I don’t remember what I said, only that I said it loud and with more rage than a pissed-off Hulk.
My words and my tone scared my daughters who sat innocently in the backseat. Later that night, after tearful apologies to them, I feared my marriage may have unraveled on the winding country roads of County Clare. I offered to leave, to fly home early and alone so that my family could enjoy the remainder of the days on our U.K. trip.
In short, our first visit to Ireland was a hotter mess than a plate of Irish potatoes.
That was summer 2016.
We cobbled together leftovers and trudged on, having a fine enough time through England and Wales before heading home but the unresolved nature of what went down on Irish soil haunted me.
In the fall of 2017, we had the idea to return to Ireland. I pitched it as a plan to do it better, and to be better while doing it.
And in doing all that, we found family travel perfection during a long week over Thanksgiving break, but specifically, during 3 nights at the best Airbnb in Ireland.
The rest of this story from here is a republishing of what I wrote in the weeks following our 2nd and better visit to Ireland.
Cottage Retreat Perfect in County Clare
The Meelick House, an elegantly rustic stone coach rental home set on a rural patch of electric green grass, had come to represent such…let’s call it a kind of cognitive dissonance in our lives. This was a fact in need of mending; a careful stitching up of our fabric torn during a tumultuous five days spent in Ireland during the summer of ’16.
On this occasion, during Thanksgiving week ’17, we ended up across the atlantic again, purposefully, but this time only after having completed our explorations in, and of, Kilkenny, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Limerick, Ennis and Galway.
The pacing along the way allowed for restful breaths; the three days back at Meelick, a full exhale.
This is what we longed for, this time together in the house, in the most perfect airbnb rental we have ever known; time to venture outside gloved and mittened, bundled in hoodies and rain slickers. Staying exclusively on foot, we headed no farther than the stretch of undulating country road beyond the cream colored pillars and propped open metal gates. A linear patch of perpetually damp grass sat sandwiched between the spaces where tires crunch stone, beneath a thick canopy of autumn in the Irish countryside.
Oranges against greens with puffs of cloud peeking through when the breeze happened to blow correctly, which it did repeatedly for three perfect days; the flag as nature provides it.
The Path to Redemption
I pulled our black Audi up to the pale yellow main house, where ivy serpentines up its walls, parking as to face our cottage. It would sit there undriven, for the duration of a dreamy Ireland holiday vacation.
Before the engine rumbled to a stop, the two doggies, Arthur Guinness and Bailey, one vanilla, the other a stout, were alongside and leaping, wanting licks of two girls’ faces. Two girls who, for the last 15 months, have been waiting to be leapt upon and licked by a pair of rough Irish doggie tongues.
It’s them, those two girls and those two dogs, who made our perfect decision to stay put; who gifted us a perfect Ireland holiday; who righted the wrong; who mended whole cloth to its original sheen.