What comes to your mind when you think of Ireland?
If we play that word association game where I say red and you say apple, what would you say if I said Ireland?
Red hair, maybe.
Guinness, of course.
If we played this game for an hour, I’m not certain you would ever come up with the word I now associate with Ireland. It’s a word that makes me think of Colorado. Or the Canadian Rockies. I associate this word with riding rapids and barreling down snow covered hills on skis.
The word is…
I know, right? Who knew?
But in just a few days in the Northwest part of Ireland, in County Sligo and County Donegal, I had as many opportunities for adventure as I have every summer on our family trips out west in the US.
Here is just a sampling of what’s on offer for the wild at heart in Ireland:
Hiking along a pristine seashore that tells ancient stories
Stand up paddleboarding on a river
Riding a boat that dips back and forth on large Atlantic Ocean waves
Seeing dolphins in the wild beneath soaring cliffs
Jumping in the ocean to swim alongside the dolphins
Climbing those same cliffs, the highest ones in Europe and looking out onto the very place that only a few hours ago, you were swimming
Taking a forest walk to a waterfall and sharing the path with the local sheep.
Driving as far north as you can go in Ireland and feeling the wind knock you over when you get out of your car.
Hiking in that wind to the most northerly tip of Ireland, standing where so many people began a journey to a new world. Wondering at their courage.
I absolutely cannot wait to return to Ireland, and this time, to bring my family. I am certain that surfing lessons and long walks on the cliffs are in our future. Our guide told us that to walk the entire rim of the Slieve League cliffs takes about five hours and there’s a hostel at the end where you can find a warm meal and a bed to sleep in.
Who’s coming with me?
BONUS: Here’s a video that beautifully captures all the adventures we had in the Northwest of Ireland, from Julien of Travel-Vox, one of the bloggers on our trip.
Looking for more about Ireland? Like my Facebook page where I am sharing this week about the lovely places I stayed and the delicious food I ate. Or you can also follow the Pinterest page I am using as a virtual scrapbook of our time in Ireland.