They say that when the Celts became Christians, their old gods and goddesses changed themselves into fairies and went into hiding in the green hills that dot the Irish landscape.
Steeped in folklore, so green is Ireland—forty shades of green according to country singer Johnny Cash—that it is called the “Emerald Isle”, the first mention of which was in a poem by William Drennan (1754 – 1820).
When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood,
God bless’d the green island and saw it was good;
The em’rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone,
In the ring of the world the most precious stone.
In her sun, in her soil, in her station thrice blest,
With her back towards Britain, her face to the West,
Erin stands proudly insular, on her steep shore,
And strikes her high harp ‘mid the ocean’s deep roar. William Drennan
Shaped by the rain, the wind, and the lashing of the ocean, the spectacular landscape of Ireland is celebrated the world over in song and story.
One day in the 1720s, Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift was out boating on Lough Ennell, when he turned to look back at the shore where Lilliput House stood. He noticed how small people appeared at that great distance and was inspired to write his most famous work—Gulliver’s Travels.
With sweeping vistas, rugged mountains, striking coastline, tranquil lakes and rivers, and quaint country villages, these images of the Emerald Isle and its people will transport you to a magical time and place.
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