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Monday, July 03, 2006

An Irish odyssey begins

Next summer my husband and I plan to spend a week in Ireland. It's something we've talked about doing since we were 23. At the time we agreed that the summer of our 40th birthdays would be a good time to go. Alas, that time is nearly upon us. Danny turns 40 in December and I turn 40 next September. It's also a celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary, which is actually in about a month.

Why Ireland?

It was one place my husband, not bitten by wanderlust as I am, agreed to visit. And I am wooed by its passionate people, infectious in their personalities, tough and yet loving, lyrical in both written and spoken word. Plus there's an austere quietness about the landscape that I find compelling.

Being the careful trip planner that I am, I've been on the e-mail list for Irish tourism board for a while now and I'm seeing all kinds of great deals. The good news is that I think we can make this trip for less than originally budgeted. Here's what we'd like to do. If you've been and have suggestions or good links to visit, please send them along:

We plan to stay in one location throughout our visit and drive to various sites, etc. Our thought was to rent a cottage in a small town (possibly Galway) and become immersed in the local culture. You know, visit the pubs, attend the churches, walk the country lanes. But of course we'd also like to see the sites -- namely Dublin, Cliffs of Moher (though Danny does have a thing with heights) and County Clare, where his McGee relatives are from.

I'd like to visit the literary sites -- Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and particularly W.B. Yeats. I want to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Corcomroe Abbey, home of the Cistercians, also known as the Trappists, the order to which Thomas Merton belonged.

And I'd like to visit the Aran Islands, though I've promised my boys that I will not outfit them all with Irish sweaters for the next Christmas card.


TomM said...

Two summers ago my wife, kids (12 & 9 yrs old), and I spent a week between London and Ireland. In Ireland we opted to stay put in one location (Westport, County Mayo on the west coast) rather than try to squeeze in as many sights as possible. The best thing we did was to meet up with one of my wife's distant cousins. His day job was grounds keeper at a golf course, but at night he sang and played guitar in the pubs. We also went horseback riding out of a stable where his daughter worked. Imbibing in the local culture beat the sightseeing hands down.

Wendy Hoke said...

Sounds wonderful, Tom. Just my idea of a vacation. I know my desire to see it all will have to be whittled down. What I desire is to be among the people and the culture. Thanks so much for sharing.