Nov 5, 2010

Why I Went North

This picture is in Downpatrick on a street where my Little ancestors probably walked.

Tom and I spent most of our trip to Ireland in the north. That sounded odd both to people here and to the people in Northern Ireland. But I don't regret the decision. Many of the sites I've written about are in Northern Ireland, as were some of the friends I had met over here. We didn't often run into other Americans while we were there. Wherever we went, after we spoke to someone, they looked surprised and said, "You're Americans!" They would always ask us where we were from. When we said Ohio, they said, "Oh" and nodded their heads. We told them it was okay if they didn't know where Ohio was. Many of them had been to New York,Boston, California, or Florida. "We're in the middle," we told them.

I think more tourists should go to Northern Ireland. It's beautiful, uncrowded, and welcoming. There is just as much history and ancient ruins and such. We ate at some wonderful places in small towns.

Many of the tourists who do go to Northern Ireland go there to research their ancestry. We didn't do any research on this trip,
but we did note the places that our ancestors
came from. Mine were from Downpatrick, County Down, and Tom's from Magherafelt, County Londonderry. Driving through the countryside where they probably roamed and on the street where they probably drove their
wagons or carts was inspiring. I've done the same thing in parts of this country where my ancestors lived. You can tell why they settled in eastern Pennsylvania (Tom's ancestors) and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (my ancestors) when you see what that part of Ireland looks like. They felt at home with the landscape, I'm sure.

When we go back to Ireland (we were talking about going back before we even left)
I want to see other areas of Ireland, and Scotland too. But this time I got to go where I wanted to go. I'm sitting at my computer now and wishing I was back there. That memory of green will never leave me. It was amazing.



  1. My experience in the Republic was similar: they are very welcoming to Americans (we come with money in our pockets!). I only went into the north to see the Giant's Causeway, so I can't comment too much, except to say it made my traveling companion cranky! :)

  2. We did spend some time in the Republic. People should go there too! Just don't overlook the North.

  3. Actually the Thomsons settled more in Western PA, near Maryland.

  4. Amazing pictures--I am guessing one picture is IrishMoss and the other a graveyard---Lovely, Lovely...Thank You for sharing.

  5. Yes, moss and a graveyard--examples of green. I have hundreds more photos, literally! Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

  6. I went to the North, despite my father asking me not to (he was worried about troubles, etc. This was many many years ago). I went to see the Giant's Causeway and was ever so glad I did. It is truly magnificent. I totally understand why you felt it was inspiring. Visiting Ireland was inspiring for me to. I walked the streets where my ancestors came from and drove along the roads that they pushed their carts. (in the Inniskeen region)

  7. The Causeway was awesome, Marie. That's where my current FB picture was taken. I'll be posting more about the Causeway in the future. Glad to hear you had a similar experience!

  8. Cindy, loved the post (again). Thanks for giving us a bit of your Irish travels.