The 148th Open is in full swing at Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. From just across the Pond, in Florida, my heart swells as I watch the television coverage span the surrounding countryside highlighting landmarks I have just experienced with Wild West Irish Tours. Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Causeway Coastal Route flood my memories. And that was just the last day of our Wild Atlantic Way Tour!
Eight days earlier, our tour began with castles, fairy trails, folk villages, hiking the Burren, and a hearty dose of craic! The next day our travels took us on the Wild Atlantic Way, which was a personal dream of mine. I am a lover of great roads. That day my dream unfolded in front of me as we passed lighthouses, wild rock formations, and gorgeous strands! Not only did we get to gaze at the Atlantic Ocean from a different point of view, we got to motor across it to the breathtaking Aran Islands. I attended an outdoor Mass said in Gaelic on an island off the coast of Ireland. I had to pinch myself! The Cliffs of Moher awaited our return, as did a few pints.
County Sligo delivered Yeats, Ashleigh Falls, Killary Fjord, Doolough Pass, and Croagh Patrick where I got to witness young girls in their riding gear riding their Connemara Ponies. What a simple unexpected delight in the presence of greatness! Powerful stories accompanied ancient ruins, tombs and monuments. We met a dog, a river, and a myth, all named Finn. Waterfalls, wildflowers, patchwork farmland, craggy cliffs, winding roads comprised the next few days. I remember looking at a map while researching, and pointing to a dot called Malin Head vowing that I would get there someday.
Dreams DO come true! It was dramatic and exciting. The waters and the wild had stolen my breath and heart!