Katherine the Great
I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Mostly I tell stories about knitting.

Our first morning in Ireland started out with breakfast and the best coffee of my life.
It was in a little pot, so I put sugar cubes in my cup, poured hot coffee over them and added half a cup of milk just the way I like. and it was still hot. Ya’ll, it was like angels singing.

Then we headed off to a river and lake tour aboard the Corrib Princess. Our tour group joined a boat half full with lovely Irish folks. Speaking of angels singing, one Irish gentleman, Dennis Clare of County Clare, sang Irish Ballads as we traveled up the beautiful river. It was transcendent.

Old Castle on the River Corrib

Until they asked our group to sing. To say we were horrified is putting it mildly. Not a strong singer in the bunch and geographically diverse to boot, we had a hard time coming up with a song we all knew. We quickly chose America the Beautiful and it was a bit of a train wreck. There are some really high notes in there. They did not ask us to sing a second song.

MIL and Dennis and me
Dennis agreed to take a picture with us and then picked it back up and we listened to more beautiful singing while enjoying the view.

There was a castle with vines growing all over it.

Swans meandered along.

You could practically see the fairies that lived in the little glens off the river.

It was magical.













As I was getting off the boat, Dennis was gracious enough to take a quick sock pic; I gave him a hug and he wished me luck in whatever road I go down. He is everything I thought an Irishman should be and I was completely charmed.















* My humble apologies to Dennis if he’s from a different county. It sounded like Clare to my Texas ears. I am sure his last name and his county were the same.


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After arriving in Galway, my MIL and I went to explore. We stumbled across some interesting architecture
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…and St. Nicholas Collegiate Church (finished by 1320). The history there was tangible.

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Stained Glass

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We also visited O’Maille House of Style. She had amazing stuff. Soft lace cashmere and wool scarves, gorgeous woven blankets, and wool yarn. After looking around and finding the yarn I liked most to be worsted gray wool yarn, I asked the shopkeeper if she had any sock yarn. She picked up the scratchy gray wool I was looking at and declared it “perfect for socks.” The thing is that perfect for socks in Ireland isn’t necessarily the same as perfect for socks in Texas. Winters in Austin are pretty stinking mild which means that even though I was completely charmed by the pretty gray wool that surely came directly off happy Irish sheep, I had decided ahead of time not to buy yarn that I did not like the feel of. But, I took her card. You know, just in case.
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The Travelers: My Mother in Law (A), her best friend (C), the best friend’s daughter (B), and me.

We arrived at the airport and had tea and delicious lemon muffins whilst waiting for the rest of our group. We met a couple of women on our tour. One expressed surprise that I’d be traveling with my mother in law without my husband. I commented, “Yes, it is surprising how well we get along. Meeting us is like finding a unicorn.” (Ok, let’s be honest, it’s nothing like finding a unicorn, but it’s kind of weird to need a response for “You REALLY get along with your mother in law?” when she’s sitting right there. Yes, I do. and I like her son too. He’s got excellent taste in women.)

Eventually, the whole group arrived and we headed to Bunratty Village…

flower and knit sock

The flowers in Ireland are unbelievable.


enchanted moss

The moss in Ireland is enchanting.


troll bridge

If I were a troll, I’d live under this bridge.


flowers

See, I wasn’t kidding about the flowers. Unbelievable.


TARDIS

What the TARDIS looks like in Ireland

tree

I am Groot.



And we saw Bunratty Castle.

Bunratty Castle and Rainbow Sock

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle


Durty Nelly’s pub (This pub dates back to 1620, when legend has it, castle guards would grab a pint there.)

Inside Durty Nelly's

Durty Nelly's Pub

We had lunch. (The food was scrumptious, but I still don’t know what all of it was.)
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And there was a shop filled with all things Irish. I was overwhelmed by all the cool Irish stuff and wondered how on Earth I was going to decide what to buy. I figured out I should only buy stuff I really love. like the Waterford bowl with shamrocks and celtic knots etched into it. It came with free shipping…for over 400 euros. ok. maybe not.


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