But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.

June 1, 2013 - Shepherd, Michigan, United States

We were the only ones in the breakfast room this morning.  This was a Saturday and also a bank holiday weekend in Ireland.  Other folks were sleeping in and enjoying their holidays.  We had our last breakfast of scrambled eggs and rashers.  We are really going to miss those rashers!  Irish bacon is one of the things I really look forward to when traveling in that country.  Delicious!

Our trip to the airport was uneventful.  I was tired and oddly enough, ready to go home.  I write this last entry from my kitchen table on Sunday morning.

Normally, the “leaving day” is really difficult for me.  I am reluctant to let the adventure end.  I started this trip exhausted and ended it exhausted.  I am quite convinced that the loss of those two days set everything off in such a jumble it was hard to recover.  It is not advisable to take such a long journey for such a brief time.  By the time you get acclimated to the time change, the driving on the opposite side of the road, etc. it seems that it’s time to go home.  I think we originally had the right idea; staying low-key in Ennis for the first two days; resting up some before taking off down the narrow, twisting roads.  Being our sole driver I’m not sure I experienced anything but a few fleeting moments of relaxation during the entire trip.  In fact, within an hour of boarding the plane I was already asleep.

As usual, I remember the personal encounters the most:

A bartender in Kilkenny who said he was from the town of Tipperary.  When I smartly remarked, “It’s a long way”, he kindly informed me that most Irish don’t appreciate that reference.  He explained that the British sang that song in the trenches and it was “their” song, not the song of folks from Tipperary.  In fact, in Kilkenny we encountered the most open anti-British sentiments we’d ever discovered on our trips.  Previously folks would say, “Oh that was a long, long time ago.”  In Kilkenny there still seemed to be a distinct rawness over The Troubles.

Walter, the delightful young man from Switzerland.

A bartender in Castlemaine who spoke with disdain about The Travelers (sometimes referred to as rovers or tinkers) and their shady business dealings all over Europe.  He said they were for the most part related and hailed from the village of Rathkeale in County Limerick.  He spoke of how they would paint buildings or seal driveways only to have everything wash off in the first rain.  We’ve heard of the same practice in the states.  He told us that in one European country, all of their equipment was seized and crushed before they were allowed to go on their way.

Or the very fresh-faced bartender who told us his goal was to visit Las Vegas in America.  You could just see his dreams written across his face as he thought of it.  Being very non-Vegas-type folks we asked him what it was that he most longed to see?  I jokingly asked, “The Brothels?”  He was stumped.  “Brothels?”  When Bill told him prostitution was legal just outside of Vegas he replied with disgust, “That’s not right!  It’s just not right.”  I’m sorry to say his expression changed.  Perhaps now he’ll visit some of our beautiful national parks?  ;o)

The young woman who described for me the trip her family made from Dublin to Dingle when she was 10 years old.  There were no highways then and she said that they’d even spent a night in Clare County on the way.  “My poor parents!  Three of us children packed into the back seat all the way.”   Bearing in mind that she might be in her early to mid-30s her story really gave me the sense of just how quickly things had changed in Ireland; and how quickly things continue to change.  Those previously hidden gems are now written about in travel books (and blogs) and are often identified with big signs proclaiming, “Prehistoric Bee-hive huts” or “Prehistoric Irish fort”.  That seemed to be a new catch word as we moved about the Dingle Peninsula.

The Grumpy Man in Kilkenny who really wasn’t so grumpy but perhaps a bit lonely.  The old fellows at the end of the bar in every pub who seemed to want to converse but who we had such difficulty understanding.  My “Irish” lesson in Kenmare.  Pat’s reference to “every Irishman’s dream; a farm and a bar.”

The last chance encounter we had was in the airport in Shannon while waiting to board our flight.  Next to us was a little guy and his mother preparing to embark on a trip.  I found out later that he was only 4 years old.  What touched my heart was hearing him talk on the phone to a loved one before boarding.  “We’re going to America!” he proclaimed; as though it were some magical place.  “We’ll buy you something and bring it back.”

It is a magical place isn’t it?  Regardless of whether you are coming or going, the destination always seems to hold the magic; especially the first time.  That’s what I had hoped to recapture with this trip; that sense of awe and magic we’d had in 2009.  It didn’t happen quite how I envisioned it would.  As tired as I was, hearing that little voice with an Irish accent say, “America!” made me soft and a wee bit weepy.  I wish I had thought to wear my child’s eyes more on this trip.  I wish I would have just appreciated being there.  Stopped driving.  Stopped staying up too late and getting up too early.  If ever we try again, we’ll plan to be at the Fleadh days early so as not to miss the climax.  We’ll find us a cozy self-catering cottage somewhere and settle in for a week.  We’ll pretend to have “given up working” and just breathe.  Maybe I’ll even give a nod to my dear departed father and go fishing on a trout stream somewhere.  I am not too old to learn new tricks.  Of that I am certain.

“No, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.”  ~ The Rolling Stones

Until the next trip ~ Love, Kelly and Bill


Jacqui Cantu:
June 3, 2013
Thank you so much for allowing me to see Ireland vicariously through your activities. Just the change of environment I hope helped you relax more than you think.
June 3, 2013
Kelly and Bill your pictures are great! The hitchhiker picture is too adorable :-) What a great lesson and second experience Kelly thank you for sharing.
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