Luck of the Irish? Blarney!

When my daughter graduated from High School, I decided to take her on a mother-daughter trip before she went on to bigger things; college, work, home and social demands, and reduced ability to take time off for two weeks. She had done well in High School, kept her grades up, been a good "citizen", and though we had taken a foreign trip the summer before with our church, it was definitely a working trip. I wanted to reward all of her hard work and honesty, and spend good, quality, and fun time with her. We sat down and decided together where we would like to go – and Ireland was on the top of the list. Rolling green hills, friendly faces, and adorable accents – we were ready for the happy-go-lucky Irish.

We flew out of Phoenix, two hours from our home in Tucson. It was an early flight, so we spent the night at a hotel in Phoenix near the airport where they kept your car while you were away. We went out to dinner and did a little "last minute" shopping at the mall. I do not know how it happened, but somehow the car keys got lost at the mall. After two hours of looking to no avail, we finally keep up and my parents drove two hours with my spare set (they are saints). I should have known this was a premonition of things to come. We ended up with little sleep, but thrilled for our adventure to come.

The next glitch came when the flight was delayed by an hour. When they finally let us on the plane, we sat on the runway for half an hour, then we were told to get off. Can they do that? Yep, they can. We were advised to go to the airline counter to be rescheduled. So, all the people from the plane were quickly scurrying to the counter. We were fifth in line (long legs have an advantage here). It still took an hour to get to first in line. She had to re-route us through Chicago, then to London (with a 6 hour layover), then on to Ireland – total time: 25 hours. This was starting to feel very unlucky. I asked the reservation person if our baggage would follow us correctly. She reassured us that it was all computerized and not to worry. To make this long 25 hour part of the story shorter, I will summarize it: cold airports, long lines at each airport for re-checking in, passport checks, and major fatigue. We finally got to our destination and, I am sure you guessed it – no baggage. By the way, my luggage did not show up for 5 days, my daughter's for 11 (out of 14) days. We had to call and check in every day. We had no clothing, very few toiletries or personal items, and no warm gear for the rainy Irish skies.

We had purchased a package deal that included vouchers for bed and breakfasts for each day. The travel agency said that it was not difficult to find places that accepted these vouchers; there were literally "thousands of B & B's in Ireland, and most of them accept vouchers". Typically, this is not a true statement, maybe one third of them do, and it is best to make reservations ahead of time. We did not have reservations either, because we wanted to roam the countryside and stop when the mood hit. The travel agency made it sound like this was all easy and feasible. I will say the places that we did stay were wonderful. But, we spent so much time trying to find clothing and shelter that we just did not get to relax and enjoy the atmosphere like we should have.

When I finally did get my bag, it was pretty well destroyed. They found my daughter's bag in New York (no, we never went through New York). I shared all my clothing and makeup with my daughter (luckily, we are the same size). Being girls, we had brought a curling iron and a converter. It blew up (I am not kidding, with smoke, sparks and all). Fortunately, I have a natural wave to my hair, and the humidity did all sorts of fabulous things to it. I felt like I fit right in with my wavy, red hair. My daughter, on the other hand, was not feeling the love with her hairstyle.

We had one mishap after another, and really had moments where we surprised what all the hype was about with the "Luck O 'the Irish". But, all things said and done, it was probably THE most beautiful place I have ever seen. The Irish people are warm and caring, and very relaxed about life. They went out of their way way to give directions and advice, tell stories, and were just wonderful in every way. We spent one night in a castle that was magical. And, given the opportunity, I would go back in a second; just waiting that all my bad luck was used up! Anyone that has the opportunity to go to Ireland, GO. Just make sure that you bring a carry-on that has enough clothes for a few days, and bring your own luck!

Source by Tracey S Watson

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