When I was a young boy growing up in the deserts of Arizona, my grandfather would tell me stories about the vast green landscapes of Ireland. While my grandfather was born in the Midwest, his parents had emigrated from Ireland in the early days of the 20th Century. He recited the stories that his mother and father would tell him about how the entire countryside was various shades of emerald, lime and forest green. As I grew into my teen years, European History was one of my favorite subjects in school. I learned more about the historical aspects of the country that my ancestors had emigrated from. I became aware of the struggles and difficulties that they must have experienced during the harsh 19th Century in a country that was plagued with famine. My appreciation not only for my ancestors, but the country of Ireland as a whole continued to increase as my knowledge of the nation’s history increased.
When I became an adult, I remember making a list of all of the different places in the world I’d like to visit. Great Britain and specifically Ireland itself always made it to the top of my list. The idea of visiting a place not only with a landscape completely foreign to my upbringing, but one where the sun was in the sky for eighteen or more hours during the summer days, was highly appealing to me. I found myself routinely trying to find the rare combination of free time and excess funds to put together a trip to the country, yet always failing to do so. As the internet age has continued to evolve, I often find myself looking at Google Maps not only at the overall satellite views of various parts of the country but at the street level of places such as downtown Dublin and the western sea-coast. I’ve even taken the time to map out road routes out to places such as Cork and Waterford, wondering how many different small towns and villages I could fit into the extended summer days while visiting. Even as recently as this year I’ve plotted out a map of how much of the country I could visit in a few days going as far as discussing with my best friend about hopping on a flight and jet-setting across the pond to soak in as much Irish culture as we can.
Exploring the landscape, experiencing the local cultures, and having the opportunity to immerse myself in Ireland has appealed to me since early childhood. Whether it is via winning a contest or by finally setting aside the right amount of time and money, I have no doubt that soon I will take the adventure across the Atlantic and experience Ireland. The country is part of my heritage, and (like so much of the world) Ireland is advancing as technology advances. My hope is to experience the uniqueness of the country, and to be able to step back to a place where things move a bit slower and things are a bit greener.
Have you ever thought to take your own trip to Ireland to learn about the stories of your family’s Irish roots? Our travel agents would love to help suggest places for you to travel to uncover information about your historical background. If you’re still looking for ways to win a vacation, be sure to check back to our blog periodically for information.