Aerial view of Dublin City...but where to start?

Well, here I am back in Dublin, trying to keep myself awake until at least nine tonight so I can nip my jet lag in the bud. My visit home flew by – it almost feels like I didn’t go at all. Then again, it was so full of good conversations, tasty meals and favorite places that surely it must have been longer than ten days.

I’ve left Dublin and returned to it probably a dozen times, but I think this time was the most it felt like coming back to a place that felt a bit my own. With Dublin in my mind, Boston felt kind of dirty, kind of crowded, and kind of big, and Americans seemed kind of loud, kind of shameless, and kind of emotional. (But I had missed that.)

I was worried that I wouldn’t want to come back to Ireland at all – and it’s always complicated leaving your home – but I’m here with more enthusiasm for the physical place now.

I thought tonight would be a good time to pull out the list I started making last August (wow time flies) of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to goin Ireland this year. Here are the ones I’ve got checked off so far:

Taste poitín
National History Museum
National Print Museum
Climb Croagh Patrick
Learn to bake Irish bread
Get a white wooly jumper
Get proper walking shoes
Smell a peat fire
Walk around Phoenix Park
Figure out Irish humor a little better
The Giant’s Causeway
Kilmainham Gaol

I’ve written about some of those experiences (and you can spot my big white jumper in a few photos). It's a short list, though, right? I have so much to do over the coming months! However, I've done other amazing things that weren't on my list to begin with, like the cycle from Westport to Achill, and playing tag rugby and seeing Kylemore Abbey. The remaining-to-be-done list is sooo much longer:

Take an Irish language class
Attempt Irish dancing, also set dance at a proper ceili
Attempt the tin whistle
Visit every county
Skellig Michael
Boat on the Shannon
Cliffs of Moher
The Burren
Win at the races
Finally go to Howth
See the Book of Kells already!
Watch the Rose of Tralee
See at least one thing in the 02
Drink a full pint of Guinness
Go to the dog races
See a Sheela-na-gig
Watch the Liffey Swim
Tory Island
Go to a concert at the national Concert hall
Go inside Christchurch and St. Patrick’s
Walk the Wicklow Way

And that’s not even the whole list. I also have a big map of Ireland on my wall (have I mentioned this?) on which I’m highlighting all the places I’ve been. So far almost every highlighted place is on or very near a coast: I’ve explored very little of the middle!

What else do you think I have to add to my “To See and Do” list?