Hi, @carey! Here are some things. 💚🍀✅
  1. For steeping in solitude: spend a night (or more) on one of the Aran Islands. I suggest Inis Meain, because it is the least visited.
    It is good to be on an island that is small enough to circle on foot, populated by more cows than people, and with more stone walls than anything else. I stayed at Tig Congaile, a B&B run by a Guatamalan women who fell in love with a man from the island when they were both young in the U.S. He starts each day open water swimming in the frigid sea, often nude. She ends each day cooking for tourists, mostly the fish her husband catches and brings to her.
  2. For being alone in a crowd: Dublin!!
    Be alone in a crowd of tourists at the National Museum and coo at the Iron Age jewelry (❤️). Be alone in a crowd of aging punks at a film screening at the IFI and watch a doc about The Damned (it's great). Be alone and drunk and stamp your feet and clap your hands and get teary listening to music. Be alone in the crowd at St. Stephens Green and think about how it reminds you of Boston Garden, and then how it does not.
  3. For communing with capital N Nature: the Dingle Peninsula
    I went on long walks. I laid over the edge of a small cliff with my belly in the grass and my face to the sea. I went kayaking and let my fingers trail along the surface of the water. I saw a goddam dolphin.
  4. For some city things: a little bit of Galway goes a long way
    I don't know. There was a giant festival going on, but it seems there always is. I watched a theatrical parade with a group of Spanish campers and their American counselors. I liked walking along the beachside path in the fiercest wind I've felt in years. I liked buying a book from a French student who was (maybe?) flirting when he told me, "Oh, theez eez very populaaar in our house." I liked watching a boy look up at the Spanish Arch and timidly ask his father, "Um, but why is it special?"
  5. For treating your darn self: get as many free samples as you feel comfortable asking for at Murphy's Ice Cream
    You could do this in Dublin or in Dingle or also I think I'm Killarney. They make the staff wear that sort of hat my grandfather wore all the time, and that feels so hokey. But don't get confused! This shit is legit amazing! Elderflower! Gin! Irish coffee! Blackberry sorbet!
  6. For feeling like a silly tourist, but sucking it up: the Cliffs of Mohr
    Oh man, nothing killed my Womyn Warrior vibe more than asking a German schuler to take my photo at the most visited site* in the whole darn country. But breathe through it. This place is beautiful and terrifying. *s/o Lonely Planet Guide to Ireland, 2014
  7. For getting from here to there: Irish Rail and Bus Eireann
    You don't need a car. People will tell you to get one, but I say no to driving on the wrong side of the road, especially alone. No, thank you. Plus: free wifi on all busses and trains so whatever. (Free wifi became a very big deal to me...)
  8. For buying: or, are souvenirs meaningless in an age of mass culture?
    Invest in experiences, not objects and all that. But sometimes I like a talisman to hold and to hoard forever and ever, Amen. Here are some things I bought or thought about buying: local children's literature (e.g. an beautifully illustrated book of Irish legends, a graphic novel about Brian Boru), handmade knitwear, antique lace, European office supplies (why are their pens so good?!), CDs from buskers (potential meet cute? Is this the plot of Once?), yarn, a book of ballads.