The first two days in Ireland have already been filled with memorable experiences, but I can’t overlook the very first moments here – looking out the airplane window at the green land beneath us, and then on the bus ride from the airport. I was tired, drained, and miserable after the previous twenty-four hours of traveling, waiting, traveling. But as soon as I saw the view out of the bus window, exhaustion gave way to amazement. My spirits lifted all I could think about was how happy I was to be there. The scenery of the Irish countryside was enough to make me forget about my fatigue (at least for a little while).
The walking tour of Sneem with Batt Burns was a wonderful way to get to know the village. Hearing the different stories and little bits of history helps me to understand and feel better acquainted with the place itself. I love that we have people like Batt and John Vincent to guide us because I think it makes the experience more meaningful (not to mention so much easier!). In fact, everyone in Sneem has been incredibly helpful and hospitable so far and that has definitely made me feel more relaxed and welcome.
Maybe it is because Sneem’s smallness and timelessness, and its local history and natural beauty remind me of familiar places, or maybe it is the friendly and welcoming community. Most likely a combination of these things has given me the feeling of home while in Sneem, even though we have only been here a few days. A few of us have already said how much we would like to live here. While technically we are outsiders here, I feel like we have had the privilege of being included in the community during our visit. Part of this feeling has definitely come from hearing some of the stories associated with Sneem. Many of these have come from Batt Burns of course, and others have come from some of the local residents we have met along the way.