Sterling resident Karen O’Shields Douglas was able to travel to Ireland last year with her cousin, Susan Hazy. Karen said her great-grandparents came from Ireland and that she is 68% Irish! She really enjoyed her travels hitting many wonderful tourist spots: Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Killarney, Killarney National Park, Ring of Kerry, County Clare, Shannon, and the Cliffs of Moher. The ladies traveled on a chartered bus tour with 23, 55+ singles, and a few couples.
They saw so many wonderful things along the way that picking a favorite was hard. Kilkenny was a definite stand-out! Karen also enjoyed seeing the beautiful countryside. One of her favorite memories was the night three of the travelers attended a fundraiser at St.Canice's Cathedral in the city of Kilkenny to help sponsored families relocated to Ireland from Ukraine. St. Canice is Ireland’s best-preserved medieval Cathedral. It has looked the same for 800 years. Local singers entertained Karen, her friends, and other guests. She said the audience, people of all ages, were so respectful. Everyone sat quietly. During breaks, they pulled out their phones; however, when the next singer was ready to sing every phone disappeared. Karen said, “It was wonderful! One older gentleman sang, played guitar, and drank from his flask. The most special evening!”
Karen would recommend spending as much time as you can traveling in Ireland and staying more than one night in towns. Her recommendation is to rent a car or hire a driver and get off the main roads. Karen said having a Guinness and Irish coffee is a must! Her favorite dish was fish and chips at Kytelers Inn in Kilkenny, established in 1324. Even the local police eat there! They enjoyed using the smaller Shannon airport since it was easy to navigate. They also went in April when it was not crowded. Karen said the weather was great that time of year: only needed layers and a warm jacket at the Cliffs of Moher.
Karen would definitely recommend visiting Ireland. She said they are the nicest people she has ever met, so witty and warm! Ireland has such beautiful green countryside, farm-to-table restaurants, and so much history. She would like to spend several months a year there.