Ross Castle, Killarney, Ireland
I'm an armchair traveler - internationally, at least. I'm not a big fan of airplanes. I'm not phobic or anything. I'm just not overly fond of squeezing myself into a small seat between people I don't know, on a plane filled with more people I don't know, and following a bunch of rules that I didn't make. We've been know to take long driving vacations, and I have seen much of the United States that way, but I've never been abroad. I content myself with making those travels by sitting in my armchair with a nice cup of tea, a few sugar cookies, and a book in my lap. Yes, you can't get the smells, the food, the texture of the culture - but ah, the pictures. Pictures are one of my secret pleasures.
My mother's family history traces back to Ireland. It's obvious in their actions. They claim the blarney gene and proudly uses it. I remember as a young child dodging away from one or more relatives with a story about this and that during family visits. Man those people could talk! Ancestry has a strong pull. Hence, that leads me to a fascination with all things Irish.
If I were to travel to Ireland, my photo card in my camera would be filled with pictures of Irish cottages. The contrast beween sturdiness and quaint charm holds a lure I can't turn away from. Hundreds of years have rolled by with generation upon generation upon generation living and loving here. The implied sense of family and heritage lives strong represented in these houses. Maybe that's a romanticized view, but it's mine.
The second thematic destination on my tour would be Irish pubs. Not that I drink - that much :-) - but, I've always wanted to people watch in one of these places, listening to the stories, smelling the food. Must be a throwback to listening to my uncles over the dinner table. The sense of community and sharing here is a trait found in pubs all over the world, but it isn't accompanied by the blarney, you see. That's what would make Irish pub visiting fun.
Finally, I love castles. Ireland has more than a few. This picture is one of my favorites -- Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. I figure I could spend a month visiting just castles without seeing anything else. Unfortunately, I don't have that much time so I'll content myself with enjoying the picture images filling the book in my lap while I eat another cookie.
May the road rise up to meet ye!