I love Ireland. I was so fortunate to travel there with my daughter Lisa in 2016.
So, I decided a good way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day Friday is to post some of the photos from our trip.
We were fortunate to meet with some of my grandmother Laura Baylee Slingsby’s relatives. Laura was born in 1877 in Ontario, Canada, and died in 1939 in Cashmere, Washington. Here are the Bailey family members that we were able to meet in Kilkishen, County Clare. It was such fun.
This is Lisa at Bunratty Castle. Located by the River Ratty in County Clare, Bunratty Castle is the most authentically restored and complete medieval fortress in Ireland. The name Bunratty means “river basin” or the end of the river that’s right next to it. Bunratty Folk Park nearby, set on 26 acres of County Clare countryside, features more than 30 buildings in a “living” village and rural setting.
We saw these cherry blossoms in Dublin.
I was surprised to learn Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is a Church of Ireland, a Protestant denomination, cathedral not a Catholic church. We asked a guide how such a huge Protestant cathedral is maintained in a largely Catholic country. He said the Guinness family had recently made a significant contribution to help maintain the church. He also said Protestants come from throughout the area for the services in the church. We learned as we traveled throughout Ireland that Protestant churches have been closing throughout the country as Protestant populations were decreasing. In fact, in Kilkishen, the former Protestant church had just been converted into a community center. That’s how we learned about our Bailey relatives: a call had gone out to descendants of Kilkishen residents to raise money for the community center. We also learned that a Protestant church in Dublin had been converted into a restaurant and another one had been moved to the Bunratty Folk Park.
Lisa and I visited the Guinness factory where the famous beer is made. However, you don’t actually get to go into the factory. They have so many visitors every year that they built a special event complex to entertain the visitors.
This is the path to Knappogue Castle, which happened to be closed when we were traveling through the Shannon Region of County Clare just outside Quin village.
Fortunately, we were able to attend the Easter Sunday service at the Unitarian Church in Dublin.
I was so excited to be visiting Ireland. The photo is of the first dinner I had and I was excited to see such large servings of “mash.”
Ireland is a very small country. The population rose to 5.1 million in 2021, the first time since the famine of 1845 -1852 that its population was more than 5 million. Ireland’s population has never recovered from the famine when 1 million people died from starvation and exposure and 1 million more emigrated, according to The Irish Post.
In addition to the famine, Irish people have emigrated to other countries due to harsh pre-independence policies, poor economic conditions, lack of job opportunities, and social and religious persecution.