Dublin and Inishmore, Ireland

Ireland is the last new country of my trip, and my final portion of solo backpacking.

Just like for Macedonia and Kosovo, I wasn’t planning on being here.  The Schengen problem led me here, and it seemed an appropriate way to decompress from the emotional turmoil of the last little while and the funeral in Stockholm.  While I had a week for Ireland, in contrast to Macedonia and Kosovo, I chose to keep the number of destinations low and spend more time in each.

I spent a couple days in Dublin (Irish: Áth Cliath), which is quite small.  Admittedly I wasn’t in too much of a mood to see things.  The rain didn’t help – it felt like a rain cloud was following me half the time!  You can literally see that it isn’t raining across the street, or vice-versa.  On a city tour, I learned a little more about the history – the shamrock (Catholics explaining the Trinity), invasions, countless failed uprisings, gaining independence from the UK in 1922, the Northern Ireland split due to religious causes (Rep. Ireland is Catholic, the North is Protestant), and the droughts that killed so many and caused many others to emigrate, bringing Irish culture and pride (see St. Patrick’s Day, a largely expat creation) around the world with them while causing Ireland to lose 20% of its population that it has never recovered from.  Still, how mere religious divisions can cause wars is really lost on me. Continue reading