I find myself wanting to see more and more of the un-touristed parts of Ireland. It's very hard to do that when it is a country where the economy depends on just that. Trying to feel less like tourist, Chris signed up for a local 10k in Outeraud. Peter couldn't help himself and now he has jumped the race distance barrier from 5k's to 10k's. In 53 minutes, he pranced around fields of cows with 100 other Irish and may I say ruddy complexioned runners. Still, I find his love for running like being born again, seeing him embrace a sport like we did when we were much younger. Something just feels right about it as Kate and I watched the two boys head up to the starting line. Afterwards, we saw a square castle tower that was in pristine condition. It had everything from arrow slits for shooting invaders inside the home to a drop hatch to get rid of any unwanted visitors. I'll remember not to be an uninvited guest to that home. Because of National Heritage Day, we got to see some cool owls up close and personal. My husband thought I was trying to pick up the handler who looked a lot like Hugh Jackman, but really it was the owl's eyes I would have rather gazed into. Feeling much more like my normal self, yet unable to really exercise yet, I am antsy to move and explore. I dragged Chris into a local hiking route. We walked for 40 minutes and came to a fishing pond and we both looked at each other unimpressed. The wow moment came as we walked off the main paths into a a patch of towering pines. They looked like sharpened pencils standing tall reaching for the sky. But what made them distinctly beautiful and even more distinctly Irish were the millions of clover or shall I saw shamrocks that carpeted the floor of the forest. They grew on top of squishy moss and if gave one the impression of walking on green clouds. It was surreal and mystical and I half expected fairies and gnomes to come from behead the trees. The pictures would be some of my favorites thus far on this trip. It's a good thing not a peep is said about this secret place in the books as it just wouldn't have the same appeal if thousands of people traipsed through this perfection. After returning home, I hadn't had enough so I decided to walk and visit the horses on the other side of the river from the cottage. I felt like an Irish lassy. Filling up a bag full of tree fallen apples, I ventured into the rocky and marsh filled countryside. While it is all charming on the surface, truth is I fell 100 times into the marsh, got covered in prickers and burrs and came back absolutely filthy. It also turns out that the somewhat wild horses don't really seem to like apples. But when I came home and went to bed last night I felt like I lived in Ireland. I think I had some true Irish experiences, not concocted out of a tourist book. They were the type of moments where I felt like a kid again and not an almost 40 care-taking mom of two. Despite 40 looming in just three weeks I am glad to admit that everything seems right on track, even if I have to hide my grey hair with Miss Clarol. This adventure seems to just be getting exciting.