In a perfect world, if I could live anywhere on this beloved, decaying planet of ours, I would live in Ireland, one of the last truly green spaces we have left.

My family emigrated to Canada from Ireland.  I still have cousins once and twice removed living over there, and my family keeps the house that my grandmother was born in, so if anyone wants to go back home and visit, we have a place to stay.

I grew up on tales of the Emerald Isle, I was weaned on the stories of Tir Na Nog, of the fair and wee folk, of tales on how the Giant’s Causeway came to be, and of Fionn mac Cumhaill, a hero of Irish folklore.  And growing up in my grandmother’s house for the first five years of my life, I even picked up an accent.  It’s very faint, only really prominent when I pronounce certain words or spend some time with the older members of my family, but it’s there.

As I grew older, I began taking it upon myself to do more research into this ‘home’ I’ve never seen.  I began studying Gaelic, Druidism, and more of the old myths and folklore, and I learned just how vibrant and colorful a place it is.

The big cities of Ireland are no different than big cities elsewhere in the world, but they disappear a lot faster.  Go one hour in any direction from any city, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the most vibrant green space you have ever seen.  The noise of all those people will fade and die in the distance, you’ll be able to smell the rain on the air, the flowers, the pure, unadulterated sweetness of growing, living things.  And if you’re daring or brave enough, and you take yourself deeper into these places, where the sun plays hide and seek with the shadow, maybe you’ll hear the whisper of one of the wee folk scampering alongside you.  And if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll hear the gods laughing as the wind blows through the trees.

But maybe you’re not so adventurous.  Maybe you’ll want to stay closer to people and civilization.  That wouldn’t be so bad either. Irish people have long had a name for being friendly and hospitable to visitors, especially in the smaller villages and towns.

You could live in a small cottage in a village, enjoying the close, intimate hospitality and relationships that often you can only find in such small, close knit communities.

Or you could live in the big cities, closer to the wildly colorful and diverse culture of food, music, and art.

But no matter where you go in Ireland, I firmly believe that you will be swept away by the magic and beauty of such an ancient place, one of the birthplaces of our modern civilization.

My little slice of heaven on earth lies in the heart of the Emerald Isle.  What about you?