Wild West Irish Tours owners Michael Regan-Waugh and Trish O'Donnell Jenkins are delighted to get some feedback from Maureen Kelley-Olson, the winner of the "The Wild West of Ireland: You Won't Forget Your First Time" contest. Maureen won a free trip for two after her essay was selected as the most compelling submitted to a panel of judges. Maureen finished her tour November 1st. Here is what she shared with us about her experience:
"I cannot believe my good fortune in winning the contest. I am very grateful to Michael Regan-Waugh and Trish O’Donnell-Jenkins for fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was very small. They tailored the tour to my interests, and to the varied interests of the other members of our tour – an added bonus. Wild West Irish Tours is not just a tour company, but a small group of people in the business of fulfilling dreams.
"The Sligo Valley, seacoast and Dartry Mountains are a place of unbelievable beauty, and remarkably untouched. The second day of the tour, as I sat on an island looking out over Sligo Bay, I filled up with tears at the sheer joy of it. I was 'home' in the Ireland of my ancestors and the great grandmother I remember well. Wild West Irish Tours brought me there and showed me the land that was in my blood – Ireland from before the dawn of history, the Ireland of myth and legend, Ireland as it was at the time America was still being explored, the Ireland of 1916. Each day of the tour was a wonderful surprise, and there were a wealth of little twists and stories from the people we met to bring it all alive.
"We were a small group, and that made the trip. It was cozy and comfortable and personal. It brought us into companionship with the Irish people we met and the other members of the tour. It was truly a shared experience. Staying at a 4-Star B&B was at once living in luxurious comfort and being treated as valued friends and neighbors. It was light and airy by day, and snug and cozy at night. Geraldine and Michael Gibbons (our B&B hosts), Michael and Trish, and the guides at Wild West Irish Tours could not have made us any more comfortable. Our tour 'coach' was a roomy and comfortable van, with wonderful visibility for all the marvelous sights, and I will never forget the people that I met.
"Thank you to Gerry Regan and The Wild Geese for having a platform to have this wonderful contest in the first place. Thank you also to WOW Airlines for the trip over and back.
"I will never forget my first time in Ireland!"