). Ireland has a long, and fraught, history with Britain, and British policies definitely contributed to the famine, and to Irish emigration. Beginning with the Norman Invasion of 1169 the English ruled Ireland until the treaty of 1921 (following the Irish War of Independence) which basically partitioned Ireland into the Irish Free State (made up of 26 of the 32 counties in Ireland), and Northern Ireland (made up of the remaining 6 counties), which stayed part of the United Kingdom. In 1948 the Irish Free State became a republic and was finally independent from the UK.

I tend to think of Ireland as one country, but of course it isn't. The Republic of Ireland is predominantly Catholic (around 78 percent, with Protestants only around 2.6 percent), and is part of the European Union, and so the currency used is euros. Northern Ireland is around 48 percent Protestant and 45 percent Catholic, and is part of the United Kingdom, and so the currency used is British pounds.

I grew up in the 1970s hearing about "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, when the Irish Republican Army reasserted itself (the original IRA had begun as an organization in the Irish War of Independence). The IRA began a violent campaign to kick Britain out of Northern Ireland and to unite all of Ireland. The movement started with peaceful civil rights marches, but the violent reaction of the police and the army led to the IRA pretty much declaring war on Britain, and the violence of the Troubles had begun. The conflict was along sectarian lines, Republicans (also called Nationalists), who were mostly Catholic, versus Loyalists (also called Unionists), who were mostly Protestant, with violent paramilitary groups on both sides. The Troubles lasted until the Good Friday agreement of 1998, which allowed for power to be shared between Nationalist and Unionist parties. The agreement acknowledged that the majority of people in Northern Ireland wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom, but that a substantial number did not, and that in the future if a majority of people (in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join the Republic, then the governments of Britain and Ireland were under an obligation to make that happen. So perhaps in the future, Northern Ireland will no longer be part of the UK, and Ireland will be united at last.

When we're in Belfast we are going on a "Conflicting Stories" political walking tour, which is led by Republican and Loyalist ex-political prisoners. Half of the walk is with a Republican guide, and the other half is with a Loyalist guide. It will be really interesting to hear about the Troubles from people who were involved in it, on opposite sides.

Of course there is a lot more to Ireland than the Troubles, and we are looking forward to seeing this beautiful country, meeting its friendly people, and drinking lots of Irish beer. Sláinte! (your health).

I hope you enjoy reading the blog and travelling with us. If you would like to receive an email when I post a blog entry, you can subscribe to this blog (click on the subscribe button above, next to the comment button), or you can follow me if you are a member of TravelBlog. If you no longer wish to subscribe please unsubscribe - via the link in the email from TravelBlog.

See you in Dublin!


Additional photos below
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Morning viewMorning view
Morning view

This may be our last sun for awhile! The forecast is for rain in Ireland.


27th May 2019
Obligatory cat in suitcase pic

Adorable
Love the cat photos.
28th May 2019
Obligatory cat in suitcase pic

Adorable
Thanks!
27th May 2019

Too long since you've blogged
Eager to follow you around Ireland.
27th May 2019

We’re off to the Emerald Isle
Yes, too long since we’ve travelled!
28th May 2019

Irish ancestry
I just returned from England where I traced my mother's ancestry back to 1103. Unfortunately for the Irish, they were Normans who invaded England and Ireland, and continued the wars with Ireland for centuries. I hope to post my blog in the next week. I will be following your blogs. It is nice that more bloggers are writing about their ancestry hunts.
28th May 2019

Ancestry
Thanks for following my blog Bob.
28th May 2019
Ella helping with packing

Ella's face!
Haha I don't think that's a 'helping' face! :) Have a safe flight, and I look forward to hearing about the 'Conflicting Stories' walk.
28th May 2019
Ella helping with packing

Ella’s face
Thanks Ren! Ella also likes to help make the bed :).
30th May 2019

Ireland!
Fantastic! I look forward to reading about your travels in the Emerald Isle! How amazing it must be for you to be able to travel in the land of your ancestors. I, too, have many memories of the Troubles growing up in England during the 1980s and 1990s. My own trip to Northern Ireland last year was a real eye-opener for me on the situation, and very educational. If time allows, I highly recommend a visit to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, a definite highlight of my trip there. Safe travels, and I'm looking forward to reading more 😊
30th May 2019

Thanks Alex! We have a day trip organized to the Giants Causeway when we’re in Belfast.
30th May 2019

Giant's Causeway
Yay, great to hear! Look forward to reading about it 😊

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