Ireland Forever

As I try to wrap up my thoughts, I realize there is so much more I can write about. For brevity sake, I will encourage anyone who reads this to visit Ireland and discover her many wonders. And I would direct you to the poetry of W.B. Yeats, the writings of John O’Donoghue, and the music of Christy Moore and Seán Tyrrell, just to name a few.

The last stops of our tour end in Galway and Dublin ~ urban, sophisticated, yet with a lyrical ambience. How serendipitous that we should be in Dublin for the misty full moon of autumn equinox, and the following day, September 23, 17:49 to raise a toast to Arthur on International Toast Arthur Day! For those of you who don’t know about Arthur Guinness, he is a revered man who founded his brewery in Dublin in 1749. He provided us with plenty of refreshment during our pilgrimage.

I write this last blog in the wake of Black Thursday, September 30, which feels all the more devastating after seeing Seán O’Casey’s play, The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre. Such a tumultuous history! But I leave with a bright vision for Ireland from atop the Hill of Tara; panoramic vistas, as far as the eye can see, and feeling the surge of energy coursing through the land as I joined hands with my roommate, Susan. This is a country that is no stranger to adversity, yet survives with a strong spirit.

At our farewell banquet, a final feast after days of consistently excellent meals, my fellow pilgrims and I are filled with gratitude – For Helen, who organized all the logistics and attended to every important detail. For our attentive driver Gregory, who took care of us with his unfailing hospitality and good cheer. For the great chemistry of our group; all of us undoubtedly have been changed by this experience. We are anam cara. For our extraordinary leader, Phil, who brought us soulful magic, mystery, literature, and music. And for all the people we met along the way who touched our lives.

What a blessing this pilgrimage has been. We can create our own Book of Kells with these rich memories and new understandings of the understory that is Ireland.

Suaimhneas (deep peace),
Joan Ishibashi