Friday, November 10, 2017 – If you are going to try to golf….It might as well be in Ireland!
Back in April 2017, my friend, Liz, invited about 30 friends and family to go to Ireland for her 50th birthday! What a blessing that I was one of them. She had been talking about it for about a year or so, and had been working with a few people in Ireland to put together a fantasy vacation for all of us. Of course, Vinnie and I said YES!! And so did 26 others!
As the date of Nov. 3 came closer, update emails from Liz came. She let us know where and when we would be landing. She let us know who would be picking us up, taking us to the first hotel in Dublin, and about dinner and a show that first night there!
Once we were there, Liz let us know about the Hop On Hop Off bus, Trinity College Tours, and the tours her sister had arranged for at the Guinness Factory (Absolutely amazing!) She let us know what time to meet for the bus that would take us to Ennis for the next 5 days. She let us know that the driver would take us past a famous castle and to Blarney Castle to kiss the stone!
That evening, once we were in Ennis, we all met in the pub at the Temple Hotel to talk about the many options of things to do and see from there. Leslie, Scott, Lisa, Rich, and Vinnie and I were set on visiting mom’s childhood town of Glin located on the other side of the Shannon River. We hired a driver and off we went. We took the ferry across and drove on winding roads. In Glin, we visited her church, saw a few side streets, took pictures of the castle from a distance away and then stopped at a pub and met a few guys who knew connections to my mom a generation or two back! With mom on the phone we pieced together a few of those connections and then off we went to Julia Adams’ home. She and her daughter filled our hearts and bellies with hospitality in a moment’s notice. What a beautiful afternoon we had with Julia, her daughter, and two sons. I was so grateful that it was only Tuesday and and we had accomplished the visit to Glin!
On Wednesday came the Cliffs of Moher! Why this place is not on the list of Natural Wonders is beyond me! Absolutely gorgeous until the fog rolled in and the cliffs disappeared. It didn’t matter to us though, we were on our way to Gus O’Connor’s pub in Doolin! Liz’s fantasy retirement spot…..and a place with great food, beautiful people and a pub full of Liz’s friends and family for her birthday……and a surprise cake!!!!
By Thursday, it was time to shop and enjoy Ennis. Some of us decided to shop while others decided to get tatoos!! Leslie and I got the Celtic symbol of Love (trinity and heart) as “sister tatoos”….Lisa bought the Celtic trinity necklace for her symbol of Love for us!! Kind of a special time for all of us to be in Ireland together!
Friday had arrived and Liz had the list of folks who had said YES to Golf vs. Shopping in Galway! The two groups boarded two separate buses and headed out in two different directions. I was on the first list. After all, if you are going to play golf for the first time in your life, you might as well play it in Ireland with people you love!
Our bus pulled up and we figured out the club situation. Three foursomes approached the first hole and we tossed around the jokes about “addressing the ball” and the rules for playing “best ball”. That is when Jim surprised Liz with a “gift” that brought us to tears. Jim had brought some of Liz’s Dad’s ashes to be spread onto the golf course in Ireland as we overlooked the ocean. Of all the people in Liz’s world who were laughing, drinking, and enjoying the week in Ireland, the one who was so obviously missing was her Dad; Liz’s silent and ever-present companion. Jim’s moment of raising his arm and releasing the ashes into the breeze reminded us all that Don Reid’s spirit was very present on this trip. It was such an emotional moment of tears and love to kick off the golf outing. I felt so blessed to be a part of that very special moment in time. I was so happy I said YES to golf instead of shopping in Galway. Galway will be there should I every go back to shop, but in reality Don Reid, and Liz’s love for him, will also always be present on that golf course in Ireland.
My first golf outing was so special for so many love-filled reasons!
Thank you, Liz….for inviting us all to your party in Ireland. I would have never wanted to have missed it!