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Continuing a Family Dream

July 16, 2009

Jeff Coyle shares his very special trip to Ireland.

Jeff Coyle shares his very special trip to Ireland.

A special thanks to Jeff Coyle from Arcanum, OH, for sharing this story about his visit to Ireland.

Jeff says… My Mother passed on 3 years ago. At that time, I vowed to pick up the family genealogy trail she had been traveling on for years. It was always important to her and has since become a passion of mine. The gap between her research and mine is nothing more than a large ocean called the Atlantic.  Our families came to America from Ireland early in the 18th century.

Last year my wife and I planned a journey to Ireland. There was so much anticipation and excitement. I planned as though this would be my one and only chance to visit my ancestor’s homeland. I visited every possible website relating to Ireland. I learned a little Gaelic. I listened to several podcasts on iTunes, where I found the Irish Fireside. Corey and Liam shared their experiences with Ireland, the people, and their friends and family. Stories and lessons learned from the Irish Fireside proved to be very valuable to me.

At last we left Boston in route to Shannon.  In the 5th hour of the 6 hour flight, I began to rifle through all of my preparation papers dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s. Soon the pilot made the announcement that we would soon be landing in Shannon.  Within minutes, the plane descended until a graceful landing. When I stepped out of the plane, a feeling came over me that I still have difficulty explaining. I had goose bumps, felt weak, and began to silently weep. My wife was concerned, asking what was the matter. At first it wasn’t very clear even to me. Then I realized, I was fulfilling my Mother’s dream.

My planned journey to Ireland quickly changed. Instead of roaming about to mark off destinations on a list, I traveled the way my Mother did through life. I took my time and made it count for something. I made friends and learned about the people. I visited several towns including, Galway, Dingle, Kinsale, Cork, and Dublin. Ireland is more than a collection of counties or cities. It is a collection of wonderful people and a magical culture. A trip to Ireland is like closing your eyes and introducing the mind to the soul. This trip will not be my last…

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    July 16, 2009 3:15 PM


    A wonderful story, thanks for sharing!

    There is something almost undescribeable about stepping onto Irish soil for the first time. I too, felt the eyes well up when I did it back in 1988.

    The best way I can say it, is to relate something that was said to me by the first Irishman I met in Ireland. We landed, got the rental car (not counting this as a “meeting”, it was rather business-like and formal) and went on to our B&B near Ennis. I went to knock at the front door and before I could reach it, a gentleman with a shock of white hair opened it. He looked me up and down and said “So, you’re the American then?” I told him I was, having no idea how he knew. That’s when he said the two words that will always be Ireland to me:

    “Welcome Home”

  2. Laury Leeds via Facebook permalink
    July 16, 2009 7:14 PM

    Lovely Story, Jeff. Mom would be happy you continued down her trail.

  3. Sue Freeman permalink
    July 16, 2009 8:27 PM

    Amen! A part of you does recognize that you have come home, and what a wonderful, glory filled place it is …. my idea of my heaven on earth!

  4. Carla permalink
    July 17, 2009 8:17 AM

    A very nice story, Jeff. The pic of you above is taken in Dingle, no? I recongize the shops and the hillside above the town!

    You said, “This trip will not be my last….” I’ve discovered that that goes without saying. 🙂

  5. July 17, 2009 9:04 AM

    Good eye! Yea, I’m actually just outside the entrance to the Post in Dingle Town.

  6. July 18, 2009 9:33 AM

    a fine story, thanks for sharing it with us.
    Are you familiar with a song Cathie Ryan wrote called I’m Going Back? I think you might enjoy it.

  7. Amanda permalink
    July 18, 2009 11:39 PM

    That’s a lovely story Jeff! I am always quite jealous of those who can claim irish ancestry; I feel like my soul is irish, even if my genes are not, I just have this pull to Ireland, an ache to call it home, that simply is not rational. Though we have not traveled to Ireland yet (our trip has been postponed twice now, due to things well beyond my control – like a new baby), I haven’t managed to explain to my husband that one visit will be enough for me, but am just trusting that once we are there he will fall in love with the country as well! I hope you can return often!

  8. July 20, 2009 6:26 AM

    @Kerry Dexter –Thank you

    “Im going back” by Cathie Ryan really is a great song.
    I found it on youtube..

  9. July 20, 2009 8:37 AM

    glad you like the song. I don’t know the person who made the video, but I took a couple of the photographs used in it…

  10. Liam permalink
    July 21, 2009 5:48 AM

    Hey Jeff,

    Beautiful story….I loved when you said “I traveled the way my Mother did through life. I took my time and made it count for something. I made friends and learned about the people. It was a great complement to your Mother and these words are very true.

    Too many travelers to Ireland do the Green Blur tour… paced with the intentions of seeing everything on this one trip……Ireland yes, has beautiful scenery, lovely rivers and great pubs etc…..but going to Ireland is about coming home….. meeting the people and completing the cirlcle. The circle that was started by the ones from your past who left Ireland….and really knowing that you are “Welcomed Home”!…..


  11. July 23, 2009 3:47 PM


    Maith Thu’! Well done.

    That feeling that you had on arriving in Shannon is similiar to the flashback feelings that I have each time I land on Irish Soil. I have been 9 times and the intensity of those first few moments “home” has never lessened.

    I too loved the descriptive ” I traveled the way my Mother traveled through life…” comment. What an extraordinary tribute to your Mom and your heritage.

    As Liam said, a journey to Ireland is circular. You bring with you the whispers of your ancestors and the take away the chorus of new friends.

    Slan Beo (Take Care), Bit

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