My maternal grandfather William Chapman was always very private when talking about his heritage. When anyone asked where he was from originally, he would always respond that he was Canadian. For reasons unknown to me, he was estranged from his family early in his life after he married my grandmother. Unlike my grandfather, my mother was always eager to learn about her ancestry. As far as I was concerned growing up, my mother identified herself as being Canadian with some Scottish in her mother’s family tree. My immediate family and I always joked with her that she wasn’t sure who she was: where her family ties actually originated and what ethnicity she could call her own. She was always extremely interested in learning about her roots, but never really had the opportunity or the knowledge how to discover more.
A few years ago, my cousin Scott began researching the Chapman family tree. After some meticulous research, he learned that some of my grandfather’s heritage actually originated in Ireland. From the moment my mom discovered this new information, she was extremely connected and wished to visit Ireland to explore the country and if she could learn more about her paternal family’s ancestry. Her plan was to do this together with my father in their retirement which was soon to come!
On March 27, 2015, my family’s world turned upside down. My father and the love of my mom’s life was diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer. Since his diagnosis, my mother quit her job and was by my father’s side the entire time. Her life changed from working in a high school with students with multiple exceptionalities to coordinating doctor appointments, scheduling chemotherapy and being with my dad the many times he was admitted into hospital. She completely dropped everything in her life to be there for my dad and the rest of our family. My father went through 7 horrendous rounds of chemotherapy treatment and still continues to fight the battle today, stronger and more faithful than ever.
To add to my poor mom’s plate, just recently her mother’s mild cognitive impairment has worsened. Just 3 weeks ago, she suffered from a stroke and a fall which has put her into the hospital. On top of caring for my father for the past year, my mom now visits my grandmother everyday in the hospital and is taking care of moving her into an assisted care residence where she can be safe and taken care of.
My mom is truly a remarkable woman. She has done nothing but sacrifice for her entire family. She always does what needs to be done without complaining or resentment. She promised that when my dad was well enough, that they would go on vacation together and explore parts of the world like they always planned to do. When I read the sweepstakes contest for the trip to Ireland, I immediately connected it to my mom and her desire to learn about her Irish heritage. It would also be an amazing birthday present when she turns 60 on the first of March! I would love for my mom and dad to be able to take this once in a life time trip to beautiful Ireland, to not only enjoy the best of what life has to offer, but hopefully, to draw a little luck of the Irish.
Family and friends are two of the most important values in Irish culture, they have the ability to turn any regular experience into something special and memorable. Whether you’re interested in taking a tour of Ireland to connect with your heritage, or just to experience all the things to do in Ireland, our travel experts are dedicated to creating an itinerary that touches upon everything that would make your vacation just right.