Chicago – The Long Layover

This is the first in a series about a mother – daughter trip to Ireland. We’d dreamed of doing this for ages, and when it finally happened, we had a blast. I was held hostage in the Shannon airport, we heard some terrible jokes and great music and we made some fun new friends. Feel free to follow along!

1199px-ohare_airport_terminal_1_concourse_cChicago’s O’Hare airport is an interesting place, but not for seven hours.  My mother and I came to this conclusion ten minutes into our long layover there.  We were en-route to Shannon Ireland, and while not excited about our downtime, we were also uneasy about leaving the airport. What if we got lost or mugged, and didn’t make it back in time to catch our flight?   But the alternative of playing solitaire and wandering aimlessly for seven hours was unthinkable.  We decided to throw caution to the wind and set out for the City of Chicago.

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Ireland – Don’t Do This

 

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O.K. so obviously you don’t want to do this. But this is not a photography blog. Read on to learn about other important don’ts.

The Name Game
My mother and I recently enjoyed a long-awaited tour of  Ireland. All in all it was a delightful trip, as long as you don’t count the part where I was held hostage in the Shannon airport. I have no one to blame for this international incident but myself . . . well actually, I could blame my mother.  She’s the one who put one name on my birth certificate then called me something entirely different for the rest of my life.  As a result, I don’t think in terms of my given name, unless I’m applying for something official like a driver’s license.

This was my first mistake – putting my Christian name on my driver’s license. It seemed like the thing to do at the time but has caused me untold amounts of trouble over the years since the name on my license never matches anything else.  My second mistake was in putting my nickname on my airline tickets.

I’ve been travelling for a long time, but every now and then I really mess up.

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Ireland – One Hundred Thousand Welcomes

May the road rise up to meet you.

 

Traveling from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to its miniature equivalent in Shannon Ireland is like stepping into another dimension. While the two airports are polar opposites – finely tuned chaos compared to small-town bustle – it’s the shift in scenery that takes your breath away. Chicago, a major metropolis of towering concrete, percolates with honking horns and harried people. Ireland, on the other hand, embodies peace and lush green beauty.

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The Haunting Beauty of ClonMacnoise

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Clon Macnoise on the River Shannon

There was an other worldly presence here, and I felt goosebumps rise on my arms.

It was hard to believe I was in Ireland.  This was a trip I’d dreamed of for years and now I could hardly close my eyes for fear of missing something. As I became acquainted with the Irish countryside, sugar-coated images of thatched cottages and leprechauns fled before the splendor of the real thing. Here, velvet blue skies flanked rolling green hills, ancient stone buildings hovered on every horizon, and age-old rock walls snaked across the fields.
I had expected, the scenery in Ireland to be fascinating, but was pleasantly surprised to learn the same could be said of its history. Especially in places like St. Ciaran’s Monastery at Clonmacnoise.

This was an Unusual Place 

Clonmacnoise is in Southern Ireland, in County Offaly, and though it’s a little out of the way, it’s well worth the extra effort. As we passed through the front gates it was immediately clear this was an unusual place. There was an other-worldly presence here.  Something almost palpable hung like a mist in the air, and I felt goose bumps rise on my arms. Continue reading

To Drive or Be Driven – Touring Ireland

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This article is published on Go Nomad Travel.

 

To drive or be driven, that was the question when I decided to tour Southern Ireland.  Should I do the “typical tourist” thing and sign up for a bus trip? Or be independent, and strike out on my own in a rental car?

For the rest of the story continue to GoNomad Travel. You’ll be glad you did!

It’s one place on earth that heaven has kissed, with melody, mirth and meadow and mist.

The Journey Begins

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Thanks for coming along!

 

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller – Ibn Battuta 


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