Back in 1992, I had the opportunity to dance as a guest artist with the Scottish-American Ballet during the Edinburgh Festival. We flew from New York to London, then on to Scotland, where we stayed for two weeks. Again, this was one of those past travel experiences which I am so grateful for, yet equally disappointed that I did not plan for the time to explore Ireland while I was close by. I love the music, the dance, the food, the landscapes, the history, the language and the beautiful ginger-haired people. There are an estimated 80 million people who claim Irish ancestry; and I’m one of them. In fact my mother, Betty laird Cook traced our family tree back to the early 1700s, and supposedly there was a family that was known as the “Bushyheads”. They had thick, bright red hair and were Irish or Scot-Irish, so says my mom, Betty.
The beautiful country of Ireland – with a history of Ireland dating back as far as 6000BC – is still in the unchecked column of my personal “bucket list”. And YES I will be going there. FYI-it is a mere six hour flight from NYC. Just today, browsing the offers from my own travel agency and consortium, I see a whopping 61 Land tour offers and 116 cruise itineraries. The tour ratings range from Superior to Luxury (based on accommodations used and level of service provided). The adventures range from 3 nights to tours that last more than a month. You may travel Ireland specific or explore surrounding destinations while you’re at it. I highly suggest the latter, so you won’t have regret like I did twenty years ago. However, at this stage in my life-and already having been to England and Scotland-I would now wish to do at least a 10-12 day “best of Ireland” tour, which would include stays in some castles, a festival or two and at least one pub crawl.
Ireland has a mild, temperate climate with a mean annual temperature of around 50°F. Rain showers can occur at any time of the year. The southeast is the driest region, enjoying more sunny days than the rest of the country. The locals say it’s not unusual to experience four seasons in one day! During summer it stays light until as late as 11pm but by mid-December it can be dark by 4pm. Oh and for you young professionals out there – More that half the population of Ireland is under 30!
To shop some great current promos for Ireland go to:
Travel Center-Inspiration & Advice: http://www.travelsmith.com/TravelSmith/US/TravelCenter/guide-ireland/landing-path
Marianne Cook Windham
Windham Travel & Leisure