Categories: Favorite ExperiencesIreland

A Little Cozy…Peat Fireplaces, Rugged Ireland, and Something Special

It’s the peat. Ireland just has this certain something that makes the country feel incredibly unique; a something that I couldn’t quite identify for the first three weeks I spent in the country.

I’ve concluded that if Leprechauns, fairies and the such exist, then surely they all congregate in Ireland’s “Wild West.” From Galway City I drove through hours of brown-speckled hills weakly lit with the few and tiny bits of sunshine able to wrestle from behind gray rain clouds and drove into the heart Connemara.

The twinkling breakfast nook at the Old Monastery Hostel in Connemara

And just for the record, what I just described, that’s everything that I actually kind of hate. I’m a Florida girl, the Sunshine state people! My entire RTW trip was structured to chase warm weather around the world…which means I run screaming from any signs of gloomy weather and the cold makes me cry just a little inside.

And yet. Here’s Ireland. The polar opposite “bright and sunshiny.” A rainy, overcast, cold and wet country with thousands of pubs and a charming yet occasionally incomprehensible (to me) brogue. The country inspires me and makes me just want to smile inside.

So back to the peat, a central part of my love-affair with Ireland. A quick tangent, in case you’re baffled right now, please, take a moment to educate yourself on peat – in short, it’s simply decayed vegetation matter then compressed and used in fires because it burns incredibly slow. But really, it’s a lot more than that. The smell of the peat stung the inside of my nose the first time I inhaled a big whiff of a freshly lit peat fire. The foreign smell made my eyes instantly water and I sat pondering the sanity of the Irish for even using peat.  But then I mellowed back out, watched the peat begin to internally glow a warm orange, relaxed back into my conversation and sank into the evening.

A warm peat fireplace in the cozy communal living room

And that’s when it hit me. It’s this warmth and relaxed enjoyablity that I so love about Ireland. At one of my last hostels (and I stayed there for a week I enjoyed it so much) all the travelers enjoyed the warm peat fire, the varied accents, and dynamic conversations….all set off with that unique smell of a warm, peaty fire.

So when I’m asked the baffling question of why I love Ireland so much and keep going back there when there’s so much of the world to see…you know, perhaps it’s the peat.

Photo credit and big warm hugs to Eva, a friend  from the hostel who took these amazing photos and has the cutest baby ever  :-)

This post was last modified on June 20, 2012 10:16 pm

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  • The insides of pubs here in Scotland as well as Ireland have to be cosy - it's always awful outside. Well, not always, but you know what I mean. :-)

  • Oh, this made my day! Spent all week melting in the tropics, and this couldn't have been cozier. I want to jump right into that picture! I also grew up in Florida and have a close friend who just moved to Dublin. We were talking yesterday about how she misses sunshine. But now I know she'll have plenty of warmth!

    • Thanks Abby - as much as I do just love sunshine, you've just gotta love the
      alternative too :-) Cheers to another Floridian!

  • The insides of pubs here in Scotland as well as Ireland have to be cosy - it's always awful outside. Well, not always, but you know what I mean. :-)

    • I know what you mean - and while I love the coziness...blech to the reason
      for it...warmth...good. Enjoy Cali next week ;-)

  • Thanks Abby - as much as I do just love sunshine, you've just gotta love the
    alternative too :-) Cheers to another Floridian!

  • I know what you mean - and while I love the coziness...blech to the reason
    for it...warmth...good. Enjoy Cali next week ;-)

  • Haha I can relate to that, crying inside when it's too cold.
    Well, my 8 months of sun are over. I was longing for some cold weather, so I went to this tiny village in the middle of nowhere completely surrounded of snow and mountains. I've spent 4 months here now, and now I'm getting tired of that too.. I guess the best is a little of everything.

    I found the cheapest flight ever to Dublin (Ryan Air ofcourse ;P), it's very tempting to buy it but we'll see what happens, this post is very convincing though :)

  • Oh man, you know I am going to be all for buying the flight to Dublin if you
    can swing it!! :-) It's still going to be cold though - though maybe not
    snowy mountainy cold - I say pack up the bags and go :-)

  • I love the pictures you used! I really want to visit Ireland one day and this post just makes me want to visit even more! Safe travels!

  • Thanks so much B :-) I definitely think the country is well worth a visit -
    I want to move their myself one day!

  • I love the pictures you used! I really want to visit Ireland one day and this post just makes me want to visit even more! Safe travels!

    • Thanks so much B :-) I definitely think the country is well worth a visit -
      I want to move their myself one day!

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