We've been living here for the last 12 years and to be honest with you, the rose tinted glasses have come off and my romanticised view of Ireland is well and truly gone at this stage. Thoroughly disillusioned would be another way of putting it:
The Recession has hit Ireland much harder than many other countries and the unemployment is at an all-time high;
the weather drives me mad and after 2 years of no summer, we've had a few nice days this year, but temperatures have rarely exceeded 20 degrees;
the Irish Health Service is worse than ever which is very worrying;
the majority of Irish drivers (especially in rural areas) are terrible drivers and there's no improvement in sight, etc.
So more often than not, I completely lose sight of why we actually moved here from London in the first instance:
The better quality of life,
the beautiful landscape,
the peace and quiet in the countryside,
the beautiful deserted beaches on the Atlantic coast
to name but a few of the reasons.
Sometimes I really have to remind myself of why I'm still here.
So today, my husband and I bundled a couple of dogs into the van and drove to the Burren, a worldfamous area of natural beauty, only a 30 minute drive from home. The Burren is of great interest to geologists and botanists. You can find plants and flowers in the Burren (pronounced "Burrn") that are very rare or can only be found in high altitudes like in the Alps, such as the beautiful gentian. There are also wild orchids and many other unusual plants.
I've added a few pictures from this afternoon's walk:
Picture 1 shows Mullaghmore, a beautiful limestone mountain in the Burren, popular for walking and climbing. One of my all time favourite mountains.
Picture 2 shows a neighbouring mountain in the Mullaghmore area of the Burren.
Picture 3 shows one of the lakes in the area.
Picture 4, well, that's me with Luna.
Picture 5 shows bluebells growing in between the rocks. Whenever I'm in the Burren, I'm amazed at how nature always finds a way. You would think that nothing can possibly grow between these rocks, but how wrong can you be.
Picture 6 shows Luna swimming in one of the lakes.
Picture 7, another view across the Mullaghmore area. For those of you who are fans of Father Ted and Craggy Island, well, can you spot a little white dot in the distance, in the middle of the picture? That's the Father Ted House which was used in the series. I didn't go anywhere near there today, but the next time I'm driving past it, I'll be taken a picture of it. The area is called Kilnaboy, near Corofin, Co. Clare. Check it out if you don't believe me.
Picture 8, that's Colleen who was in the Burren for the first time today and who was clearly enjoying herself.
Picture 9, more wild flowers growing in the Burren.
We had a lovely afternoon, but as soon as we got home, the weather changed and it started raining, again.
Welcome to Ireland and an Irish summer.
For some more info on the Burren, please check out this website: