06. September 2010
Just months before her death in 1980, my mother was able to live out her lifelong dream of traveling to Ireland. I still have the photo of Mom’s joy-filled face as she kissed the Blarney Stone. While touring Ireland recently, I too performed the ancient Irish ritual. As I bent over backward to “properly” kiss the famous stone, a wave of emotion overtook me. After more than 30 years, I was able to share a special moment with my Mom.
Born and baptized Dorothy Marie Gallagher, Mom made sure my (French Canadian!) dad, my sister, brother and I appreciated her Irish heritage. From Irish Beleek china in the living room curio cabinet to our annual St. Patrick’s Day party at “O’LeBeau’s” in Davenport, Iowa... my family was “goin’ green” long before it was fashionable!
I’ve just spent 10 days celebrating my (half) Irish heritage touring the Emerald Isle. From Dublin to Galway, from the Cliffs of Moher to Kilkenny Castle… Ireland is truly the “land of enchantment.”
Tom and I joined 20 other San Diegans on a delightful tour designed by Holiday Vacations www.holidayvacations.net. We started with a quick tour of Dublin and stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. From there we traveled the scenic countryside with stops at the Celtic Crystal Factory and Kylemore Abbey and Gardens. We dined as medieval lords and ladies at Bunratty Castle… took a lively horse-drawn jaunting cart ride in Kilarney and drove the entire, breathtaking Ring of Kerry.
My fondest memories? Rich, strong coffee with breakfast every morning… the lovely lilt of an Irish accent, brightly-colored storefronts, chilly wind gusts, my first Guinness, gardens and baskets bursting with color, hearty Monk’s bread with butter, friendly people everywhere, the rich political and religious history, castles, cathedrals and links golf courses (OK, that’s Tom’s favorite memory!).
Whew! The experience of a lifetime in a country that has endured so much pain, but has never lost its faith. A must see…
“May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead!”
Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.