“Daddy, I need to show you something!” Yana, my 6-year-old daughter screamed from the top of a lush green hill she was desperately trying to navigate. It took me a minute or two to climb that relatively steep hill, and as I stopped beside her and stared at what she was excitedly pointing at — my jaw dropped. Before us stood three sheep, calmly eating grass against a wonderfully green valley immersed in golden sunlight. I knew Ireland was beautiful when my family and I drove the five hours from Dublin to Waterville and saw the infinite and flawless varieties of green landscape, Mountains, Castles, and hidden lakes, but the sight that welcomed me at that moment was nothing I had ever seen nor experienced in my entire life.
After 30 seconds of gawking at the sheep, Yana decided that she was bored and started to run toward a cerulean blue waterfall that was barely visible behind a large assortment of moss covered rocks and stunning deep green vegetation. “Daddy, Ich brauche dich schnell!” (‘I need you quickly’ in German) Yana cried out as she reached the waterfall. The waterfall was overpowering and the smell of fresh spring water floated through the air. Occasionally, I would feel a few drops of water on my face and hands and so I tried to catch as many water droplets in my mouth as possible. The sun hovered high against a cloudless blue sky, emphasizing the unique and tranquil beauty of where we stood. Yana and I would sometimes catch a quick glimpse of butterflies dancing across the pool of water that the waterfall flowed into.
Yana and I could only enjoy the waterfall for 3 minutes when we noticed storm clouds making their way quickly toward us. We were at a high elevation and I was not surprised when the rain found us. I grabbed Yana by the hand and we dashed down the mountain’s lush, green countryside and searched frantically for the Ring of Kerry walking trail we used to get to get there, and then we slowly made our way back to the car. The wind started blowing so hard that I had to pick up Yana and carry her the rest of the way, lest she be blown away entirely. When we finally found our blue 4-door rental car, I quickly opened the door and we dove in, just as the dark, foreboding clouds unleashed their torrential downpour.
My family and I will forever remember our adventures through Ireland (until next year when we visit again!). It was a place filled with open and friendly people and it was such a joy to learn Gaelic from the locals, and to navigate the one-laned roads of County Kerry. Ireland is a place that offers so much and takes you back to a time in human history where peace, happiness, and love were waiting for you around every corner.
Curtis Albers is a former abused foster care child survivor turned Army Ranger. He enjoys traveling, learning about other cultures, astronomy and generally enjoys interacting with other human beings who are just as optimistic, interesting, creative and passionate as him.Â