After a nearly six year absence, I’m visiting Ireland this month. It would take some effort, and both hands, to count the number of times I’ve traveled to the country where my father was born, yet I’m about as excited as I was on that first trip to the Emerald Isle. Back then, all flights from the U.S. stopped at Shannon and I’ll always remember the emotional response I experienced as the plane landed and I saw the gorgeous greens of the landscape. I’m not ashamed to tell you I cried.
Believe it or not, this visit was inspired by last year’s Roman holiday. Catching up with my “cousin”* in the lobby of her hotel, as she arrived from Dublin and I prepared to depart for home, convinced me that it has been too long since I saw my Irish family. I bought my tickets last fall and have looked forward to this trip ever since. Despite my original travel plans being canceled (thanks, Boeing!) and having to scramble for a new carrier (Aer Lingus) from an alternate airport (in a different state), I’m pretty much ready to go.
This will be the first time that I’ll be taking a little time to explore, solo, a part of Ireland that interests me – Galway town. Over the years, I’ve stayed in Connemara a couple of times and have seen the Burren, heard the traditional music and language, and indulged in the local cuisine, but this time I’m psyched to run by the water and wander the narrow city streets with my camera. While most of my time will be on the east coast with family, the few days I’ll be on the west coast are the ones that will feel the most like an escape rather than a homecoming.
Beyond my accommodations, the only thing I’ve booked is Airbnb baking class experience. I hope to learn how to bake Irish brown bread, which I plan to consume with copious amounts of butter, marmalade and tea. Other than that, I’m open to whatever adventures may beckon. Unless, of course, you have some recommendations?
*her dad is actually my cousin, but she’s much closer to my age than he is.