In 2001, I had the pleasure of visiting the Emerald Isle. What a glorious and true gem of a country! I loved it and very much hope to visit again. My great grandma Marie’s family came over from Athlone, Ireland to America so it was a special trip for me to go back and see where her family came from. We have friends that live there (whom we met in Australia) and our dear friend Mark and the gang were truly gracious hosts. We flew into Dublin, where he carted us off to the west coast and the enchanting town of Listowel for an annual music festival. Pints of Harp and Guiness filled our bellies and lively music overflowed from the pubs. We traipsed all over Ireland visiting Galway, County Kerry, Athlone, Magherafelt in County Londonderry (Northern Ireland), Donegal, the Giant’s Causeway (on the northeast coast where you can actually see Scotland!), through Belfast and back to Dublin. This photo was taken on our visit to the Aran Islands where we allowed our bikes to aimlessly wander while we soaked in the landscape. The lush, green countryside and stone fences were captivating!
All in all, it was a spectacular experience, one that I will truly treasure forever.
Coincidentally, we returned stateside on September 6th, just five days before the September 11th attack. Our connecting flight from Dublin to Minneapolis was through Boston’s Logan International airport, where American Airlines flight 11 originated from on the day of the attacks. (AA11 was the first plane to hit the Word Trade Center.) We had originally planned to return on the 13th but we changed plans so my travel partner could attend university classes in the fall. Watching as the horror unfolded, we felt extremely lucky to be alive and well, sitting at our homes in America. Our story is insignificant compared to the stories of heroism, survival, and saving grace that were experienced by so many. For us, it amplified our ability to relate to the souls travelling on that fateful day. I don’t know if it was the luck o’ the Irish but I do know we thank God for our blessings every day.
I’m raising my pint and honoring Ireland with Shepherd’s pie and Irish soda bread tonight. Cheers!