I’ve been thinking lately about my bucket list — you know, things that I want to do before I get too old or pass away to the great beyond. I want to go sky diving, try bungee jumping across a majestic view; run another marathon or two; hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia; and attend a NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.
I have tons of places I want to visit. I’ve long wanted to travel to Ireland. I want to see The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Connemara National Park, the Torc Waterfall to name a few spots. I’m told that when you get off the plane and drive through the countryside, you can’t get over the bright hues and colors.
While I’ve never been to Ireland, I have a pretty good idea of what it will look like when I finally get there. I could point to images from TV or the Movies, but those are not what I mean. I know what it will look like because I drove through a similar region two weekends ago.
Here’s what I saw:
You get off a highway and enter through a quiet valley. There’s barely a cloud in the sky and the ones that are there are a wispy white that stand out from the bluest sky you’ve ever seen.
That’s just the start, you look around and see lush green mountains with evergreens and thick leafy trees. You’ve seen bigger mountains, these two are really more of a ridge, but they stands majestically like two strong pillars. In the valley below, you see row upon row of corn and other crops and flowing pastures full of cows and sheep. You drive deeper into the valley and you rolldown your car window and let the fresh country air fill the car and your lungs.
I’ve never been to Ireland and I was several thousands of miles away, but for all intense of purposes, I could have been in Cork or Kilkenny or anywhere on the island for that matter. I came back to reality only when I came across an Amish horse and buggy making its way up the valley. The Amish driver stuck his hand out in a wave and his horse kept up a steady clip-clop before I moved into the passing lane and quickly sped on my way.
The horse and buggy was a good reminder that I was not in Cork or Galway, but instead returning to Central Pennsylvania, which has about as much in common with Ireland as famous Irishmen, Liam Neeson and Bono, have with myself. One is not like the other two and it’s certainly not the two of them.
No, I’ve never been to Ireland, but I can’t wait to some day visit. The countryside may or may not be the same, but I’ve heard one thing that is very much the same: the friendliness of the people.
Oh, yea, I can’t wait to make that bucket list item become a reality.