Traveling, Lila’s Adventures in Ireland

Happy almost Christmas everyone.

I’m sitting in the family room in Ireland, my feet as close to the cast iron stove as I can get them without risking burns. I must admit that before leaving for Ireland I was a mite reluctant. It’s hard not to want to stay home for a holiday, to follow your own traditions. But, as soon as I got to the airport I remembered how much I love traveling. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to, and living, all over the world.

From now to the New Year the ladies of international heat will tell you some of their favorite travel stories, both real and fantasy.

Of all the places I’ve traveled–Egypt, Turkey, most of Europe–Ireland is my favorite. This is an entirely biased opinion, since I’m there now, and it’s the homeland of my beloved husband. It’s also the setting of my upcoming book, but more about that later.

I first came to Ireland five years ago, to meet my then boyfriend’s family. I remember how green everything was. It’s a cliche, to say that Ireland is green, but my god it is green, and every color of green you can imagine. The sky seemed close to the earth than at home, and much bluer too, which isn’t saying much for LA.

But by far my favorite part about Ireland is the people. You’ve never met people who are both so melancholy and so joyous. Good times and bad are met with a kind of acceptance I’d never seen before. Things that I would have freaked out about elected only “Well sure and no one died, that’s the thing.” I wanted to say that there’s still cause to get upset, discuss, something, but after a while I realized the beauty of their way of thinking.

Dublin in a study of old meets knew. Trinity College is as beautiful a building as I’ve ever seen, and the new developments in what was previously a bad section of the city along the river are studies in bold new architectural styles. The buskers on Grafton street are better musicians than some bands I’ve paid to see. If you see a postcard of Dublin you might think it’s gray and sad–and it is gray, most of the buildings are gray stone, but the people are the color, and no postcard can capture that.

As wonderful as the capital is, my most vivid memories are from the countryside. I’ve spent most of my time in County Meath, the once seat of the high kings of Ireland. Some of the sites I’ve visited are touristy enough, with parking lots and ticket stands, but other are known only by the locals. There are three neolithic passage graves in Meath–Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. Only two of them are set up for tourists. Dowth is in the middle of a farmer’s field, located off a little one lane road. I have no idea how you’d find it and get to it if you weren’t going t with a local. There are countless places like that around. On a walk one day we came across the ruins of a church.

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The old celtic crosses were beautiful, though sad. A few of the graves were tended for still, but most were just stones placed in a landscape more wild that cultivated. We even found a few graves baring with is now my married surname.

-Lila

Oh wait, remember that book I mentioned? Well this it is:

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Caera Cassidy has spent two years building the historic–and haunted–Glenncailty Castle into one of the most sought-after hotels and performance venues in Ireland. But she can’t say it’s her dream. She lost that years ago when what she thought was love led her to a dark place not even her music could reach.

Once in a while, though, it’s safe to pretend. And that’s what she’s doing when she plays her harp on the empty stage in the castle’s theater.
When American folk musician Tim Wilcox spots the mysterious woman at the front of the theater, he’s enraptured. Not only by her virtuoso skill and ethereal voice, but by her dark beauty–and the shadows in her blue eyes when she insists she’s no musician.
Wary of repeating the mistakes of her past, Caera tells herself she can indulge in the pleasure of Tim’s company, his touch, without risking her heart. But she hadn’t counted on Tim’s determination to convince her she’s worthy of her gifts. Or on lingering souls who live in the castle, who are growing restless, ready to warn her that deadly mistakes are not meant to be repeated…

Caed Mile Failte!

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