The waves are small here. No worry of getting wet on my perch above the water. Small tide pools below me: limpets, barnacles, and snails are the only survivors of this lonely bit of North Atlantic coastline. I’m watching a small island, maybe 200 yards off shore, with a ruin or memorial or stone remnant of some other thing atop a small mound at sea. No way to get there, I will probably never know what the birds are sitting on, how old it is, or who carefully arranged the rocks in a way strong enough to withstand what the west coast of Ireland can manifest.

Today the weather is spotty with low clouds and a steady breeze. This, I assume, is real Irish weather. Our trip has been blessed with beautiful and unusually fair days with big patches of sun and San Diego temps in the low 70’s. Locals say it is the driest summer in memory. I worry what this means to the Emerald Isle as I can already see brown grasses where there should be deep green vegetation.

Nevertheless, the countryside is everything I had hoped for: stunning, kind and home-like. I could live here. I need an accent, but I think I could learn to fit in. People are warm and friendly and the physical environment makes me feel like I’m back in the Pacific Northwest again. The ocean smells right and the wind feels right. The locals tell stories to make everyone smile, good natured teasing goes along way, and self-deprecating humor is always welcome without judgment.

I don’t know how long my ancestors lived on this lovely island, but it was long enough to embed the DNA in my blood. I can’t claim Ireland as my home, but I know now my Irish roots run deep and proud.

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