While I was taking a break from being online I was with my Mom touring England, Scotland, and Ireland, fulfilling both our dreams in visiting the land of our ancestors. We went with a tour so everything was mapped out for us, didn't have to worry about driving, and met many new friends.
It was so beautiful!
On September 22 we flew out of Salt Lake and landed in London on the 23rd, spending a couple days there. Then we inched up to Scotland visiting Oxford, Bampton, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stratford-Upon-Avon for the night, Audlem, Chester, York, Lake District, Edinburgh, Glamis Castle, St. Andrews, then over to Dublin, Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Avoca, Rock of Cashel, Blarney and its stone (Yes, I kissed it), Killarney, Inch beach, Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle, Ross Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle, and then finished by staying at Dromoland Castle.
Needless to say I wanted to be completely in the moment. With the international cell phone plan I was on I was limited to 800 mb in data and wanted to dedicate that to texting, google maps, and the (okay, I'm admitting it) occasional popping onto Pokemon Go to catch international Pokemon.
Got Mr. Mime.
A couple times I hopped onto Facebook out of habit and quickly got off, though one of the times I read something my sister-in-law wrote about one of my nieces, so I don't regret that because it was quite funny. But beyond that I really avoided Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and it was a strange, but nice experience. I also completely disconnected myself from the news.
I was so disconnected that I thought LDS General Conference was a week later then it was, so when I was at Dromoland castle using their really good wifi, I was really confused when I found all the talks already on the gospel library app. I NEVER forget general conference, so that proved how out of touch I was to not even be aware.
I'm really excited to be blogging about the stuff I learned and all the fun adventures in coming months. I took 4,215 pictures, and my Mom took just over 8,000 pictures. A lot to download and go through! 0_0 But I'm already ready to relive it all.
Before going on the trip I wondered what place I would feel "at home" in. For instance, I loved visiting France last year, but it didn't feel like home, just a fun place I visited and would like to travel to again. Tokyo, on the other hand, felt like home. I left a part of my heart there. Between England, Scotland, and Ireland I found my heart in Ireland. I loved all three places, would love to spend a week in the Lake District being by the water and explore other places more thoroughly, but Ireland felt like home. If I was ever able to return, positive thinking, I would like to visit Wales as well, as I have genealogical roots there as well.
Maybe I feel connected to Ireland because I'm studying Gaeilge.
In terms of inherited DNA I'm 23% Ireland and 70% Great Britain, so more G.B. (Fun fact, I stated inherited because the genes we get vs our ancestral tree is not the same. My Grandma is 5% Western European, her brother, my great uncle, is 62% Western European. I'm less than 1%. My maternal great-grandparents must have had a lot of Western European, and in just 4 generations I won't pass any of that along. But I've still got my Celtic roots!)
(Grandma vs Great Uncle Allen DNA results)
(Why it's good for siblings to get tested, because we all inherit different things, and then pass on different things. Doesn't fully represent our roots, just what's been inherited.
Man, wish I could have seen what my Granny and Gramps results would have been!!)
In terms of feeling a connection to Ireland, maybe a part of that is because our trip up through the U.K. felt more rushed, like a highlight trip, whereas by the time we got to Ireland the jet lag wasn't so bad and we had more time to explore certain places.
But I also feel really connected to my Mahoney line, out of all my lines, though I also feel really connected to my emigrant Robertson ancestor.
James Bell Robertson, who came over just before the Civil War, fought for the Union, and was at Gettysburg.
(In the coat of arms Blue represents loyalty and truth, Red is the "Martyr's color" signifying military fortitude and magnanimity, yellow represents generosity, chevron repents protection, Lion = deathless courage, and snake = wisdom. From Irish Surnames.)
But the Mahoney (O'Mahony) coat of arms is the best! Ah man, I love it. I wish my Mahoney line didn't dead-end in Newfoundland. A fire destroyed important key documents. But according to this document the O'Mahony's is apart of a royal Celtic dynasty who built 14 defense castles in the Southern part of Cork next to the sea. How cool is that!!?? It would be neat to be descended from Celtic royalty. Maybe that's why I'm feeling drawn to the Irish Gaelic language? I also have O'Niel (O'Niell), which I guess goes back to the High King of Ireland in the 5th century. Cool stuff!
So a trip of a lifetime, and I enjoyed every moment.
And the weather was surprisingly amazing!!!