About two years ago, when my brother was studying abroad in London, my parents and I met him to spend his spring break in Ireland. We spent the week driving through the country, spending time in Dublin, Galway, Dingle (pictured above) and our favorite town of Killarney.

The Inn where we stayed was - for lack of a better word - magical. It was at once a modern and luxurious hotel, while also maintaining its charm as an original and historic Irish estate. There was hot tea - not coffee - served with breakfast, which was hot oatmeal made with cream, and the sounds made each evening by the pasture of cows waiting to be milked about 20 yards from the main house signaled that it was getting late enough to have a cocktail.

We had the first string of eight sunny days in Ireland since the dawn of time, which locals turned into an omen for some terrible summer on its way. The Irish have a unique ability to turn an amazing stroke of luck into a signal to batten down the hatches.

Every day at 4PM, Roger, the head butler, would greet us on the patio with afternoon tea: the most delicious and perfectly brewed tea served from the most impeccable Wedgewood tea service. On the coaster was one small biscuit, because this is not America and there are no snacks of real substance between meals. That is why the spry man who took us on a carriage ride with his horse Pascal through the pastures and woods of the Muckross House was between 80 and 90 years old.

I would love to return to so many of these places someday, and hope I will, if only to give my own fair skinned, freckle-faced daughter the chance to talk down streets where everyone looks vaguely like her, like constant déjà vu.
But so many stars aligned to make our family's pilgrimage what it was, that I wonder if any future trip could truly recreate it's delights.

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