For the past two weeks, I have traveled across the Atlantic to the Emerald Isle–the land of my ancestors–and I hated to leave. Even now, I marvel at how hard it must have been for my grandparents to board a ship and say goodbye to their homeland. The economic and political conditions of their time were unbelievably difficult, and like many others, they felt they hadn’t any other choice.
In two weeks, our travels took us to the far-reaching corners of the isle, but a lifetime would be too short a period to see everything which makes Eire a place one will never forget. I hiked the Dingle Peninsula, gazed in awe at the Cliffs of Moher, and wandered castle gardens. I was giddy with happiness that I was fortunate enough to have another childhood dream come to fruition.
I gazed upon the long-empty homes of my Grandpa Thomas and my Grandma Elizabeth. I met many McGinn cousins who opened their hearts and their home to not only my husband and myself, but our friends who traveled with us. One of my cousins, after we were unable to connect in Galway City, drove across the island to County Monaghan so he could meet us.
Everywhere I looked I saw beauty. I didn’t need a filter to make the hillsides green or the sky a deeper blue. The ancient churches provided the texture and shadows for my black and white photos. I had a connection with this country deeper than the stories of my youth. It seemed innate to my very being. It was a siren song to my soul.
I longed to have my own little cottage in the country where I could sit outside and watch the cows and sheep graze on the neighboring hillsides. My father would have loved Ireland, and I wish he would have had a chance to go and see it. I am the first of his children to visit and I hope I won’t be the last.
I know I will return…