Honestly, there are many others entering this contest who deserve to visit Ireland perhaps more than my wife and I. We’re not of Irish heritage so we have no real family roots to explore there. As my wife will tell you though, I’ve always been fascinated with Ireland. I’ve even asked her to be sure that Celtic music is played at my funeral.
Few countries can match the rich culture, history, scenery, and magic of the Emerald Isle. The history of Ireland is simply riveting to read. And, the people of Ireland have always shown the best of humanity through their culture, music, traditions, and also their stoic determination through the most difficult of times.
It would be an honor to share a visit to this special place with my wife. We are retired now and don’t really expect to travel to exotic places. But – if we were so blessed to make the journey, we’d be excited to meet new people, perhaps at the Glandore Inn in Cork, as we take in some music and share stories over a Guinness or a Jameson. In my mind, I smell the aroma of local dishes as they arrive at our table… dishes like colcannon or maybe bacon and cabbage. I hear us now, toasting our good fortune to the wee hours of the morning. We grin at each other as we listen to the lilting accent of our new friends as they speak in their Irish brogue – and they at our Southern American English. Yes, I can see us making new lifelong friends across the waters.
Perhaps we can repay their hospitality when they visit our home in Alabama. It would be our pleasure to share some good ol’ southern BBQ and Soul Food with them. And maybe some Good People Ale and Old Forrester Whiskey –
I shut my eyes again and I’m there – I can feel history come alive as we explore the grand castles from the past. Castles like the Bunratty or the Blarney, rich with legends. I hear the clinking of glasses, the clanging of pots, and hearty laughter as we dine at a banquet at the Bunratty. Maidens bring delicious dishes as we eat and drink by candlelight just like the knights of old. I feel my heart skip a beat as Crystal hangs over the top of the Blarney castle to kiss the “Kissing Stone” for the gift of gab.
Then – I smell the sea and shiver from the chill as I look out from the cliffs to the steel gray horizon. I turn, and I’m hypnotized by the contrasting beauty of the lush green hills. We stroll the streets of Dublin in the morning with a mug of hot coffee, drifting among the bustle of the city awakening. We’re intrigued as we walk streets steeped in a rich history that includes the Vikings, the Celts, the Tudors, the Cromwellians, and the Georgians. We’re moved as we remember the great struggles of the Irish people – struggles between the Protestants and the Catholics that caused so much strife, the Black Plague and the Potato famine, wars too many to count, and the stout heart of the thousands of souls who journeyed to America for a better life with nothing except the clothes on their back.
O’ Ireland – a land that has haunted my dreams for years – – why is it that I’m drawn to you?
Please allow me to close with this traditional Irish poem because it captures my yearnings for Ireland… “Whenever I dream, it seems I dream of Erin’s hills. Of all its lovely shimmering lakes and babbling rills. I hear a Colleen’s lilting laugh across the meadow fair. And in my dreams it almost seems to me that I am there. O’ Ireland, O ‘Ireland, it seems we are never far apart, for you and all your beauty fill my mind and touch my heart.”
Thanks for the opportunity,
Paul and Crystal Bauman
January 31st, 2016
Ireland has a way of calling to just about everyone, and we can help you answer to it! Whether that’s through exploring the wonders of medieval Ireland on one of our Castle Vacations, or through a romantic escape with your special someone on one of our lovely Honeymoon Packages.