Who would make the perfect travel companion for a journey across Ireland?
Millions of people around the world dream of a trip to Ireland one day. For many it is because they want to feel close to their ancestors who left the country years ago. For others it is simply to enjoy the famous craic with the locals and admire the stunning scenery and beauty of the Irish country.
But who would they want to share the experience with? We asked our Facebook followers ‘who would you like to travel around Ireland with?’
We received hundreds of replies with answers varying from your family of the past (your ancestors) to your family of the future (your grandchildren). Parents and partners were probably the most common choice, but greats from Irish history were also popular answers, as were current film and music stars.
We have categorised your responses as best we can, and summarised the reasons why your perfect travel companion would make your Irish trip extra special.
If it were possible, many people would love to take the trip with their Irish ancestors. The men and women who left Ireland from the 1800s onwards were escaping a life of struggle and desperation. Meeting these people and seeing first-hand what they went through would be a humbling experience for most of us today.
Millions of Irish famine sufferers spread to America, Australia, Canada and beyond, and settled to begin a worldwide population of people with Irish heritage. These emigrants would make a trip across Ireland incredibly poignant and personal.
One theme found in many of the responses we got, was the desire to share the experience with your loved ones, particularly your elders. As people feel drawn to the land of their ancestors, the feeling is equal if not stronger in those family members of older generations. Your parents are after all, one generation closer to your Irish emigrants than you are, and your grandparents another step closer still.
There were several posts that seemed to recognise this. People want to feel close to Ireland, and they want give their grandparents and parents the opportunity to also experience this emotion.
In most cases, our parents and grandparents have spent their entire lives caring for us, so the chance for them to feel close to their ancestors, is a real gift to give back.
Husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, children and grandchildren were all frequent answers for the companions you would choose. It is understandable that you want to share the magic of Ireland with the people you love most. All experiences are made more special, when they make the people closest to you happy. There was also a sense of continuing the feeling of pride of your Irish heritage, and passing it down to the younger generations of your families.
Ireland is a country with a history of pride and the struggle for independence. It spent nearly 800 hundred years under the rule of Britain, and thousands of Irish patriots have fought and died for their country. It is therefore no surprise that some of the leading figures of Irish history were popular choices to be your travel companions across Ireland. Here are a selection of some of the great Irish leaders you chose.
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and according to the legend was the man who banished all snakes from the island. Brian Boru was the first High King of Ireland, in the time before the first British invasion. Pádraig Pearse was the man who declared Ireland an independent republic at the Easter Rising in 1916. Éamon de Valera fought in the Rising and went on to become President of Ireland and served three separate terms as Taoiseach. Michael Collins led the Irish nationalists during the War of Independence and was the man who signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. He was assassinated in Cork a year later.
Irish women are famed for their strong nature and fiery attitude. Also their generous and caring spirit, and the willingness to help anyone in need. These are characteristics that will be recognised by everyone with an Irish Mammy, Granny or Grand-Granny. Of course these kind traits are not exclusive to Ireland, but are found in women, and men, all around the world.
However, Ireland’s leading ladies featured highly on your lists of travel companions. Hollywood legend and national treasure Maureen O’Hara was the most chosen Irish woman, with Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen and foe of Queen Elizabeth I also being named. Former President Mary Robinson, writer Maeve Binchy and musicians Enya and Sinéad O’Connor were also mentioned.
The Dubliners, Rory Gallagher, the Pogues, the boys from Celtic Thunder, Phil Lynott and Van Morrison were just some of the Irish music stars that were named by you as your perfect travelling partner. One woman said she would love to drive down the Wild Atlantic Way listening to Daniel O’Donnell singing in the passenger seat. A night of storytelling and a few drinks in an old Irish pub with the late Ronnie Drew and Shane MacGowan would certainly be a night to remember. And it would only be a matter of time before a good old Irish sing-song broke out.
Colin Farrell are Liam Neeson two of Ireland’s top Hollywood stars, and also the choices for many of you as your ideal travel partner. Both were born and raised in Ireland, so would make excellent tour guides and have other qualities that have not gone unnoticed by many. One woman even joked that if Farrell agreed to accompany her across Ireland, then she would consider uninviting her husband on the trip.
Several more people were named as your perfect partner to travel with across Ireland. They included God and Jesus Christ. Music legends Elvis Presley and John Lennon and a few actors were chosen, who aren’t Irish. Sean Connery, Bill Nighy, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gerard Butler and John Wayne were some of the many famous names among your answers.
Anne Frank, Mark Twain and President John F Kennedy were some of the other key figures from history that were selected.