Samara O'Shea

Living in Thatch

Going to Ireland, like going most places in Europe, feels like stepping back in time. Buildings and streets are smaller and history is all around. It may be the site of a castle or of a building obviously built in the 1600s, but there is something on just about every corner that will take you to a time you never knew and (yet somehow) are completely familiar with.

The weather was autumn-like the whole time we were there, which was fine by me as it was 98 degrees and above with hardcore humidity back home (still is). We started in Dublin and spent a day/night there before heading to a small town called Nenagh (pronounced Neena), where my friend Lisa lives, and then we went all the way west to Galway. I loved both the big cities, and it was lovely to see provincial Ireland as well. A few photos:

A stereotypically beautiful picture of Ireland on the Aran Islands, a short ferry ride from Galway. It’s the only place in in the country where they still speak Gaelic.

This cafe, also on the Aran Islands, has a roof made of thatch. Yes, thatch. Though it looks small on the outside, it’s actually quite big and they serve a divine potato gratin.

My cousin Kate on a windy day, which is pretty much every day in Ireland.

I enjoy seeing the language I know and love used in alternate ways. This is a sign at Trinity College, Dublin.


Rohan’s is one of the oldest pubs in Nenagh. Once upon a time, all pubs doubled as general stores. Rohan’s is the only pub in Nenagh that is still both a general store and bar. It’s pretty sweet—in an early 20th-century kinda way. And what would a century-old bar be with a Facebook page!

I took this at the James Joyce Center in Dublin. Honestly, I was disappointed with the center. In fairness, it’s difficult to have a museum/center dedicated to a writer. What the writer leaves behind are the words, and that’s more than enough. A museum dedicated to one artist, however, is a different story entirely. In Amsterdam, we went to the Van Gogh museum. That was incredible. Amsterdam blog to come . . .