Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Author Karen Robbins on Her Ireland Trip


Cindy's note: Karen is a writer friend who just happens to have been born on St. Patrick's Day. I asked her to share with you some memories about her trip.

Thanks for inviting me today, Cindy! One of the reasons I love your books so much is the Ireland connection. In 2011, we spent a month exploring Ireland. We began in Dublin and circled the entire island country. It is truly a beautiful country with wonderful people—actually two countries, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which is still a part of the United Kingdom.

Karen Robbins's photo.
I cannot pick out a favorite spot. Each area was unique and had something different to experience although I do favor the countryside more than the larger cities. One of the most delightful things about each area that we visited though was the storytelling. Ah, the Irish can spin a tale!

On our second day to explore the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland, we found ourselves in the land of legendary giants. The Giant's Causeway, a spectacular work of nature or giants if you would believe folklore, was fascinating. The rock formation is made from an estimated 40,000 basalt columns which were formed from a volcanic eruption over 60 million years ago. 



The causeway was discovered in 1692 by the Bishop of Derry who immediately reported it to the tourist bureau in Dublin--just kidding--but it was reported to Dublin authorities who in turn contacted authorities in London and the theories and research began in an attempt to explain the phenomenon.

But who wants facts like lava flowing and filling in fissures and creating a layer of basalt and then sun and rain eroding them, more lava flowing, cooling slowly, more cracking, and on and on until you get all of these columns of mostly six-sided stones? Give me the legend. It's much more fun.
Karen Robbins's photo.

It is said that an Irish giant named Finn McCool lived along the coast and was insulted by a Scottish giant, Fingal, who lived across the channel. In anger, Finn lifted a huge chunk of earth and hurled it at Fingal. The earth fell into the sea. Fingal retaliated with a huge stone tossed in Finn's direction. He taunted Finn saying that Finn was lucky he wasn't a strong swimmer or he'd come over to the Irish shore and give Finn what for.

Finn was enraged and began throwing large clumps of earth into the channel to make a walkway for Fingal to come over and face him. It took him a week to complete the walkway but since he hadn't slept in a week, he was worried that he was too tired to face Fingal.

Now here's where it gets interesting. One account says he asked his wife what to do and she told him to disguise himself as a baby in a cot--which is what he did. When Fingal arrived, Finn's wife said her husband was out but showed Fingal her "baby" laying in the cradle. Fingal saw the size of the "baby" and wondered how big the father was. He high tailed it home tearing up the walkway as he went. The Giants Causeway is all that's left.

Now isn't that better than a lot of geological facts? Before we left, Bob and I were feeling a bit adventuresome. We climbed to the top of a group of rocks for a Kodak moment. After all, we were nearing the end of our Ireland trip and a turned ankle wouldn't be so disastrous.


KAREN ROBBINS is a freelance writer, author, and speaker. She and her husband are travel addicts and stop by home in the Cleveland area of Ohio on occasion to repack the suitcases. Her stories are often inspired by adventures in many different parts of the world.
Along the writing adventure, Karen has published Divide The Child, Murder Among The Orchids, In A Pickle, and Death Among The Deckchairs. She has also coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts and has contributed to several Chicken Soup books. Travel articles, essays on grandparenting, and some of her short stories can be found in various magazines both online and in print.
While the world is fun to explore, Karen most likes to spend time with her eight grandchildren. They offer the greatest adventures of all.
Follow Karen’s travels at Writer’s Wanderings. Connect with her at her Facebook Author Page to learn when her next Casey Stengel Mystery book, Secrets Among The Shamrocks will be released.