Surprisingly, not as much as one would think, but still, if there were no issues during the whole trip then I’m doing something wrong or simply lying. I don’t like doing things wrong, and I don’t like liars – and I don’t like hypocrites for that matter.
I know that sharing one’s journey abroad does not appeal to many; especially on a site that doesn’t truly bring in travel readers. Quite frankly, it doesn’t bring in many readers at all so we might as well add some more variety to the madness. However, we love experiences and life so there’s always a relation. However to the however, maybe there is a broad interest in going abroad, but the post can have two reactions: appreciation or jealously. Okay, there are probably other reactions, but if you want a list of those I encourage you to visit a psychology website instead or a random blog. Read this first though – or don’t, the stats have already been recorded.
As the title suggests, I just ended a vacation with my mother and wife. We went to Ireland, the Emerald Isle where drunkards and leprechauns roam free. That’s not entirely true, but certainly stereotypical. The first night was dedicated to my wife and I as we stayed in Dublin after arrival. My mother had traveled alone a few days earlier and if you ever get the chance to meet her then be sure there will be a dialogue – more like a monologue – concerning the struggles of being a 70-year-old woman traveling alone. Plus some bathroom talk. Anyway, my wife and I did not sleep on the flight over as suggested by experienced travelers and then made our way to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour after checking into our hotel. Exhaustion, hunger, and beer don’t go well together, but totally worth it. A fresh pint turned out to be the best remedy. The only downfall was that my wife ordered a Guinness beef stew for lunch because she was famished, but she does not drink beer, does not like stew, and is not obsessed with potatoes. Why did she even come, right? For many reasons!
We walked around Dublin and appreciated the ambiance of the city, the old streets and buildings, the crowded areas and plethora of pubs before returning to our hotel for an early rest. The next day we rented a car and I am not pleased with Hertz, but that’s a personal problem. We navigated to the Kilmainham Gaol and toured the cells and execution yards before grabbing some delicious grub and heading to Adare where my mother was now situated in our cottage rental. Driving on the other side of the road (if you’re American) is not as difficult as one would think. Driving in the backcountry of Ireland though is a different story for someone not used to such tight two-lane roads that are really as wide as one, high speed limits for unknown reasons, and curves masked by trees, bushes, and stone walls.
That was the story of our trek to Ballylongford the following day. My mother’s great grandparents were both from this small town that could have been missed if we blinked. Heritage was one of the reasons for this trip, and now we have a better idea of where we come from; it’s quite the feeling to understand how roots from one tree can span so far, and how spoiled Americans are in comparison. We continued on to a lovely beach town, Ballybunion, and enjoyed the Atlantic during sunset (it’s on the west side out there you know). A wall of a castle stands on the coast as a reminder of how old the country is and how powerful the ocean waters can be. A beautiful day of discovery and perspective.
The next day we had an earlier start and visited Bunratty Castle and the boutiques in Ennis on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. Of course, it was foggy and visibility was not guaranteed, but my wife said we’ve come this far so we might as well wait it out. God, I love her. Through the mist and dampness the gray lifted and one of the most glorious sights of my life appeared. The beauty, the immensity, the mystic atmosphere was amazing and it makes you feel like a lesser spec standing atop just a small part of the world.
Our last day in Adare my mother and I golfed. Check that off the list. We celebrated at a pub with live music which we did every evening in the quaint and picturesque country town and rested. The following morning we were off to Dublin once again to spend our final day and night of the trip. We toured the Writer’s Museum which is wonderful and lets you appreciate the great literary talent and works that have derived from the island. Next, the Leprechaun Museum which was a great hour of entering another world and enjoying great storytelling, learning about culture and folklore. We shopped, we strolled, we listened to wonderful street music, and my last dinner in Ireland was bangers and mash, a cold pint of Guinness, and a warm shot of Jameson.
As you may have noticed, nothing really went wrong. So what’s with the title? My mother and wife move at a different pace which was difficult to maintain, it was stressful at times navigating the country with gasps of worry coming from the backseat and reminders of how there needs to be a bathroom available at any time, and there was skepticism that a bond would be more difficult to create between the two main women in my life (my sister is a close third of course). There were times where I wanted to freak out because of the stress, but I kept telling myself, “Calm down, you’re in Ireland.”
That’s the key: enjoy the positive and accept the negative. There will always be drama, there will always be pessimism, but there is also balance. Everything worked out in the end and this was an amazing trip; I highly recommended visiting this wonderful county of beautiful landscapes, rich heritage, nice people, and great fare and drink. Lastly, respect tradition, embrace your legacy, and love your family; it’s worth it no matter what. Slainte!
P.S. For a more detailed account please feel free to contact me. Again, this isn’t a travel site, but this was just a nice recap to a meaningful life experience. Something to be appreciative and jealous toward.