Virgin Airlines, simply the best airline ever. They made me feel like a child whom has a mommy to care for her and tuck her in. I was given a bag after a scrumptious supper of prime rib and potatoes, salad and a soft roll and green beans with slivered almonds. Then the little pouch came as they were slightly dimming the lights and announcing that they would be coming around with this goody bag, which held an eye mask, an itty, bitty tube of Colgate, complete with an itty bitty tooth-brush. A pair of red sock booties with the Virgin logo, and a tube of lovely scented cream. We were then told as we looked out at the frosty sky through a snowflake covered window, that someone would be coming around with blankets and a warm cookie or pudding; your choice. After our desert they dimmed the lights some more and you could sleep the night away, or watch a TV show on the screen embedded in the back of your seat, or indulge in a nice chick flick that your hubby wouldn't be caught dead watching at home. 'Under The Tuscan Sun' - here I come again!
2. Ireland. Cairde. (Friend). Meeting Sue Booth-Forbes who was to be my hostess and become my friend over the next month. She is so special that it would be hard to put into words how much I grew to love her whilst in Ireland. She is the heart and soul of Anam Cara, the Artist's and Writer's retreat at which I resided. Everything she cooks goes down like cream, electrifies the tastebuds, and again, makes you feel that you have someone who cares for you. She can also dole out much needed advice and have intelligent, stimulating conversation regarding absolutely anything.
3. Ireland. The long and winding roads that lead from nowhere to somewhere. Hardly a soul to be seen except when you do pass one, you are assured of a conversation full of blarney, information you will surely need during your stay, where the best pubs are and probably an invite in for tea!
4. A feisty little dog named Jack Russell Spunky Sparky Booth-Forbes, whom loves nothing more than to travel the roads, scratch up dirt in with more machismo than your most La-te-da, latin dancer, and he can show you all the best paths in town. Not only that, he greatly appreciates each and every walk about.
5. Ireland. The rows of wild gorse, the calm of the sea, the distant farm houses all painted in creamy, buttery colors. The patchwork of the Irish land and the ever changing Irish sky. The idyllic view from my bedroom window.
"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
6. Ireland. Jesus himself. He lives there. He really does, I saw him with my very own eyes and felt him deep inside my heart.
Sometimes God calms the storm...sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.
7. Ireland. Anam Chara. (Soul Mate). Anam Cara. This is where I came to retreat, to read and write, and rest and paint. To garner material to stimulate my mind and my senses. To take lazy non guilty naps and long, quiet walks with Jack. I was made to feel like my art counted, I have talent. I learned to water paint from Maine Artist, Evelyn Dunphy. Evelyn is one of the best teachers and most stimulating artists anywhere in the world. She gave me the inspiration to paint with Veredian and Sap green and Phthalo. To make magic with Yellow Ochre, Lavender and Ultramarine. Where Raw Umber and Cerulean Blue make the sky and the falls come vibrantly alive in your mind and your heart and spill out onto your paper. Evelyn made all the colors come alive! She taught me to paint with no fear! And we laughed. We all laughed for hours with the mirth of stimulating conversation, silly situations, and good food and wine!
8. Ireland. Eyeries, Cork, Ireland, in the Beara Penninsula. The little town which was voted, Tidiest town in Ireland. Where every house is painted a different creamy, dreamy, bright color which you don't know whether to gaze at, or to eat! Where there is a church, a pub or two and a grocery and post office, and where the motto is, if you can't find it here, you don't need it.
9. Ireland. Isn't it obvious? Quintensential Ireland. It's the real deal.
10. Ireland. The Cascades at Anam Cara. A magnificent, raging, waterfall. Flowing over huge lichen and moss covered boulders from mountain inlets and the river above. An experience to cry for, as you rage at injustice and perhaps the pain of your past. A place to rest in the unfiltered beauty which by vision and sound alone will blow you away. A retreat to think thoughts which stimulate your mind to write the book or the poem that lives within you, which you find suddenly you can put into words. I could feel my heart beating in my chest, because sometimes you might come to this place because your heart has found a crack. This is a sanctuary to rest and release all the pain. This heaven on earth exists for many things, but for me it exists for hope lost, hope searched for, and hope found.
"Yesterday, the sea shone like a mirror, and today it shines like a mirror... it has been years since I have known such peace, twenty years, perhaps thirty years, possibly in an earlier life."
11. Ireland. The geese which I could never remember to call geese, instead calling them ducks, which became a standing joke. The chickens whom eggs I gathered every day for breakfast and to use in cake for desert. I was a gentlewoman farmer for a month and I do miss it so.
12. Ireland. Ancient ruins ever still standing, tall and proud. Wondrous tales of their beginnings. You would never be able to count them all, or the pride of the Irish as they tell their lyrical histories.
"Like the wind, grace finds us wherever we are and won't leave us however we were found."
IRELAND, I found my grace there.
My wish is that you too, experience Ireland someday.