I love my daughter and I love her name…Clare. My sister likes to joke that we named her after some dirt (land) in Ireland. There is a little bit of truth in that we did spell her name without the “i” because of County Clare but the real reason is because of its meaning…clear and bright…and because it feels strong and feminine all at the same time. I’d like to think that County Clare, Ireland isn’t all that dissimilar.
The time in Ireland went by quickly. One last car trip across Ireland’s green hills. County Clare is our final destination.
Co. Clare was there to give welcome us to Ireland. She was kind and understanding with a bunch of tired Americans who had flown all night and were trying to figure out how to drive on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road in a stick shift!! Now 2 weeks later, it was the fitting end to our trip.
There is a large, international airport there (Shannon) but within minutes of leaving the airport property you encounter the real Ireland. Clare has beautiful old castles, scenery, peaceful lakes, quaint towns and yes, narrow roads and roundabouts. But in my opinion what makes Co. Clare special is part of what makes my daughter Clare special. The residents are friendly and want you to enjoy being with them. They are proud of where they live and want to share it with new friends.
We got turned around in one little town and ended up stuck at the end of a narrow dead end street. A shop keeper noticed what happened, came out and managed to drive our car out for us without so much as a scratch! It was a cold and rainy day but I had promised my son that he would have a chance to go horseback riding before we left Ireland. We didn’t know how to get where we were going so a lady called the stable and got directions and then drew us a map so we wouldn’t get lost. The people make all the difference!!!
On that horseback ride through a drizzly bit of Clare countryside, we got to ride through a faery fort! My son, being a 9 year old boy, came back to the stable and proudly announced to his dad (and anyone else around) that his horse pooped on a faery! What a magical way to spend our final day.
I wish we could have stayed in Clare longer. I wish we could have stayed in Ireland longer. For now all I can do is look back with fond memories and look forward to more possibilities.