Ireland Island of tea, Guinness, and family.

There's the smell of disuse. The dirt floor is patched with hay. Rusted engines, farm equipment, and clothes in cardboard boxes are piled haphazardly along the concrete walls. Beside me, my distant relative Peter seeps restrained excitement. We move to the next room, a smaller room, of the defunct stable and Peter points out a walled-up doorway where the rooms would have been connected. Normally I would have little interest in where doorways used to be, but at this farm everything has elevated significance. I look to the doorway and imagine horses on the other side of it. Then I can almost see my great-grandmother passing through to feed them.

With a population of less than five million Ireland is a small country, but other than America there is nowhere in the world I have a stronger connection with. My American cousins and Irish cousins crisscross the two places. Every year Irish family comes to America and American family goes to Ireland. The actual relations are distant, usually connected three generations back, but the social ties are strong. So for me, coming to Ireland was never truly about The World Walk, but about getting to know a part of my family.

Savannah happy to be smelling new things.

Upon landing in Shannon airport I was greeted by an inspector from the agriculture department. He double checked Savannah's paperwork then welcomed us to Ireland. After that I was welcomed again, this time by my cousins Colm and Margaret. They made a three hour drive from Dundalk to pick me up and show me around. First stop: The fishing village Roundstone for a Guinness and seafood chowder.

The #FAKENEWS will tell you that's not a pint I'm holding. SAD!
Few dogs more deserving of a passport.

After a few days touring around Connemara with my cousins I stayed with family in Galway for about a week. In Galway I applied for Savannah's EU Pet Passport. Once received we were ready to make our way across the island to Dublin.

The way to Dublin was short, only a hundred and fifty mile walk over flat and populated terrain. After spending two years in perpetual summer, the cool air and calm countryside was a welcome change. It almost felt as though I were cheating. I was too relaxed, the drivers were too polite and the cities too well organized. I should have been stressed, on edge, peering over my shoulder.

Gravestones and a beautiful church, big deal.
Gravestones and another beautiful church, is this going to be every town?
Yes, yes it is.

Minus the sporadic hails storms, the walk from Galway to Dublin was as peaceful as could be.

In Dublin I had another cousin to put me up for a few days. I spent most my time there visiting friends. My single touristy day I spent learning about the Book of Kells at Trinity College, then hastily forgetting what I learned at the Jameson Distillery.

How to live well in Ireland: lots of drinks and lots of books.

While in Dublin we took a road trip out to the island Howth. Savannah modeled for me on our hike around the island and was rewarded with some fish and chips afterwards.

With all the vegetation I could hardly tell if I was in Ireland or PerĂº.

Indistinguishable, right?

After a few days taking full advantage of my cousin's generosity in Dublin Savannah and I started off toward Dundalk. The walk to Dundalk was a brief two days. We spent our single night camping in a harvested hay field. Then we burnt out forty-five kilometers before six o'clock to arrive at yet another cousin's home.

Flowers can be found brightening everything from storefronts to handrails in need of a fresh paint.

My time in Dundalk was packed. We made road trips everyday. Sometimes our trips were to hikes or views or monuments, other times it was to have tea with relatives. Whenever possible my hosts, Margaret and Colm, would go for a swim in the ocean. I usually (always) opted out of those.

My cousins Margaret and Colm - Lunatics in action.
I might not be up for jumping in the ocean, but I'm definitely up for sailing on it.
Even Savannah gets along with her cousins.

More than places or people, a country is best known by the energy it exudes. Some countries kiss you on the cheek, others grab you by the shoulders. Ireland gives you a cheers and a wink. It's a gesture of optimism. "Yeah," it says. "The weather is going to be shite, but don't let that stop you." It's American in a way. It feels like home.

Colm, Ciaran, myself, and Peter at the Murphy homestead.
Created By
Thomas Turcich

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