All Ruined Out

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There comes a point in every long-term traveler’s journey where it all just becomes too much. Scenery begins to blur together, town names start to be ignored and historical references get all jumbled. The excitement to see a new city or popular sight abates. There were occasions during our travels around South America where I actually said things like: “No more majestic waterfalls!”  and “Blah blah blah…another beautiful mountain range“.

I reached that point recently when it comes to ruins.  They are so abundant in Ireland, we even have some in our own backyard, and recent trips to see new ones no longer get me excited as they used to.


I am…all-ruined-out.

Thankfully I travel with my better half, as Pete has some weird Elite-Tourist-Super-Powers. He claims to never be tired of anything, and his enthusiasm is at least enough to get me in the car and off on a new adventure.

Our last ruin-gazing trip was to Clonmacnoise – the grounds of a 6th century monastery set on the River Shannon.  At one point it was the most famous in all of Ireland and many high kings are buried there.

(And that’s as far as this history lesson goes, as I am somewhat boring myself.  But we have some pretty pictures!)

Clonmacnoise, Ireland


The Tower at Clonmacnoise, Ireland


Ruins at Clonmacnoise


Dark skies gather over Clonmacnoise


An Ancient Cross

(I’m assuming that after several posts like these, you might be all-ruined-out too!  Don’t worry, this is the last one…from Ireland :))


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  1. It’s certainly true. We think of it as becoming ‘jaded’ travelers. Not only do we get less impressed with things that used to amaze us, we find we need increasingly amazing things to keep our attention. Like an addict, our ‘wow factor’ tolerance levels increase over time and we need more and more of the drug to give us the high we seek.

    Part of the ‘antidote,’ I think, is to chill out a bit. The good thing about being a full-time traveler is that there is no rush. We don’t need to cram all of the world’s great sites into a couple of weeks each year. So when we get to felling like we’ve ‘been there, and done that’ it’s time to pick up a book and relax. Those ruins have been around for hundreds or thousands of years. They’ll wait.

    1. Agreed, there is no need to rush and your strategy of just picking up a book and relaxing is a good one.

      Although I can’t explain why I’m not sick of them, or really ever will be. Each time we drive by a new one, I slow down and stare at it. I think the reason that I don’t get tired of seeing them is I try and imagine every time what life existed in each. Dalene, not so much. At the last one we were at, she stayed in the car and had a nap. I got to explore on my own 🙂

      1. Good thought ‘imagining what life existed in each’ ruin. Another idea, that works for me, is to imagine how my days were spent before I started traveling full-time. That usually gets me motivated to do something new and interesting.

        Happy travels,

    1. I’m quite looking forward to photographing the cathedrals of Europe, you won’t hear me saying that. Maybe D….

  2. We where the same with Temples and Mosques when we travelled around MaLasia ,Thailand,and other places in Asia.
    Nice to see but boring!!!!!!!!!

    1. Was it the monotony of it that was boring (one after another)? I don’t think I’d get bored, but I guess I’ll just have to go there and see for myself 🙂

  3. LOL–I totally get it. After living in several “breathtaking mountain” areas, I am so blase about “scenic mountain vistas” that if someone makes a comment about how gorgeous they are, I want to hurl!

    1. Luckily, Ireland also has a lot of great other “vistas” to admire, so I’ve been able to intersperse them between the ruins. No hurling for me yet. 🙂

  4. Ruins are great but I think I would get tired of them as well. There’s much more to Ireland than history – the culture is alive and well also!

  5. Yeah, I know that feeling. I recently went to see the temples at Angor in Cambodia. After two days of driving around different temples on a tuktuk, I was all templed out. Yes, there were still plenty of them left, but I did not want to see (still don’t) another Angor temple…

  6. Looking at these gorgeous pictures, I’m not sure I could get all ruined-out. I just love the ruins in the UK that I have seen, but I suppose after living there they start to run together.

    1. I’m on your side Allison. Each one, is so unique. Not only the ruin, but the location. It’s an amazing country for history and ruins if you are into that.

  7. I’ve definitely been all cathedral-ed out on a trip to the UK. It’s funny how even some of the most gorgeous sites on the planet get old after you see too many all at once.

  8. I hear ya! When we were in Bhutan and seeing at least 1 Dzong (fortress turned civic center/monastery) per day we definitely got “dzonged-out!” It just starts to get so repetitive, regardless of how impressive it is! The worst is when you start comparing places and thinking something isn’t so impressive because you’ve seen better elsewhere…

  9. This post cracks me up! I’ve definitely felt this way about a few things on my travels, but I always hate to admit it (like maybe I should be looking deeper into the ruin/church/etc. and finding the beauty in that specific one. But no.).

  10. When I was in Asia, I got “templed out.” It happens! Well, not to my boyfriend haha. He’s Mr. Super Tourist as well.

  11. hahaha, this is exactly how I felt after traveling around Italy for awhile… I didn’t want to see one more Jesus painting or I was going to punch someone!

  12. Try spending a very look time, like four days, revisiting one set of boring ruins. Learn all you can about it. See it in every kind of light and weather. It isn’t the ruins your reacting too, but a superficial engagement with them.
    Cheers! Love the blog.

  13. I can totally relate to the feelings you’ve described at the start of this article. Travel can become ‘awfully’ repititive at times. I often find that when I feel this way I either need to slow down or to challenge myself a little more.

  14. I know the feeling especially when I was in Greece and Italy last year, it’s easy to overload on ruins. However sometimes its nice to take a step back, have a varied itinerary and then when the ruins pop again you’re ready to appreciate it a bit more. =)

    1. I think we are going to be off ruins for a little while now – heading into European cities – I figure I will soon be saying the same thing about cathedrals! 🙂

  15. Like everyone else, I know where you are coming from! After visiting the Taj Mahal and many, many temples and ruins around Asia, by the time I reached Sri Lanka I was also templed out! I never seemed to get ‘pubbed’ out though, curious.

    Love the blog, regards


  16. I’d have to say that I am not yet ruined-out, but that’s probably because I haven’t done that tour non-stop. I can grow very weary of museaums, as much as I like them, but ruins continue to fascinate me.

  17. They are great photos!
    I remember when I travelled to Ireland with my family when I was 16. After a while, my sister and I were all like ‘Meh….it’s just another castle’….It sounds like we were spoilt brats, but there are SO many Ireland, you lose the excitement pretty quickly!
    Although, we did excited again, when my parents booked us a night to actually sleep inside a castle!

  18. Pingback: Sneak Preview of Angkor Temples | Arctic Nomad
  19. I so know where you are coming from. We get it in almost all our travels. Sometimes it is ruins, sometime pagodas, churches, statues, mountains. It is an amazing thing to be able to travel, but sometimes we all have just too much of a good thing. The great thing about it is, we get to move on and try something new! Really enjoyed your posts from Ireland and thanks for sharing the photos.

    1. Thanks guys and agree, too much of one thing can get monotonous at times. But the lifestyle we have chosen (and you guys) is that it allows us to pick up and move onto something new.

  20. Uhh, I have had the same with churches and cathedrals in Latin America. They all start to blur into one after a bit.

    From the perspective of a real ruin lover though, I think the key is to find a personal story about the place – someone who lived and died there. Or find out what’s unique about this particular spot – no architecture is carbon-copy, slapped down with no consideration to it’s surroundings – everything’s adapted to it’s own environment. That’s what can make something really interesting.

    Having said that, some places are just dull! No matter what you say, some ugly-duckling ruins will never turn into beautiful swans!

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