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Published: December 26th 2019
We meet most of our group at breakfast. Some are heading home, some moving on to other destinations. Naturally, this is a bittersweet occasion. We experience the usual contradictory feelings that well up at the end of a long tour; we are sad that the trip is suddenly over but looking forward to returning home. The hardest part is saying good-bye to a group of friends that we will likely not see again. We have been privileged to enjoy the company of these wonderful people.
And, after goodbyes to our mates and to Tony, we're off to the airport. Naturally, my plan is to take some Irish spirits home. The airport duty-free has an immense collection and I'm not sure how to approach the choice. Luckily, a young lady takes an interest in me and offers me numerous samples. I decide that I will pick the whisky that I like the best without looking at the bottle or the price. The winner is called The Irishman. Its full flavour knocks my socks off.
Uneventful if long trip home. Overall, this trip has been a terrific experience. We were treated extremely well by Royal Irish Tours. Huge kudos to Tony, who kept the tour constantly interesting and on track while putting up with a somewhat rambunctious gang of Canadians.
The standard question of “What were the highlights?” is difficult to answer. I definitely would like to spend more time in Dublin, as we barely scratched the surface of what this city has to offer. I am pleased to have spent a fair bit of time in Belfast, where I believe I gained some insight and understanding of the island’s turbulent past—and present. The various seascapes we visited, especially the Cliffs of Moher, have to be singled out for mention. Because I am a lover of old things and ruins, the fantastic castles were a major highlight, including Ross, Blarney and Cahir. Among the numerous charming towns we visited, I have to say that the one I enjoyed the most was Kilkenny. Its friendly vibe and incredible buildings will live forever in my mind.
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