Alas, it looks like I’m getting into this contest a bit late, but you know what they say about the underdogs. So, I’ll throw my two cents in (hey, it’s free) and hope for the best. The first time I was really introduced to Ireland, was a movie called “The Matchmaker”. My father was an avid movie collector, and one day he brought that particular movie home. I was twelve years old at the time, and my knowledge of Ireland consisted mainly of locating it on a map for 6th-grade Geography. Through that movie, I was immersed in the breathtaking landscapes and the colorful culture that is Ireland. As a twelve-year-old, I thought Ireland seemed like one of the coolest places in the world. I must have watched that movie a hundred times. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the feeling I felt when I watched it. It was a mix of longing and homesickness. I vowed when I “grew up”, I would visit there one day.
Fast forward a decade, and the popularity of Genealogy. One of my sisters decided to trace our ancestry, and lo and behold, we have Irish ancestors. When I learned of this, I had a, aha moment. I thought, “That must be why I’m so infatuated with Ireland”. After researching, we discovered we were descended from a line of O’Shaughnessy’s. We contacted the O’Shaughnessy Society and were thrilled to learn they hold a family rally every two years in Gort. Immediately, I began researching flights and costs and was able to talk my mom and two sisters into going in 2012. We set all travel plans into motion and I was super excited about going with only one exception, driving on the other side of the road (American here). However, with a week to go, a close family member passed away, the house we reserved in Ireland for our stay suddenly became unavailable and another close family member having to be admitted to the hospital caused us to cancel our plans. To say I was devastated was putting it mildly. I thought it so strange to have had three strikes against our trip, but I chalked it up to God trying to give us a sign that the timing just wasn’t right.
So, why do I want to go to Ireland? Because it’s been a dream of mine since I was the child. I want to plant my feet on Irish soil, close my eyes and take a deep breath and just see if I have a feeling of being home washed over me. I want to see if that feeling of longing and homesickness ebbs away. I want to feast my eyes on the beauty and immerse myself in the culture. I’d like to try my very first pint, gorge on local food, stand on the Cliffs of Moher, listen to some local musicians, and just breathe. Oh, and as far as driving on the other side of the road? I’ll just sit back and relax and let my amazing husband handle it.
Ireland’s landscape, history, and culture have intrigued and influenced Hollywood cinema for centuries, so it’s no secret why individuals from all around the world have the desire to go on a Tour of Ireland. Whether in Harry Potter, Braveheart, or Game of Thrones, it only takes one look at one of the amazing Ireland Castles and you’ll be itching to learn all about its history and on the search for more!