Wilde About Ireland May 2016

Having never traveled to Europe before I was unsure what to expect. Hawaii is laden with Asian and Pacific culture - a far cry from the chilly Dublin streets - and I was determined to make my Oscar Wilde pilgrimage the best trip of my life. I can safely say I succeeded!

Every inch of Dublin expresses the ties between culture and nature. The river Liffey winds through the city rather than cuts through it. Here civilization has integrated smoothly into the scenery.

Dublin Castle is something out of a fairytale. Rounded turrets line the corners, and Celtic symbols decorate the rooftops.

Here in the courtyard of Dublin Castle we learned of its history and importance to the city. Fun fact: one of the worlds few "perfect crimes" was committed here in 1907 when Ireland's Crown Jewels were stolen. They have never been recovered, nor have the culprits.

St. Patrick's Cathedral really got us into the Irish spirit, with its elegant spires and castle-like windows.

The only thing that would've set the scene better is a thunderstorm!

A pair of adorable Irish street performers sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" along the road in Temple Street. The sidewalk across them was filled with eager onlookers, and for good reason - they were great!

A herd of perfectly picturesque black and white cows relax in the fields of the Boyne Valley. I'd like to take this moment to thank them for the delicious Irish clotted cream that they made possible.

Ancient burial mounds covering the hills of the Boyne Valley. These are older than the Egyptian pyramids and are lined with large carved stones.

The top of the largest burial mound provided us with an excellent view. A patchwork of fields and estates peppered with sheep and cows. A work of art!

Tiny pink and white marguerites could be found everywhere in Ireland but that didn't make them any less special. It was refreshing to see so many new plants and animals.

St. Patrick's Well - a humble monument surrounded by years of worship, religion, and lore.

The well sits among this striking scenery. It was amazingly calm and peaceful.

The short walk to the Catsby Caves was one of the most beautiful of my life. The reclaiming of manmade structures by the surrounding scenery really made me think of Hawaii, where it's an almost daily struggle to not get overgrown!

Rocks as old as time, brought by the glaciel tides of the first Ice Age. It was truly humbling to get so close to something so amazingly ancient.

The bond of the culture to the history of the landscape is something definitely shared by the people of Hawaii and Ireland, whether the land was created by volcanic eruptions or glaciel tides.

A shy lamb near its mother on the cliffs of Sliabh Lhag. The fact that these animals were so close to the edge of the cliffs amazed me - their farmer must be truly confident!

I was reminded of Waipio Valley after seeing this amazing scenery. It's almost a mirrors image of the famous Hawaii landscape - albeit with much less palm trees and a less painful hike.

Irish wildflowers - including buttercups, marguerites, bluebells, wild geraniums, and forget-me-nots.

The Yeats' house took the cake - and so did we as we dined in Lily & Lolly's Cafe for a fulfilling lunch.

Newly suited kayakers prepare for their first bout on the water with some on-land games.

The architecture of Bundoran brought to mind the familiar bayfront of Hilo, with its pastel theaters and candy shops.

The Giant's Causeway was overwhelmingly majestic, and it took all my inner strength not to hop from each hexagon shaped rock like some sort of demented version of Q-Bert.

One of the highlights of the trip - wading in the Atlantic tidepools. Crimson sea squirts, hermit crabs, and glossy green kelp were abundant, and I pocketed quite a few abandoned shells.

I felt safe near the shores of the Giant's Causeway, guarded by tall cliffs and sunny skies.

It was hard to believe that these stones were not man-made. The consistency of each structure was breathtaking and it was difficult to get a shot of them free of sightseers.

The beautifully carved statue of Oscar Wilde graced Dublin's park entrance, just outside Trinity College, his alma mater.

A perfect little snail in a Dublin garden.

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