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Vena McGrath

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Member Since: Feb, 2004

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Ireland = Dream Holiday - Go or Don't Go?
Friday, June 16, 2006  4:45:00 AM

by Vena McGrath

A long awaited dream trip is now within my sights. Alas,some fear creeps in and sets the mind thinking seriously about whether to go or not.

The news below I wrote some weeks ago and now we are only one week away from flying out.  Last week's turmoil in the UK that spread around the globe, put the wind up both my cousin and me.  We spoke on the phone last Thursday night after I had spent a couple of hours watching the news on the BBC.  We were both nervous about continuing with our plans and both expressed the view that perhaps we should reconsider.

I contacted the travel agent and found that it would most likely cost us in the vicinity of $1,000AU each to change our plans or postpone them.  Seemed like a waste of money, however it's an option to consider as money is just that, life once gone can't be replaced.  The agent told me that no one he had booked trips for had cancelled and that he himself was flying out before we leave for Italy. 

That doesn't really impress me much as a lot of people fly in the face of danger.  I only have to think about Bali and how people in Australia were adamant that terrorists were not going to stop them going to Bali for their holidays.  And once again, many Aussies lost their lives in horrific circumstances. 

My mind has settled a bit although the danger still exists and probably in this world, always will.  Flying is a gamble and so is driving to work or the shops, or walking along the footpath, or even watching tv at home and being attacked by thieves and murderers.

My cousin and I spoke again last night and decided that we would continue with our plans, unless something happens within the week that changes the situation.  I am not keen on flying at anytime but it is the only way to go anywhere quickly.  If you are going overseas and you aren't a millionaire, then there is no other option.

I hope to have some interesting notes to write when I come back home.  As I can't take my laptop because I have no intention of stowing it in my bag to go in the luggage zoo and probably be destroyed, all notes will be in longhand until I return home.  I am not looking forward to long flights without a book to read or writing material, so I hope by the time we go these simple pleasures will be either okay to take on board, or will be provided by the airlines.

I will, at the very least, be able to give a first-hand report on what it is like to travel around the globe in the latter half of 2006.

Until then, take care.

Vena - 13 August 2006




In 2003 I planned to travel, but not until the following year.  I was working on my manuscript and it took priority over most things at that time.  Ireland was a place I longed to visit, but I knew when the time was right I would know.

2004 arrived and my cousin in Queensland and I began planning a trip, beginning in June 2004 and continuing for about 8 weeks.  We planned to do an around-the-world trip, flying to Europe, the USA and Canada.  My one aim was to visit Ireland, the rest of the trip I decided was worth the effort and I might as well enjoy the time away with visits to different countries.  We planned to visit England for perhaps a week, Ireland for a number of weeks, Switzerland, Canada and  numerous flights around the USA.  I wanted to see the ice carvings in Switzerland, they are so beautiful in pictures.

When I wrote to my publisher about my plans, I was advised it wasn't a good time to go away as my manuscript was, by this time, heading for the printer in a matter of weeks.  My cousin had done a lot of work getting together an itinerary for our trip and I had to give her the bad news.  She wasn't impressed although we both agreed it was best I stay put and the trip could happen later in the year.

Later in the year saw me still waiting to go to print.  The trip plans were put on hold indefinitely.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have gone away and made the trip my priority.  However I am a believer in all things happening for a reason and there being a reason for almost everything.  My cousin gave up on the trip eventually and during 2005 we didn't discuss it.

2005 was not a good year.  The book was published and I expended a lot of $'s on the project with really no return.  I learned a lot during those 2 years and vowed never to repeat the same mistakes again.  I couldn't afford the two month trip anymore, the money had gone into the book.  I might as well have just had a bonfire, but then that's not really being fair on myself, as I experienced a lot during those years and had one heck of an adventure.  If I had gone overseas and spent the same amount - $30K plus - on a two month trip, I would have only had memories and photos.  As it was I had 2 years of memories, good and bad.  No comparison really.

Early this year I decided it was time to go overseas.  I spoke to my cousin who was planning to go to the USA with a friend.  However she did give me a slight ray of possibility that our trip, somewhat shorter and less expensive, may still happen, depending on what happened with the other plans.  A month or so later I again broached the subject and we made a pact to go on our trip.  This time I was the one to make all the arrangements as my cousin wasn't taking any chances by doing all the work again and having me opt out at the last moment. 

I found a travel agency not far from home, visited, and set the wheels in motion.  Our flights are all confirmed and our accommodation is the only part of the trip we still have to pay for.  Now my cousin can rest easy knowing that I do fully intend on being at Sydney airport the third week in August to fly out with her.

Our first stop is Bangkok for 2 nights.  I didn't want to fly to London in one hit so Bangkok was the place I chose to stop off, seeing as how I've been to Singapore and couldn't think of a single reason to go back there.  We fly from Bangkok to London where we are staying 2 nights (I've read that Van Morrison has a concert in London while we are there;  hope we can get tickets), then we fly to Dublin for 4 nights.  I've booked us a car for 7 days/nights so we can tour around Ireland at our own speed, staying wherever we choose to stay and visiting whatever we choose to visit.

This is the part of the trip I am truly looking forward to.  Dublin, where our great great paternal grandies were born and lived.  Tipperary where our great grandfather was born, and all the McGrath castles I've read about.  As for kissing the Blarney Stone, I think I will give that a miss :)  I'm excited at the prospect of visiting the pubs, taking in the local atmosphere and the music, oh the music, tis oh so sweet.  I have only one thing in mind that I want to buy myself in Ireland and that's a silver claddagh ring.  I have a gold one, but it's not the same, although it's special because my partner gave it to me a couple of Valentine's Days ago. 

One more night in Dublin and then we fly to New York via Frankfurt (2 hours stopover) for 4 nights and then San Francisco for 2 nights before flying home again.  26 days away I imagine will fly (scuse the pun).  The weeks are flying by (woops) and I'm excited and a bit nervous.  So that's my news :)  Take care.

Vena McGrath


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