By now, the rows of colorful saltbox housesÂ hardly warrant a second glance. Instead of charm, I see old plumbing and drafty windows. I see the cost of replacement slate, and toilets you can barely turn around in. I’m starting to understand why Irish react so strongly when visitors comment on the loveliness of this lush island. When I told our landlord my family lives in Florida, which is the equivalent of paradise to sun-deprived locals, she responded with “Leaving Florida for Ireland?! Can you imagine?!” She, quite literally, could not understand it. But to someone who has grown up with cliffs dropping into aquamarine oceans, sheep dotting the fields, and so many beautiful things to see the signs can’t fit on the posts, I’m sure it’s hard to see why someone would choose this way over the more modern, and much less charming, American life.
We spent a half day in Valentia Island, doing a light hike around the peak of the island, and then had lunch in Portmagee. The tiny village is part of the Skellig Ring, and the launching point of many of the boats that take you to Skellig Islands. Valentia is the site where the world’s first transatlantic cable originated
Photography by Rebekah Marenda Burder.