I want to experience the land of fairies. Since I was a child, my mother and aunt, born of County Clare descendants, kept the belief truly alive. I mean the TRUTH alive. They were believers as were their grandparents who, in setting sail to America, continued to pass down the Irish stories of the wee ones, the magic, the forty shades of green, the ocean spray and foam ONLY found in the West of Ireland. I have spent my adulthood continuing this tradition so that now, the 5th generation of County Clare O’Neill blood born children seek fairy rings (and have found them!), leave gifts for the fairies of bits of shell, sea glass, a special piece of moss or a piece of bark fallen just so perfectly in the shape of a heart. “See it, Aunt Heidi! See the heart! The fairies will LOVE this.” This is so typical of many a declaration on any typical day among the children of my siblings and the non-family children I have taught about the wee people and magic or Ireland. And the children run to place these special treasure in the fairy houses they have made of sticks and mud and bark and leaves OR in the large, two-story, and four-foot tall one made of a salvaged mail carrier’s package box I have placed for the fairies in my garden.
Ireland for me is magic and family and music. And my Irish blood, I am sure, is responsible for my life as a poet and our family’s gatherings in which the children ALWAYS ask my brother, “Uncle Scott, tell us a story! Tell us a story!” And of course, his Irish blood brings out the best of the Blarney as their believing ears and wide eyes take in his fantastical tales that are sure to become family legend. And many already have! I can’t wait for the day when someone finally asks, “Uncle Scott, did that really happen?” And he will answer with another bit of Blarney to back up the Blarney until as adults these same children will be teaching their children of the fairies and wee people and magic and making up their own tales of Blarney to bless the dinner table gatherings and conversations. With the passing of my mother and Aunt, who each so desperately wanted to get back to what they felt as second generation Irish as their homeland, but never could due to money, and troubles that come with raising big families and living life, I want to win this opportunity to visit the Ireland, their Ireland, my Ireland, the Ireland they left for us. In memory of their lives as orphans after the death of their father, Jimmy O’Neill, and their subsequent lives with his parents (my great grandparents) who sailed from County Clare to make a home in America. They made sure that everyone learned, even on to me of the third generation, that one never put shoes on a table, lest death come to the family, or never open an umbrella in a house lest illness or death strike. And now, the children of the fifth generation do not dare to put their brand new pair of Nike’s on a table! Oh no!
Me and all the remaining younger generations of my Irish roots family have taken the memories which run through our blood as if memory is part of our genetic material, and celebrate with a good jig, run to tell us of a new fairy ring among the garden or warn us that a bird has tapped his beaked at a window, and beg for yet another season of Irish Dance lessons. But most of all, I want to visit Ireland to see, and feel and taste and KNOW the Ireland that my mother and aunt were never able to visit for themselves. I want to see Ireland for them and send my visions on up to heaven with a kiss blown from air I have breathed in and out from the same Irish air that once filled the lungs of my great-grandmother (maiden name Russell of the great Russell Brothers musicians) and my great-grandfather O’Neill as they sucked in their first sweet breaths of life with County Clare air. And I will bring back my visions and tales and the scents taken in and the very air in my lungs to increase the magic that my family carries on one to another because our elders made sure to it that we believe and know even here on the other side of my great grandparents’ passage from Ireland.
Do you want to visit Ireland in hopes to learn more about your families history, but don’t know where to start? Our pre-designed tours of Ireland by coach bus are a perfect place to start. With help from our amazing travel staff, we can find you the tour that best fit’s you and your families personal interests, and it can even go to some of the cities belonging to your heritage!