Two years ago, we had a plan. Mom, my sister, my aunt, and I were going to Ireland to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday…but of course, we all remember what happened two years ago. So, obviously, that didn't happen.
So, we were going to go again in 2021, when "things open back again." But darn it, that didn't happen either.
Before we knew it, it was 2022.
And we gathered at Mom's house, passports and vaccination cards in hand, holding our breath, and hoping the borders stayed open, the planes still flew, and we all stayed healthy long enough to get there.
And we did!
|All four of us, on the road to Kylemore Abbey.|
Since none of us had ever been to Ireland before, and one of us is vegan (always a challenge when traveling), we did a purchased tour through Brendan Tours "The Enchanting Emerald Isle Tour." It had a great itinerary that hit lots of bucket list places as well as places we didn't know that much about.
- Carrick on Shannon
- Kylemore Abbey
- Dunguaire Castle
- Cliffs of Moher
- Ring of Kerry
- Blarney Castle
- Newtown Jerpoint
- and back to Dublin
I didn't do much research. I wanted to just be open to what came.
|Magic light in the gardens of Strokestown Park|
I'll be processing for a long time--the pictures, the keepsakes, the memories. There are good things and bad things about being on an organized tour.
Our tour guide was charming. No one had to learn to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. We got a lot of great experiences at lower cost than we could have arranged them for ourselves. Someone else managed our luggage. My sister had vegan food at all provided meals.
We weren't in charge of our own schedule, and often I wished for more time in a location than I could have. I felt harried at times. Bus is not my favorite mode of transport. We were thrust among companions we didn't choose.
So, good and bad, just like everything :-)
I wasn't even home yet before I started plotting to go back. Heck--I'd emigrate given the chance, which is funny, given that some of my ancestors left those shores to come to mine. Maybe they'd be pleased at the idea of me coming back home, or maybe they'd just shake their heads and laugh at the irony.
I won't try to recount my journey for you here, though I'd be thrilled to talk Ireland with anyone anytime! In the meantime, I'll leave you with this collage of me and my first novel posing our way across the Irish landscape (and a couple in JFK airport).
And this one of the mortal terror on my face when I learned that kissing the Blarney stone involves hanging upside down from the top of a castle. That gift of gab better be worth it!