Ireland Memories

Sunday, June 15, 2008 - written by Millie Davis

Today is the one day on the tour we got to sleep in, for our bus to Dublin Airport didn't leave until 10:30a.m. Cara beat us out of town by hours, leaving at 3:15a.m. to visit a friend in Czechoslovakia, and Woody left earlier than we did for his flight back to Washington, DC, to meet up with his wife and grandkids.

Ireland pic 21

Pat and Chris greeted us proudly wearing the teal Chorale shirts we gave them.

As we bid farewell to the Ramada Inn in Bray and our last Irish breakfast of sausage and bacon (both much different that the US style), eggs boiled or fried or poached, pudding (not what you’re thinking!), tomatoes, fruit, cereal, toast and breads, coffee and tea, we left Pat and Ken (and Ken's golf clubs) at the hotel so they could extend their Ireland visit.

On the bus ride to the airport, Jean treated us to a parting limerick and Holly treated us to a “thank you poem”

In '08 Julie said, "To Ireland! Let's Go!
We'll have us a tour and put on a show!
We'll round up Chris Fox, and our old buddy Jean,
And the Irish will think that our singing is keen!"

Soon we were flying, fifty-five strong,
Forty-four singers and eleven hanger's on.
From Galway to Dublin, we showed our agility,
Pitch, phrasing, memory, and flexibility.

We sang at the churches, we sang at the Abbey.
Sometimes better than others, but never too shabby.

We sang of fair cities, and bodies of water,
God, peace, a blessing, a fishmonger's daughter.
Joshua, the Shepard, dear Nelly Bly,
Fishing, not failing, and letting us fly.

It was delightful, it was a blast.
How could we know it would go by so fast?
It was a group effort, you're all great crew,
But we say special thanks to certain of you:

Thank you to Jean, for being such fun.
As a bard and a buddy, you're second to none!

Thank you to Pat for getting us here.
For such expert driving we'll all give a cheer.
Thank you to Chris, who got us around.
Though his jokes were pathetic, his judgment was sound.

Thank you to Kent, crown prince of Backschtein.
As we expected, your playing was fine.

Thank you to Allen, for humoring Julie.
It's a critical job that he does well, and truly.
He's always been one of our favorite folks--
Who knew he could tell such horrible jokes?

Thanks to the guys who loaded the bus-
We leave with the same stuff we brought here with us.

Thanks to those who helped Tim, for you kind "looking after",
And to Tim-you inspire, with your courage and laughter.

Thank you to Kate, for being on call,
Ready to care for us, any and all.

We all hassled Hayley, for being a kid...
But you sing like an angel, and singing you did.

To Leighton, Il Divo, who turned twenty one-
Now we can admit it: you were lots of fun!

Thank you to Gingie for signing our song.
T'was amazing grace that we had you along.

Thank you to Jodie, who yelled, "Here's the deal!"
Now we know just how your children must feel.

Thanks to the groupies, especially Bea,
Who can usher, do PR, or hawk a CD.

Katrina and Brenda were brought in as ringers,
Thanks-you're good friends and incredible singers!

To the riders in Backschtein, we hope you've thawed out.
Thank you for the beeping as Pat backed about.

Tim, Leighton, Howard, Gina, Kate, Chris and Hayley,
Thanks for great solos, and tunes at the ceilidh.

Thank you to Gini, and party committee,
As always, you're quick with a skit or a ditty.

Last, thanks to Julie, for arranging this fling,
The more you encourage, the better we sing.

From "Almighty God" to the final "Amen",
Thanks to all of you-maybe we'll travel again!

Joe and Sandy left us at the airport to continue their visit with old friends in Dublin, as did Jean, Julie, and Alan who headed off to Scotland via another airline.

We cleared airport check-in easily and quickly, especially after Haley finally located her ticket. Our crowd infiltrated the airport to shop to spend our remaining Euros and to turn in our VAT tax receipts. Kent and Michelle stormed the duty-free shop, Kent exiting toting Bailey's and Michelle toting an Ireland green cowboy hat decorated with sparkles.

Joann’s floppy shamrock headband which airline security insisted she keep wearing made it easy to spot the group when we finally gathered at our gate to await our flight. We waited by chatting, reading, eating, and checking email. Jim Whitmore finally got to enjoy the remains of the Parsnips Chips Millie found in the store at Powerscourt while Mark Penner was called several times to the gate for seat changes.

Our flight was mostly smooth as we slept, watched our movie sets (those that worked) which had an option for viewing the New York version of Riverdance, played games, walked, talked, and read. We experienced just a bit of turbulence as we made our approach into Chicago, landing with a bump. Our luggage arrived and Jerry Frye did a super job of rounding up his now 35 or so “kids” and getting us through customs. The little beagle sniffer dog loved Kristine's backpack because she’d carried apples in it a few days before and a couple of Choralers lost their oranges to the agriculture department.

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We bid Michelle good-bye at the airport.

Jerry got us all on the bus and we headed back to Champaign with one stop in Kankakee to drop off Katrina. We made it to Roundbarn Center in excellent time, arriving at about 8:15p.m. After giving Jan our music, we went our separate ways to head home, tired but smiling and full from our 10 days in Ireland.