Tourist or Traveler

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” G.K. Chesterton BARCELONA/ROME/SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Chronic overcrowding in some of Europe’s beloved tourism hotspots is fuelling an angry backlash, from polite protest to... read more

The Irish Pub

The pubs in Ireland serve up more than pints of Guinness, though we scarcely need more of a reason to hit a pub than for the pint. That said, the Irish pub embodies so much of what draws us back to Ireland again and again. It’s hard to remain a stranger in a pub;... read more

Around Our Table

The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table. One leg of the Eire Retour table is supported by our commitment to beautiful, delicious, body- and soul-nourishing food. The quality of raw ingredients in Ireland is second to none so we’re one leg up on... read more

Why Choose Ireland

I’m ready to go to Ireland ~ seeking a time out from the frenetic and anxiety-driven climate I feel in this post election, polarized world. The balm for my soul lies in Ireland–my heart’s destination of choice.   In Ireland, I love being able to step out my... read more

Between Two Worlds

Fall is here and our lives are finding a new rhythm, rooted in a quiet, more reflective inner landscape. I love this tipping point before we step fully into the holiday season when our social calendars fill once again, threatening to bully us into feeling too busy and... read more

Kindness ~ Its Own Climate

I am always amazed and touched by the generous spirit of the people I’ve had the pleasure to meet while traveling in Ireland. Whether I’m in a supermarket check-out fumbling with the unfamiliar coins in the palm of my hand, taking too long at the ATM for a simple... read more

One Hundred Thousand Welcomes!

Upon arrival at their home-away-from-home cottages at the Old Deanery in Killala, we greeted our travelers with the traditional Irish welcome: Céad Míle Fáilte–One Hundred Thousand Welcomes. The welcomes came in many forms: warm hugs, glowing turf fire in... read more

What’s In Our Suitcase?

At last! We are packing our suitcases, soon to be Ireland bound. There is no turning beyond this point. We like to pack our suitcases–it means we are on our way. Traveling light is a challenge we choose to embrace, opting for comfort and function while... read more

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Hard to believe it’s less than a month until we pick up our people in Shannon and whisk them away north to home-away-from-home at the Old Deanery Cottages in Killala, County Mayo. Though it’s tempting to think about packing our bags right now and waiting three weeks... read more

The Soulful Journey of Questioning

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” —Decouvertes How often we postpone our desires. Our hearts whisper longings hoping that we’ll listen. Too often we choose to ignore the messages; we distract ourselves with busy bits of life. To be sure, we... read more

Croagh Patrick for the Non-Pilgrim

Having driven beneath the slopes of Ireland’s holiest mountain, Croagh Patrick, a dozen or more times with little more than an upward glance toward the summit, I harbored for years a longing to see for myself what the pilgrimage to the peak was all about. I had read... read more

Galway Girl

I first heard Steve Earle’s Galway Girl while driving a van in Ballyvaughan, County Clare, gazing across Galway Bay. Someone produced the CD of Irish-inspired tunes to play as we drove; at first listen I was transported and as soon as possible set about learning it on... read more

The Heart of Ireland

The saying goes of County Mayo: “If you could eat scenery, Mayo would be the richest county on earth.” We agree and are hungry for more…counting the days until we return to Mayo’s riches. And while there are so many places that justifiably lay claim to being the... read more

Wild Belonging

“Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.”   ~Terry Tempest Williams Denis Quinn embodies the wildness of the Co Mayo landscape. He is the sea, the cliffs, the turf and the spirit of this place.... read more

Caraway Seed Cake ~ An Irish Holiday Tradition

Put on the kettle, pour yourself a piping hot cup of tea and offer up a slice of this delicious Caraway Seed Cake to ease you through a dark and dreary December afternoon. Add a good book or conversation with dear friends and it will brighten even your darkest of... read more

Shannon “Air”port

We’ve just returned from Ireland after a whirlwind September that found us swapping our spiffy wedding shoes for hiking boots, and Champagne for Guinness.  From an Iowa wedding to Co. Mayo we flew and touched down in too many airports to remember.  Except for Shannon.... read more

Irish Cuisine—It’s Not Just Potatoes

While the humble potato has indeed been a staple for the Irish since the early 1600’s, until recently most references to their cuisine give the impression that there is not much else going on in the Irish kitchen other than bowls of Mash, Shepherd’s Pie or Guinness... read more

Make Room for a Session

Tucked away on a cozy corner wall in Matt Molloy’s Pub hangs a humble request calligraphed neatly on a bodhran skin: “Please reserve for musicians when there is a session.” When the session unfolds we’ll be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, pint-to-pint, similar in feel... read more

I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.

— Lillian Smith