Go Ahead Tours’ “Traditions of the Emerald Isle”
6/24/2018, Late edit: The entire time I was editing the photos, I was looking at them only on my MacBook and they looked great. Now that I’m en route to Tokyo, and looking at them on my iPad, they are not clear. Something about my settings in Photoshop doesn’t work on the mobile device. I apologize, and will edit them again in three weeks when I return.Note for new followers of the Travel section of my blog: My reasons for the time and effort I put into writing these travel accounts are twofold—I can look back years later and remember where we ate or where we stayed so I can make recommendations to friends who are traveling roads we’ve already trod; and because a number of friends say my writings enable them to feel they’ve been there with me. I hope you enjoy these accounts as much as I enjoy reliving my travels through my writing.
The Jazzman* and I visited Ireland in 2011, planning the itinerary ourselves, without the benefit of tour guide or historian. We rented a car, and he drove all over County Clare and western Ireland, driving on the “wrong” side and shifting with his left hand. He jokes now that every morning as we left the golf resort that was our home, I would say, “No, the other way,” with a sense of urgency.
We survived that visit, with one day carved out of the itinerary to do absolutely nothing, allowing him to recover from the constant stress of navigating narrow country roads to avoid oncoming coaches.
Since that time, with the help of an Ancestry DNA test, I’ve discovered I’m 26% Irish, thanks to input 😉 from my unknown birthfather.
When our travel pal, Marilyn, suggested we take advantage of a sale being offered by GoAhead Tours to visit Ireland, I smiled and thought maybe I’d like to go “home” for a week.
So here’s the account of that week.
*Note: The person referred to as “the Jazzman” throughout these pages has been my life partner since early 2010. His mantra is “I don’t want anybody knowing my business.” Therefore, he is referred to here only as the Jazzman.
At the end of our nine days together, ten of us safely stashed on the bus at 8:00 am, ready for Paddy to drive us to the airport for our morning flights, the delightful Ali climbed up into the coach and addressed us one final time, saying,
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I fought back tears and thanked the leprechauns of yore for this wonderful visit to Ireland.