Growing up in an Irish-American family, my father always wanted to take me to Ireland to experience some of our family history. Since a trip would be rather expensive and we were not well off, he said we could go when I graduated from college, and the trip would double as a graduation present. Unfortunately, my father committed suicide when I was nineteen years old. This is a topic I rarely talk about to a few reasons: the public stigma surrounding the topic, my own struggles to handle the situation, and of course the good ol’ Irish need to bury my problems deep down. With my graduation from Cal Poly (Go Broncos!) on the horizon this spring, I would love to be able to take a trip to Ireland as previously planned as a celebration for graduating, but I also think it would be a great opportunity to finally have some closure on my father’s passing. For the first few years I would not even acknowledge that he was gone, I would lie when people asked about him and quickly change the topic. It has only been in the last year I have been able to internalize the facts and deal with some of the emotions I have been internalizing. And now I believe I am ready to turn the last page in my grief and find acceptance. The fact that it leaves from Boston is also perfect, as my dad was raised in the Boston suburb of Quincy, and I have always wanted to visit there as well. If I were to win, I plan to bring my girlfriend of four years with me who happens to be half Irish herself. She has been the most supportive person in all aspects of my life, and is the main reason I stayed in school when I wanted to give up on everything. Winning this trip would be such a huge help in making my trip possible. Despite working, it has been hard to save while going to school and playing for the schools hockey team, as well as working an internship in public accounting with long hours. I apologize for this being such a sap story, so let me switch to a happier note and talk about what I would love to do while in Ireland. Starting in Birr, I would love to just take in and explore the beauty of the Irish countryside. And if time permits, I would love to play a round of golf at a traditional Irish links course. In Galway I would take advantage of the nightlife and visit a few pubs. On the way south to Killarney I would make a pit stop at the Cliffs of Moher, where I would like to pay tribute to my father. Once in Killarney, driving the Ring of Kerry to take in the sights would be awesome. And finally in Dublin my first stop would be the Guinness Storehouse for a few pints and great view of the city. I’m sure I would discover many other great features that Ireland has to offer along the way. I deeply appreciate any votes that I may receive. Thank you!
Do you have anyone you wish to bring with you on a Trip to Ireland, even if just in spirit? Ireland has something for everyone to enjoy and the hospitality of the locals is second to none. Not sure where you’d like to go? We’ve put together our own suggestions for Ireland experiences, which you might end up adding to your own bucket list!