'It’s the little things that happened quite spontaneously and unexpectedly that made this trip so special.'
By Marie Evans, Decatur TX
If you enjoy riding on a large bus with a huge group of people you don’t know, this tour isn’t for you. If you are a control freak and need to have a set schedule for each and every day, this tour isn’t for you. If you can’t just let go when you arrive in Dublin and live in the moment, this tour isn’t for you.
Above, Wild Westies, left to right: Marie, Pat, Teresa, Rick, Maureen, Jeff
From the moment we were picked up till we said our goodbyes, Michael and his guides had lots of “great things in simple places." He was always tuned into our conversations – watch what you say – you may just do it the next day! He has a wealth of connections with fascinating people who love their Ireland and love showing it off.
From the start we had seven of us scheduled for our trip – unfortunately, health concerns of family members of some of our travelers resulted in cancellations. These travelers were treated with compassion and fairly – one of the travelers ended up going anyway and they accommodated adding her to the group six weeks before the trip! I’m not sure a large tour company would have allowed changes so close to departure.
We had a bluegrass musician and bluegrass music lovers in our group – from the first evening, we were immersed in the music of Sligo County – often times, Jeff was invited to join along, and oh, the fun, impromptu music hour in a pub attached to a convenience store we stopped at to get a quick ice cream before heading to our B&B for the night!
Having a session with Cathy Jordan of Dervish in this 400-year-old pub!
My sister and brother-in-law had planned a 25th anniversary trip to Ireland – because of both my parents’ diagnosis of cancer within months of each other and Jeff’s mother’s failing health, they put the trip on hold. Not long after we all made the commitment to go on our trip, Maureen was diagnosed with breast cancer – whew – what a blow. But she swears the anticipation of the trip is what got her through surgeries and treatment… She was bound and determined to join us. I sent Michael a quick note about this shortly before our trip and asked if we could plan a special dinner at a nice restaurant one evening … He went beyond that! We had our own, private Cathy Jordan concert at Ellen’s Pub with her merry band of minstrels … and, Jeff was invited to play with them – they wanted to hear his Bluegrass music! We celebrated their 25th, 26th and 27th anniversaries all in the same evening -- we even had cake!
I don’t know if there are enough ways to thank Michael and Trish for our experience on our Wild West Tour, July, 2014. Our B&B on the Atlantic coast was so comforting and welcoming in the evenings after a long day – Mary even stood ready with glasses one evening when she saw us walking in with a bottle of wine! It’s the little things that happened quite spontaneously and unexpectedly that made this trip so special.
I’ll be back – quite possibly, the entire group will go again together to experience the new GoClareGalMayo tour – it’s where my ancestors are from and I’d love to go back to my roots. If you can let go in Dublin and trust someone else to take over your life for 10 days – book a tour. You surely won’t regret it.
Cathy Jordan of Dervish performing with Jeff on his WWIT!