Gemma O’Doherty Shows Her True Colors

And they’re not green, white, and orange.

In an obscene tweet yesterday, Gemma cited a murder in South Africa and then claimed that “multiculturalism” is the problem.

In many of Gemma’s racist tweets proclaiming that “Ireland belongs to the Irish,” she has been able to at least nominally pretend that she is concerned with upholding the legacy of Patrick Pearse, who declared the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland in the Proclamation of Poblacht na hÉireann in 1916. Most people identified those statements as racist, anti-immigrant screed, but there was at least a veil of patriotism with the invocation of Irish history.

She cannot make the same claim for the tweet above. Her rhetoric directly accuses African people of being egregiously violent, as if all black people are out committing murders and rapes–and, moreover, that no white people commit murders and rapes. [Side note: I have written extensively on sexual assault in Ireland, and I will testify: almost all of the sex crimes committed in Ireland have been by white men who were citizens of Ireland.]

She condemns “multiculturalism” as being the cause of these murders, and warns that if Ireland continues to embrace diversity, all of these “scary” African people will come to Ireland and rape and murder Irish people. This fear mongering invokes an old racist trope that Americans will recognize: the idiotic idea that black men are all looking to rape (and possibly murder) white women; it is trying to make you afraid of people of color.

This particular tweet is especially disgusting, though, because it blames crime in South Africa on African people. It suggests that people of color are the source of “60 murders and 100 rapes” per day in South Africa, and that they are therefore the source of crime in Ireland. In blaming “multiculturalism,” however, she conveniently forgets that she is violating her own principles: if “Ireland belongs to the ‘Irish'” (and she has a narrow, blood-and-soil definition of who qualifies as Irish), then shouldn’t South Africa belong to the “native” South Africans? All of those white people running around South Africa are the descendants of European imperialists. The white people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa; the white people are the immigrants or descendants of immigrants (better known as colonizers).

Gemma is stupid but she’s not that stupid. She full well knows that the white people in South Africa are the descendants of imperialists, which is why her tweet lays bare her racism. There is no argument that can suggest that black people are the purveyors of “multiculturalism” in South Africa. All Gemma is really saying here is that she hates people of color and doesn’t want them in Ireland.

Gemma O’Doherty has always been a racist. She has apparently lost her desire to veil her bigotry in a cloak of patriotism.

 

 

Lyra McKee – Murder Weapon Found

At long last, investigators have located the gun that assholes from the so-called New IRA used to murder the journalist Lyra McKee over a year ago in Derry.

Police reform is an urgent issue in the United States right now, and I hope that reformers might look to the PSNI for an example of how it can be done successfully. This police force is far from perfect. But, it has continued the investigation into the tragic murder of Lyra McKee for over a year, dealing with a community that historically does not trust the police.

The fact that the PSNI has uncovered this gun, and that people are willing to talk to the police from the Catholic community in Derry says a lot about the success of turning the sectarian RUC into the (mostly) non-sectarian PSNI.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Sláinte!

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I have compiled a list of ways that we can all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without the traditional venues of pubs and parades. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.

  1. Dye the water green before you wash your hands.
  2. Watch movies with fake Irish people and determine which one does the worst Irish accent. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own
    2. Tom Cruise in Far and Away
    3. Sean Connery in The Untouchables
  3. Compete with your neighbors to grab the last box of Lucky Charms cereal off the grocery store shelves. Bonus: this is good exercise, too!
  4. Make a list of all the things St. Patrick could have potentially vanquished from Ireland, in addition to snakes. For example, some of my Twitter friends hate mushy peas, and would probably have appreciated St. Patrick vanquishing improperly cooked peas.
  5. If you’re Irish American, you can spend time pondering what “percentage” Irish you are. Kill time!
  6. Read Irish newspapers and see what a country with a leader other than Donald Trump is doing to protect its citizens. I know Leo Varadkar isn’t anyone’s idea of a visionary, take-charge leader, but feck sake, he’s better than the Dotard-in-Chief.
  7. Replay video of Ian Paisley  denouncing Pope John Paul II as the antichrist.
  8. Re-read some of Paisley’s more colorful denunciations of Catholicism. My favorite: “Priest Murphy, speak for your own bloodthirsty, persecuting, intolerant, blaspheming, politic-religious papacy, but do not dare to pretend to be the spokesman of free Ulster men . . . Go back to your priestly intolerance, back to your blasphemous Masses, back to your beads, holy water, holy smoke and stinks and remember . . we know your church to be the mother of harlots and the abominations of the Earth.”
  9. Tell Irish jokes to everyone you live with. There are many repositories online. The bonus points for the person who can use the word “cunt” the most times in a single joke.
  10. Try to grow potatoes in your garbage can. Here are instructions. 

Shameful Paddy’s Day Celebration on Staten Island

The New York Times reported today that the morons in charge of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Staten Island are continuing to ban LGBTQ+ groups from marching in the parade and celebrating their identity as queer and Irish-American (or just Irish). Or queer and Catholic.

According to the Times, Larry Cummings, the bigoted president of the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, stated, “Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture. It is not a political or sexual identification parade.” He later said, “Here’s the deal, it’s a nonsexual identification parade and that’s that. No, they are not marching. Don’t try to keep asking a million friggin’ questions, OK?”

Cummings’s statements are total bullshit, though, because by banning displays of LGBTQ+ identity, he IS politicizing the event, and he IS making it a sexual display–heterosexual only. His remarks are naive at best, and pathetically disingenuous at worst. Fuck this guy.

Some Catholic officials have distanced themselves from the event, claiming that the the parade doesn’t represent the Catholic church. Good for them for not being overt bigots. But the official policy of the Catholic church continues to be to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. So, therefore, zero points given to Pope Francis for his “Who am I to judge?” remark. In fact, no points will be given until Pope Francis stands up in public–I’d prefer it to happen on Easter Sunday–and declare that God loves gays (why else would He keep making them?).

To imply, as the organizers of this parade are doing, that it is celebrating Irish culture WHILE refusing to recognize LGBTQ+ individuals AS SUCH shows a disgusting disregard for the heritage these idiots claim to be celebrating. Ireland in 2020 is not the Ireland of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and Éamon de Valera. To the contrary, Ireland legalized same-sex marriage through a referendum in 2015. It’s out-going taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is an openly gay Irish man. As a whole, Ireland welcomes the queer community–policies of the dumbass Catholic church aside.

This kind of attitude, as perpetuated by Larry Cummings, is the same attitude that keeps religious animosity endemic in certain elements of Irish and Irish-American society. “Irish” and “Catholic” are not synonymous. There are Irish Protestants and Irish Jews and Irish Muslims. You can be queer and be Irish; you can be hetero and be Irish. In my considerable experience living in Belfast and Dublin, as well as earning a PhD in Irish history, I can testify that Ireland has changed a lot–it is a society that values liberal individualism, and it is open to all kinds of people.

This representation of “Irish” heritage that we will see on Staten Island is an archaic manifestation of de Valera’s “comely maidens” bullshit. In fact, I would argue that de Valera’s narrow-minded idealistic view of Ireland never did exist. Statistics on sexual activity and pregnancy outside of marriage bear this out, among many other trends.

Staten Island’s Paddy’s Day parade, and Larry Cummings in particular, need to cop the fuck on. Let the LGBTQ+ community represent their Irish heritage AND their queerness in the parade.

Remembering the Royal Irish Constabulary

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has taken the bizarre decision to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP). Charlie Flanagan, the Minister for Justice, has stated specifically that the commemoration will not honor the Black and Tans nor the Auxiliaries. The latter two organizations were particularly notorious for sectarian brutality against Irish Catholics.

But what of the commemoration of the RIC and DMP? On the one hand, these forces were largely made up of Irish people. On the other hand, these Irish people were acting as agent’s of the British government, and they opposed the democratic wishes of the majority of Irish people to be fully independent from Britain. Still, many living Irish people in Éire have ancestors who were members of the RIC and DMP; they might argue that their relatives were merely doing a job, and that their relatives didn’t actively oppose the Irish people who fought for independence. Indeed, many members of these forces abandoned their jobs when the people began to boycott them–they were socially ostracized, which became extremely painful. So, the taoiseach may intend to honor the memory of these people, some of whom died in the War for Independence.

I’d say there is legitimacy to that point of view. HOWEVER, Varadkar is choosing to include the commemoration of the RIC and the DMP as part of the Decade of Centenaries, which is designed to honor the fight for Irish independence. This choice is definitely strange.

I recommended on Twitter yesterday that, instead, Ireland/Varadkar/Fine Gael consider instituting akin to the German Volkstrauertag, a day that remembers the war dead from all nations around the world, including victims of violent oppression. Such a day of remembrance could include the RIC and DMP without giving them a place of honor alongside freedom fighters such as Michael Collins, Richard Mulcahy, Pearse, Connolly, et al. Surely we can all agree that the RIC and the IRB were not morally equal forces in Irish history, right?

There’s one other important issue to consider here: the on-going fight for Irish unity. Remembering the RIC and DMP is some fashion could be extremely meaningful to Unionists. Will Unionists have a place in a future 32-county republic? Will their history be honored in a unified Irish state? Will their ancestors have a place in how Irish people learn about their history, and what will that place be? We have an obligation to remember the past as it was, and to attempt to have empathy for historical actors. We can recognize that individual members of the RIC/DMP, forces of the British government in Ireland, were bad people who committed atrocities against Irish people– because that is the truth. But that wasn’t true of all members of these forces. To see these people as a monolith is an inappropriate black-and-white view of history, which really exists in infinite shades of grey. If Unionists are to feel welcome in a united Ireland, we must find a way to include their history in a way that doesn’t condemn all Unionists and their ancestors in the way that we characterize Nazis (why which I mean all members of the NSDAP).

 

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Provisional IRA

If you look around, you might notice that the Irish seem to be everywhere today. As someone who has spent her entire adult life studying the history and politics of this small island in the north Atlantic, I can’t help noticing the ads on Netflix for the popular series Derry Girls about five teenagers living in the midst of political violence in Northern Ireland. In 2018, an Irish author, Anna Burns, won the prestigious Booker Prize. U2 is on tour again almost 40 years after the release of their first album. 

As a historian, I ask you to pay attention to the date. December marks the 50th anniversary of the advent of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). It comes as the drama of Brexit has stoked tension in Northern Ireland, which may result in renewed political violence. As a result, this occasion is an apt time at which to look back on the legacy of the IRA’s nearly 30-year “armed struggle” to force the British government off the island of Ireland. During this period, euphemistically known as the Troubles, over 3,500 people lost their lives to violence. 

Today, as our thoughts turn toward this anniversary, we should also take note of a troubling trend: the rewriting of history for personal and political ends. I have spent a great deal of time considering the question: what, if anything, did the IRA accomplish? An honest appraisal of the IRA must conclude that the paramilitary failed to achieve its goal, and Sinn Féin’s leaders have rewritten history in an effort to bolster the political fortunes of its leaders. 

The Provisional IRA emerged in December 1969 in order to defend the Catholic/nationalist community against repeated assaults by the forces of the British government and by loyalist citizens. Catholics were an oppressed class in Northern Ireland, a state that had been carved out of the island in 1920 in order to institutionalize a Protestant majority that would have been a small minority in a 32-county Irish republic. But the defensive modus operandi soon changed to an offensive strategy.

IRA leaders believed that a blitz of violence and destruction would break the resolve of the British government and it would withdraw from Northern Ireland. What was supposed to be a short “war,” however, turned into a decades-long “armed struggle” of attacks and reprisals. Britain accidentally stoked IRA membership by committing a series of inexcusable assaults on the nationalist community including “Operation Demitrius” in 1971, in which 342 Catholics were arrested and interned without trial, and “Bloody Sunday, 30 Jan. 1972, when paratroopers killed 14 unarmed protesters in Derry. On the IRA’s part, on Bloody Friday, 21 July 1972, the paramilitary set off 22 bombs in Belfast, killing nine people and injuring 130. On 23 Oct. 1993, an IRA bomb in the heart of Protestant West Belfast killed 10 people and injured dozens more. These atrocities are only a small sampling of the brutality of the Troubles.

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) of 1998 ended the Troubles and came as a relief to a country that was weary of funerals and fear. With the tireless help of US Senator George Mitchell, the leaders of the two largest political parties in Northern Ireland, David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and John Hume of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), forged an agreement to share power, foster equality, and establish consent as the only means through which the British would withdraw from Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin, then the political wing of the IRA, signed on to the Agreement, including the requirement that the IRA decommission its weapons. The “war” was over, and the IRA had not achieved its stated goal.

Then the rewriting of history began.

Gerry Adams and his supporters have promoted a story in which he is the hero of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Adams became president of Sinn Féin in 1983, at which time he is widely believed to have also been a leading member of the IRA’s ruling Army Council, although he denies all accusations of IRA membership. Adams argues that the IRA’s campaign made the GFA possible, and so, paradoxically, the relative peace in Northern Ireland exists because of IRA violence. From this perspective, the story goes, Adams persuaded the IRA–of which he was not a member–to end its war and support constitutional politics. This storyline was so successful that Sinn Féin quickly eclipsed the SDLP as the most powerful political voice of Irish nationalism in Northern Ireland. Martin McGuinness, a former IRA leader, became Deputy First Minister in a power-sharing government. Irish-American publisher Niall O’Dowd has compared Gerry Adams with Nelson Mandela.

This interpretation of the history of Northern Ireland is a deliberate distortion. In December 1973, the Sunningdale Agreement offered terms that were similar to the GFA–prompting SDLP leader Seamus Mallon to remark that the Agreement was “Sunningdale for slow learners.” A comparison of Sunningdale and the GFA shows that the IRA’s campaign did not make substantive gains for the cause after December 1973, contradicting justifications for violence after this date. In addition, Trimble and Hume were the architects of the peace process, not Adams, yet their names have nearly vanished from the contemporary narrative, demonstrating Sinn Féin’s successful rewriting of history. 

Plus, empirical evidence corroborates the claim that Adams was an IRA member. In 1972 he and three other IRA members flew to Britain to hold talks with William Whitelaw, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Why would Whitelaw engage with three bona fide IRA members plus one noncombatant? Also, writing as “Brownie” in Republican News, Adams stated in May 1976, “Rightly or wrongly, I’m an IRA volunteer.” Adams acted on behalf of the IRA in a time in which he did not foresee the political power that he would later attain–power that demands that he deny his role in paramilitary violence in order to support his image as a statesman.

Despite Sinn Féin’s claims to the contrary, if Irish unity is a tangible possibility today, that has little–if anything–to do with IRA violence. Demographic changes and economic aftershocks of Brexit might shift the scales. Importantly, too, Sinn Féin has changed its policies to embrace abortion rights, marriage equality, and the European Union: these issues cut across lines of national identity and align with policies in the Republic of Ireland. So, Sinn Féin also has the potential to convince socially liberal unionists that they will be more free and more equal in a united Ireland. None of these changes was incumbent upon 30 years of anti-state and sectarian violence. 

Sinn Féin’s evidence-free “revision” of the history of the IRA exemplifies how political actors can  exploit the past for their own ends. Manipulating history in this way, especially when the people doing so are famous and powerful, will distort the record for future generations of scholars and obscure the truth about pivotal events. More immediately, though, the manipulation of history is a form of lying; and support garnered through falsehoods is unearned. 

This problem highlights the importance of the professional practice of history. We live in an age in which powerful people deride verifiable facts as “fake news” and technology renders the filtering of truth from fiction difficult even for savvy consumers of media. By documenting the past and emphasizing the role of historical methods, historians can begin to blunt the use of history in the service of nakedly political goals, and promote the notion that a fact is not “fake” simply because it disproves a more appealing story. Historians often disagree about interpretations of facts, but we do not debate the facts themselves. If facts become legitimate topics for disagreement, then knowledge itself will become a quaint notion of a bygone Age of Enlightenment and powerful people will freely manipulate reality in pursuit of selfish ends. By telling people that they are repeating baseless lies, we can stop the illusion of truth that seems to lie in repetition.  Instead, I urge you to embrace facts as weapons in defense of a common reality.

Defending Men’s Right to Procreate via Rape: Lessons from Ireland

In October 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian woman living in the Republic of Ireland, died from a septic miscarriage. Doctors at University Hospital Galway detected a fetal heartbeat, but, fearing prosecution, they refused to perform an abortion that would have saved her life. Ireland’s now-repealed 8th Amendment recognized “the right to life of the unborn” and the state guaranteed, “with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother,” that it would “defend and vindicate that right.” The state failed: both Savita and her fetus perished.

Memorial to Savita Halappanavar

Memorial in Dublin to Savita Halappanavar, who died from a septic miscarriage because doctors refused to perform an abortion. Photo: Buzzfeed.

Pro-choice activists have written widely about the dangers that will befall American women if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Still, these stories sound melodramatic to many anti-abortion activists. Like anti-vaxxers who have never seen polio, most opponents of abortion have never seen women suffer the agony of carrying an unwanted fetus, and believe these horrors to be the province of “third-world” countries. The example of Ireland is difficult to ignore, however, because the country is western, wealthy, and highly developed. Proponents of fetal-heartbeat laws such as the measure in Alabama that a federal judge blocked on October 29th, which made abortion a class A felony punishable by life imprisonment, should learn from Ireland’s experiences so the ranks of our obituary pages don’t swell with American Savitas.

Alabama’s law refuses exceptions in cases of rape and incest, and here, too, legislators can learn from Ireland. In 1992, in the X Case, Irish courts attempted to block a 14-year-old rape victim from leaving the country for an abortion. The girl was suicidal because of the rape and psychological trauma of pregnancy. After initial rulings that the child would be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, protestors held signs that declared “Ireland Defends Men’s Right to Procreate by Rape.” In the end, Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled that X could obtain an abortion because her life was at risk. The original actions of the Irish government in X’s case, like Governor Kay Ivey’s statement that the Alabama law is a “powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is…a sacred gift from God” are nakedly hypocritical: they demonstrate a clear preference for the life of the fetus over the mental and physical well-being of women.

Savita and X were paradigm-changing cases in Ireland because both figures were innocent victims who could not be written off as “sluts” who sought abortions in order to avoid taking responsibility for their “sins.” Savita was a married woman; X was a child who was victimized by a predator. Both Savita and X represented the familial nation in crisis: their families were at risk not because of abortion, but because they could not access one.

Ireland has learned from its past and the government has put the nation on a cultural and legal path toward fully valuing women in society. Also on October 29th, the Irish government welcomed the report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception, which endorsed the provision of free contraception, including long-term methods such as intra-uterine devices and implants. Guaranteed access to contraception and sex education will prevent more cases like these two tragedies–and minimize abortion rates. 

Yet Alabama fails on this measure, too. The state does not require sex education in schools, and schools that do offer sex ed endorse abstinence over information. It is unsurprising, then, that the state has some of the highest teen-pregnancy rates in the country. It is misogynistic to refuse to provide information on sexuality and contraception, and then force women to bear the burden of an unwanted pregnancy. 

To be sure, anti-abortion activists will argue that even if abortion is legal only in cases of rape and incest, a flood of women will cry rape–so abortion should just be outlawed altogether. But Ireland also shows that this scenario is pure fantasy: after the X case, Ireland recognized suicide risk as grounds for abortion, and Ireland didn’t see a glut of pregnant women claiming to be suicidal. This theory represents a deranged view of women as manipulative Eves, willing to do anything to erase evidence of their alleged wrongdoing. Regardless, women deserve to have the law dignify our full humanity by allowing us control over our bodies; arguments about rape and incest are adendums to that point.

Spurred by activism in the wake of Savita’s death, in 2018, the people of Ireland voted by an overwhelming majority to legalize abortion. Upon the repeal of the 8th Amendment, Irish people left notes at a memorial to Savita expressing sorrow that the measure was too late to save her. America must learn from Ireland before we have a Memorial to the Women Who Died in Forced Pregnancy. 

 

The New York Times Spends “36 Hours in Dublin”

In this Sunday’s “Travel” section of the New York Times, the writers detail what to do with 36 hours in Ireland’s capital city.

The author really looked for things to do in Dublin, although I wouldn’t make the same choices if you only have 36 hours to spend. Some of the itinerary deserves praise: devoting time to learning real history of the country in places like Kilmainham Gaol and Glasnevin Cemetery are great ways to spend part of your day. Both of those historical locations offer tours with knowledgeable guides who can answer questions. This summer, when I took my husband to Glasnevin, our guide, Bridget, answered my question, “Where is Kitty O’Shea buried?” Her answer was more than the location of Charles Stewart Parnell’s mistress, and later his wife and widow. While she is frequently referred to as Kitty in historical literature, the tour guide told me that the famous woman preferred to be called Katherine. A good piece of information indeed!

Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. I took this photo about 10 years ago. It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?

If you enjoy literature and beautiful cathedrals, go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift was once the dean, and where he is buried with his beloved Stella. Also, remember to read “A Modest Proposal” and “Gulliver’s Travels.” And if you like theatre, the Abbey Theatre is the national theatre of Ireland, and they do wonderful productions. Get ticket in advance.

I would have made different food choices. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I love the Rolling Donut stand on O’Connell Street (at the corner of Abbey Street), despite fancier donut options only a few streets away. Murphy’s Ice Cream is wonderful: brown bread ice cream with raspberry sorbet tastes like brown bread with jam and is divine and not too heavy. And, of course, there is a wonderful Italian restaurant in Dublin right off of Dawson Street called Carluccio’s – still the best focaccia bread I’ve ever had! (Around the corner is Ulysses Rare Books, a shop that specializes in first editions of Irish books. Bring a credit card if you want to buy anything…not cheap.) To be fair, I’m a vegetarian so a lot of traditional Irish pub fare isn’t my thing. You might take the recommendations of the New York Times if you want to eat fish and chips or any manner of dead animal.

Fashion. Here’s where I really disagree with the New York Times. If you want some hip fashion that you can’t get anywhere else, go to Om Diva, for the love of everything holy. This store has several floors of clothing by independent Irish designers. The offerings change constantly, but they do offer clothing by one of my favorite young designers, Orla Langan. And if you want more upscale clothing designed and made in Ireland, obviously you must go to the studio of Jennifer Rothwell. She’s my favorite designer, of any country, as I love her vibrant prints with colors that make you strut like a peacock (paycock?).

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A photo from Jennifer Rothwell’s “Magical Forest” collection. Photo from jenniferrothwell.com

If you have time, stop in to see what’s on at the Irish Film Institute, which has a decent restaurant and bar. The IFI runs a lot of independent Irish films, as well as classics and indie films from all over the world. I fondly remember seeing “Sing Street” at the IFI when I was living in Dublin a few years ago.

Still, I’m grateful that the paper of record didn’t recommend the Guinness Store House (terrible waste of time and money) or the Jameson Distillery (likewise). I don’t drink much whiskey, or much alcohol in general, but Teeling’s Whiskey is a better stop than either of these. Though personally, if you want some really good Irish whiskey at a reasonable price, pop your head into the Irish Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street and pick up a bottle of Writer’s Tears. This smooth, tasty “strong water” is produced by Walsh Whiskey down in Carlow, so strictly speaking you can’t to go the distillery if you’re spending 36 house in Dublin, but you can definitely buy it. It’s better than Teeling’s.

I think it’s worth getting outside of Dublin if you visit Ireland, and seeing the beautiful country. Maybe take a walk in mountains at Glendalough (Wicklow Mountains National Park), or see some of the scenery in Gougane Barra, Co. Cork, including the tiny stone houses carved into the hills in which monks once lived. Hike the Ring of Kerry, go up to Dingle, and of course the Cliffs of Moher are stunning. And don’t neglect the North: few sites in your life will be more impressive than the Giant’s Causeway–and you can even stop at Bushmill’s Distillery on your way there (or your way back), which is the best whiskey tour in Ireland. And have a pint at Kelly’s Cellars in Belfast city centre, which does a great pint of Guinness and a fantastic pickled egg.