In these touching love letters, IrishCentral readers tell the stories of what fills their hearts with Ireland.
Winter is just around the corner, and as you're reading this you may be looking back on your summer vacation of a lifetime to Ireland or you could be dreaming of future Irish adventures.
Earlier this year as part of our amazing competition with Tourism Ireland, we asked you to tell us what fills your heart with Ireland. Here, some of our readers share their very own love letters to Ireland:
“Dear Ireland... In the moments before the transatlantic plane lands, whether it be in sunshine or in rain, tired eyes are treated to the beautiful sight of the Irish countryside. Stepping out of the terminal, the heady scent of lush fields of grass, I am immediately transported back to my childhood days when my Irish-born parents would return home to visit family.
There can be no better feeling than the sense of belonging I get when in Ireland. Each morning, I fortify myself for the upcoming day. Irish food is nearly magical, and the quality and quantity can not be found elsewhere. A “Full Irish" with a pot of tea holds me until supper when I can indulge myself with Irish beef, chicken, or seafood, the likes of which are superb. There can be nothing better than a fresh, new potato slathered with creamy Irish butter. When the day comes to a close, I lie in bed and my heart sings.”
- Margaret King
"Dear Ireland... My heart is full when I remember the smile of my late Mother when we toured the island of our ancestors. From Dublin to Downpatrick, Giants Causeway to Malin Head, driving the Wild Atlantic Way through Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Clare, and down to Dingle. My memories keep her alive."
- Marie Redden
"Dear Ireland... you are the home of my heart - on those long summer days when the light lingers past midnight, in the misty days of autumn changes, besides a cozy fire on a winter’s night, and as springtime blossoms bloom again, all accompanied by a soundtrack of fiddle tunes and the friendly laughter of your warm welcomes.”
- Deborah Perpetua
"Dear Ireland... I visited last year to learn more about the genealogy of my mom's side of the family. Throughout the trip, I was taken aback by the amount of time and effort that the Irish people have put into learning about and preserving their history. From Dublin to Belfast, and Benburb in Co Tyrone, each place was filled with history that I struggled to wrap my mind around."
- Brett Woslager
"Dear Ireland ... I wish to thank you for the beautiful memories I hold in my heart and want you to know that my visits have made me a richer person. We visited as a family and decided we wanted to go horseback riding. I found a stable near where we were staying in Clifden, Co Galway that looked amazing and had wonderful reviews. I remember the drive to the stable took us down a long and windy road that eventually turned to dirt. I was a little surprised at how small and homespun the stable was in person but it was perfect.
A charming gentleman was our guide and he took us along the beach, would you believe there were cows on the sand and even in the water. The ride was relaxing and so wonderful to experience with my family. This was one of those life moments where you stop, breathe in, and say to yourself I am truly living the dream, and how fortunate are we to be able to do this together."
- Jane Howes
"Dear Ireland ... What fills my heart is the way my friends fall in love (as I already have) immediately with not only the beauty of the land but also of the people. From Dublin's energy and excitement to the peaceful West Coast with its breathtaking cliffs to Northern Ireland's lovely beach towns, Ireland has a way of stealing your heart every time."
- Aileen Byrne-Harden
What will be your love letter to Ireland? Whether you decide to wander through 5,000 years of history in Ireland’s Ancient East, discover Ireland’s breathtaking west coast along the Wild Atlantic Way, embrace a giant spirit in Northern Ireland, or enjoy the unspoiled majesty of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands – an experience of a lifetime awaits you.
This article is presented proudly in partnership with Tourism Ireland. To learn more about Tourism Ireland and get inspired for your next visit to Ireland, check out their website at www.ireland.com.
Note: Some of these reader stories have been modified in length for the purpose of the article.