I was very fortunate to be able to visit Ireland for two weeks in 1994. It was a memorable trip for many reasons: traveling with my good friend, Judith and helping her celebrate her retirement as a high school counselor, seeing the country where my maternal great grandmother came from, staying at the Ashford Castle and experiencing the warmth and hospitality of Ireland as well as some of the best scones I’ve ever eaten!
What does that have to do with Elizabeth?
Since childhood Elizabeth has had dreams and visions of a woman dressed in long blue robes with a blue crescent mark on her forehead. Golden light shimmers around her, her arms raised in prayer she stands in a circle of trees with a spring bubbling nearby – The Sacred Grove. The Lady came to me before Elizabeth. You can read about that experience at my June 3, 2011 post at www.RomancingTheGenres.blogspot.com.
Suffice it to say, as I wrote Elizabeth’s story I didn’t feel like I was at home in the Pacific Northwest.
I was in Ireland.
I went on a search for my photo album and travel diary when I was writing. I couldn’t find them.
Months later, just before an editing session I had to clear everything out of my basement due to mold. Thirty-plus years of boxes, bins, sacks, piles and file cabinet(s) were hauled out and put on my back deck. Over the next few days I went through everything and lo and behold, where I’d sworn it wasn’t – it was. I’d found my diary and album.
Sitting down I relived that trip. The flat tire as we left the Dublin airport. The Garde coming to our rescue and changing it (our luggage piled on the sidewalk, the rain pouring down). The drive across Ireland to the Ashford Castle, a boat trip to the ruins of a church where St. Patrick preached, Connemara Marble, sheep, banks of fuchsias, the drive around the Ring of Kerry, three flat tires in one day and the gracious young couple who helped us get everything fixed, our first taste of Guinness, real Irish Coffee, my first experience with Bailey’s Irish Cream and every day comments about the people: open, friendly, helpful people who joked and teased or took very good care of us (especially on the day with three flat tires!).
Elizabeth’s journey does not match or mirror mine but there are similarities. She and Michael do stay at the Ashford Castle for example. However, she visits New Grange and I did not. She falls in love with an Irishman, I did not. She loved the feel of the place, a sense of coming home and I felt that also. One of the real joys in writing Elizabeth was taking the feeling, the sense of place and creating my own little piece of Ireland.
May you enjoy a bit of Irish experience as you read Elizabeth’s story.