Friday, 12 April 2013

Begorrah, begosh and be-50!!!!

Two years ago, when I was approaching my 49th birthday, I found myself planning a quiet celebration alone.  My husband was away for seven weeks, my family all live on the West Coast, while we’re on the East, having been posted here since 2010 (such is Military life!).  One of my best friends was to come and visit, but not until the week after my birthday.  It was all pretty low-key, which was actually fine at the time.

The next one was not to pass so quietly however; a sentiment that I probably passed on to Hubby on the phone, although I don’t remember doing so.  When he returned home though, at the end of June, one of the first things he wanted to talk about was how we were to celebrate my 50th.  He’d had some time to think about it, and had a brilliant idea.  Why not go to Ireland to celebrate?  WHAT?!?

No, wait!  Actually that was a brilliant idea.  I’m half Irish and despite the fact that I grew up ‘next door’ in England, I had never been to Ireland.  I loved the idea, and after having a look at the budget, given that we had almost a year to add to our savings, decided that it was a go.

We invited family to join us; I even invited some of my friends.  We knew that most would not be able to, but I wanted them all to feel as though they were part of the celebration and that we wanted them to be there.  As it turned out, my sister-in-law Dianne and her husband did decide to come along.  As well, one of my oldest friends, from my school days in Somerset, said that she would be there, at least for the Dublin part.

I was so excited I could hardly stand it as this shaped up to become the trip of a lifetime!  We went for two weeks in total – nowhere near enough time to do Ireland justice.  We gave it our best shot however, spending five days in Dublin, five days in Co. Kerry and three days in Trim.  We did cathedrals and castles and breweries (Guinness!), oh my!  We saw ancient forts and monasteries including a scary-ass trip to Skellig Michael (see picture), beautiful scenery and quaint towns as we drove the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. 
Cliffs of Moher

Halfway up Skellig Michael

We kissed the Blarney Stone, visited the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Geo-Park, and spent time in an ancient burial tomb that pre-dates the pyramids at Bru na Boinne.  We did all this and still found time to eat, drink and be merry (got Dianne hooked on Lager and Black, a unique concoction from my misspent youth!), visiting with my dear friend and celebrating two other birthdays while we were there.
Bru Na Boinne
Dianne's initiation!

If you’ve heard that the Irish are friendly, believe it.  Everyone we met had time to share a welcome and a joke, some helpful advice or information on their long, often tragic, history.  If you’ve heard that Ireland is beautiful, believe it.  We took well over a thousand pictures, just between two of us, of scenery so stunning it almost hurt to look at.

I have to say, we were all exhausted when the time came to go home.  But I wouldn’t change a thing.  We crammed every minute as full as we could, and Menopause Moi thinks that’s one hell of a way to start, and hopefully continue to live this next chapter!

So what about you?  Was your milestone celebration the fulfillment of a dream?  Are you planning something special in honour of your 50th (or even your 40th or 60th – whatever)?  If you’d like to share, I’d love to hear.



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