I thought it appropriate, if not cliché, to feature one of my favorite places in honor of the upcoming holiday that celebrates all things Irish.

I spent 6 months living and going to school in Galway, Ireland in 2003. It was a semester full of craíc (pronounced crack and meaning “fun” in Gaelic) with 3 great roommates. We spent much of our time, when not in class of course, traveling around Ireland and the rest of Europe, enjoying Ireland’s finest beer selections and falling in love with the island’s people and places.

The sites, sounds and smells of Ireland bring back great memories and lots of inspiration.

The sound of the wind whipping and the waves crashing at the Cliffs of Moher as you peer very carefully over the edge into the hazy blue waters far below. The vibrant green of the fields you pass en route to the Dingle Peninsula on a narrow and winding stone-lined road, only to be stopped by a herd of downy, cream sheep crossing the road. After a long day of exploring ancient castles and touring local towns, stopping in for a perfect pint of Guinness.

Inch Beach on the way to Dingle on Flee Fly Flown

Deep Brown: The dark wood of the hand carved bar at your new favorite pub. The deep rich color of Guinness – liquid dinner. The shine of the fiddle as a local plays some traditional tunes at the pub.

Emerald Green: The fields you can see for miles as you drive along the coast on your way to the Dingle Peninsula. The color of the facade of that cute little shop selling celtic crosses. The ivy covering the old castle you made a stop in.

Slate Gray: The stone walls, buildings and castles that abound the towns and villages across the entire island. The cobble stones along the pedestrian shopping routes.

Burnt Gold: The dry heather in the marshes of the many lakes. The shiny glint on the edge of your pint glass.

Navy Turquoise: Is this even a color? Darker than Turquoise, not quite Navy Blue. The deep blue of the Atlantic as you peer out from atop the cliffs of moher or the edge of the Aran Islands.

Cream: The froth settling in on a perfectly poured pint of Guinness (or Smithwick’s!). The fisherman’s cable knit sweater you picked up at that great little shop along Shop Street in Galway. An “irish” traffic jam of sheep crossing pastures across the road.

Ireland inspiration on Flee Fly Flown
Top row, left to right: Peering over the edge at the Cliffs of Moher, Shop Street in Galway, Aran Sweater Market. Middle row: Celtic cross, tree growing in an abandoned castle in Donegal, Striped door on Inis Mór – Aran Islands. Bottom row: The Cliffs of Moher, a perfect pint of Guinness, Ashford Castle (now a hotel!) in Cong.

Found in translation, a little closer to home:

Irish inspiration at home on Flee Fly Flown
Top row, left to right: Pretty fisherman knit arm-warmers, $25. Listen to Gaelic Storm. Find the perfect pint with the Guinness Gallery App, $1.99. Middle row: Watch The Quiet Man with John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara, set in Cong, Ireland, $13+. Join the largest Irish Festival outside of Ireland, this year August 19-22. Cables & arans knit stitch book of patterns, $22.95. Bottom Row: Make Irish Stew. Decorate for Easter with felted eggs, made in Ireland, $25. Learn to draw Celtic Knots, $14.49.

Irish descendant or not, I highly recommend visiting this beautiful island at some point in your life. The people are warm and welcoming, the landscape is inspiring, and the beer, of course, is delicious! But in the meantime, I hope my impressions leave you inspired.


- Colleen