Years before I was born, my great-grandmother traveled from Ireland to America. Growing up, my father was very fond of her, (except when she forced him into Irish dance class!). From the stories I’ve heard about her, she was a strong, proud, Gaelic-speaking woman. When I was born I was named after her, and I’m proud to say that I encompass many of her amazing attributes. I have not, however, mastered my Gaelic!
After my grandfather passed away a couple of years ago, we were cleaning out some of his old drawers. That man kept everything! There were many of handwritten letters from the war that was a great read. However, what I found most interesting was an old book strung together with some twine. It contained the Downs family history, which included the account of some of my ancestors on their travels from Ireland to America. One day our family packed up their bags and left Limerick, Ireland to find a new home in America. They traveled on a ship across the ocean and landed in New York. From New York, they scavenged for some money and then made their way across a couple of states in an ox cart until they reached Wellington, Ohio. This is where many of my family members still reside today. With the money they made in New York, they were able to buy some farm land and became very successful farmers.
My family history is a huge part of what drives my desire to travel to Ireland. Even if I was not Irish, however, who wouldn’t want to travel to Ireland? The heritage is rich, and the land is beyond beautiful. I dream of the day that I will be able to walk outside and see the rolling, green grass, castles by the sea, and maybe even kiss the Blarney Stone, as touristy as that may be! I’ve never heard a bad word from anyone I know whose been there. I’ve heard especially in the smaller towns, people just have a way of talking that will brighten your day and your view of humanity. I see a glimpse of that when I speak to my cousin’s wife, who recently came over from Ireland herself. I have never met a friendlier, caring person. I love sitting down with her and listening to the stories she has to share. It’s especially interesting to hear about her father’s time spent as a brewer at Guinness!
My father was very proud of our heritage, and he’s passed that pride along to me, He’s always dreamed of traveling to Ireland, we’ve just never been able to afford to go. He has worked extremely hard to provide for our family and make sure all of his kids were set up for success. He is a very deserving man, and I really wish I could make this dream come true for him. I would love to win this trip so that I could help him fulfill his dream (and mine!) of seeing the amazing country our family came from.
Many of our past travelers who took Ireland Vacations have come back with a better knowledge of their heritage and deep-rooted family history than they could have ever imagined. While this contest has since ended, more information on ways to win a trip to Ireland can be found on our blog periodically!