Emerald Green

This faded photo, for me, evokes green, emerald green.

Back a few years, I was a turning point in my life, I’d stepped out of working in advertising in the West End of London and was unemployed and volunteering in a hostel for young homeless people. I had an old iron bicycle, which I’d brought for 10 quid, the furthest I went on it was the job centre to sign on. I was listening to a lot of Van Morrison and developed a romantic idea of cycling around Ireland. Two small panniers meant minimal luggage, a ruck sack chucked in the basket on the front to keep my lunch close to hand and two Van Morrison cassette tapes for my walkman, which I planned to listen to on repeat.  My lone adventure – I was young and feeling invincible.

A ten day trip, cycling all day, and staying in B&B’s where ever I ended up in the evening. I love travel by bike, you see more, you can smell the world as you pass by, people speak to you. However, after two days cycling, it occurred to me that more cycling preparation had been required, my legs seized up and I couldn’t walk.  I’d managed to get across Ireland and arrived at a friends parent’s house over looking the Shannon River. Enforced rest, many scones and some running repairs.  We tied the old bicycle to the top of an old ford fiesta drove to the top of the Connor Pass.  The bike and me were dropped off and I freewheeled into Dingle, to begin my journey proper.

Ireland, for me, fulfilled all the clichés, I found people warm, welcoming and friendly. The scenery lifts the spirit, it was, truly, emerald green. This photograph was taken at Slea head on the far west of the Dingle peninsular, early one morning. Not another soul there. The Atlantic stretched for thousands of miles in one direction but the most beautiful thing was the land, rich green fields, a pale green mist, green cliffs, lapped by green sea. I was listening to Van Morrison (of course, I only had Van Morrison) a track called Into the Mystic, at that moment the world was perfect and I sat on my bike, big tears rolling down my cheeks simply because it was all so beautiful; the Emerald Isle.

I wrote a longer post about this journey when I first started blogging you can read about it here.


  1. Blue Sky

    Beautiful evocative photo: Ireland is still the same, despite all the stuff you may have read in the papers, and I feel privileged to live here. Hope you visit again 🙂

  2. Kate Takes 5

    Do you know I’m always surprised when people come here and love it – grumpy crazy Irish folk and grey rain is what I usually see! Such a lovely post. We’re heading off to Dingle camping this summer – will have a pint of Guinness for you there!

  3. Mandi

    What an awesome place!
    I’ve never been to Ireland but your shot was yet another reminder that it should be at the top of my “Places I must visit before I’m too ga-ga” list.

    I think I could even persuade the Ovver Arf (Greek born & bred and therefore spoilt by a friendly climate) that the rain is worth putting up with for all that glorious GREEN!

  4. Nic's Notebook

    Aww so lovely – glad you enjoyed Ireland.. I would love to take off somewhere on a bike, I would be the same as you though and my legs would def sieze up lol

  5. Katie aka Mummy,Daddy, Me

    What a beautiful post- I have only been once but I also loved the Emerald Isle. It was wonderful and the people were very nice. That sounds like a lovely trip.

  6. SAHMlovingit

    What a beautiful post (as always) Gemma, so amazing that you did that and have that experience of Ireland. I’d love to go there – I’ve been to Northern Ireland only.

    Thanks for sharing this memory and photo.


  7. Kerry

    What a fantastic picture and a fantastic post to go with it. I have always had a love of Ireland and I have no clue why. I have never been but I feel that I would be completed if I went there something tells me it is the last piece of me, I am not sure why and I am 100% I will go when I am supposed to so we shall wait and see xx

  8. Claire

    It looks so beautiful. I have a similar picture of isolated house up in Skye but it lacks the green and is more a harsh and barren landscape. I love how the green in this picture warms the scene.

  9. Mirka Moore

    Such a lovely post, and a beautiful picture. I ahve been to Ireland and Northern Ireland a few times, love it there, the nature is just stunning there 😉 @Kahanka

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.