For many people, Ireland evokes images of thatched cottages, warm smiles and pints of Guinness. I won't dispute these images, because I've seen each of these things in abundance in my visits. For others, certain areas of Ireland denote Irishness, and would be considered a "Great Irish Spot." There are many, many places I could choose to fit this bill. For me, places like The Burren, or Glendalough ,or The Giants Causeway are perfect examples of the scenic beauty that is Ireland, and each of them would be considered a "Great Irish Spot."
Or other places, like my favorite pub in Dublin (O'Donoghue's, in case you're wondering), or Ennis (for the music, of course), and other such places would be other shining stars in my personal Great Irish Spots. But it is not these places, great as they are, that I think of when I think about a Great Irish Spot…and you might be surprised when you hear where mine is.
Many years ago, when I was a little girl, I used to love to visit my Granny. We would sit at her kitchen table, have a cup of tea (mine with more milk than tea), and talk. It was here, in her kitchen, that I learned about my Irish roots, and our family that still lived across the sea. She told me about when our portion of the Foley family came over, and how my Uncle Edward's red hair came from his grandfather who lived in Cork. She had so many stories…some sad, but many more happy…about life and family, and how our Irishness had always been something that played a large role in these things.
Her eyes carried the light of the past within them, as she told me each story, and it is this light…this passion…that brought me to where I am today.
Her love and passion sparked that same flame within me, and the more I delve into my studies of Irish history and literature, the more enflamed my soul becomes for these things. I have gained much joy in my studies, and I owe that joy to my Granny.
So, while I do have many tangible places that are Great Irish Spots, for me, the greatest Irish Spot I've ever found is at Granny's kitchen table, as she brought joy to my life every time she sang to me her own song of Ireland.