Luck o’ the Irish

 

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!

Advertisement

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Journal entry from March 7th, 1997

“We left Sydney (for the third time) and headed north up the east coast to Byron Bay.  Truly the most beautiful scenery we had experienced on the rail thus far. Arrived in Byron Bay at 7:30 pm.  Mitch, from Cape Byron Resort was waiting for weary travellers at the train station and we agreed to go with him in the van for £10 a night.  Fairly nice place with pool and large game room.  Free pancakes for breakfast.  Sangria night – all you can drink for  £5.  (Unfortunately, we were knackered and settled for turning in early.”

Journal entry from March 8th, 1997

“Woke at nine to enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast.  Mitch offered to bring us to the lighthouse and we took him up on it.  Stunning views!!  Back in the 1800’s, there was no way for the lighthouse attendant to get food so they raised goats on the side of the cliff (and the goats are still there today!)  The view is absolutely spectacular, with water everywhere and beautiful beaches on all sides.  Cape Byron, where the lighthouse is located, is also Australia’s eastern most mainland point.  We caught sight of dolphins swimming and people hang gliding.  Lovely day!!!  Mo and I walked from the hostel to Tallows Beach to watch the sunset.  It was a bit of an adventure on the way back.  (Our over-dramatization led us to nickname it Jurassic Park.)  The path to and from the hostel to the beach was through some vegetation and we had this wooden boardwalk to follow. It was dark and we kept hearing things in the bush which gave us a fright.  We made it back to the hostel a bit shook up and very relieved to be safe from harm.  In the evening, we went out with a bunch of people from the hostel.  First, to the Rails and then to the Northern.  They didn’t have Strongbow White so I settled for a schooner of VB, which tasted wonderful (since I haven’t had a beer in over a month!)  We hung out with a bunch of people from the hostel and had a really good time.”

Here are some pics from that gorgeous day.  (You may notice that the date on my camera was for March 7th, which it was back home with the 17 hour time difference. I guess I should have changed that once we arrived in Oz!!)

Cape Byron Lighthouse
Tallows Beach
North view from Cape Byron
East view from Cape Byron
Main Beach, Byron Bay
Main Beach

Floating in ‘The Basin’ on Rottnest Island

One of the happiest adventures I will treasure forever is a three month holiday in Australia. Three months of “no worries, mate”. Truly. No worries. Truly lovely. One of my favorite pictures from that time is of me, floating in The Basin at Rottnest Island in Western Australia. It epitomizes the trip for me in so many ways and also brings me a sense of peace and calm each time I see it. These are the musings of my adventures as I discover insight, inspiration and ways to find that peace in every day life.