Final Reflections from the Emerald Isle

We are just about 2 hours from boarding our plane to Boston.  I must admit that Grace, Emma and I are very excited to return home.  We have enjoyed every wonderful minute in Ireland but the land of our beloved family is beckoning us back from across the Atlantic!

A few final thoughts come to mind about this incredible country.  First, kindness is a virute worth its weight in gold.  The Irish people have this one mastered and I’ve been moved be their outgoing gestures of love and support.  From the clerk at the gas station to the mother of the Galway Rose – every person we’ve met has made our life a little richer. What a wonderful feeling – to leave a place fuller than when you arrived.  I plan to remember the genuine kindness of the Irish people and take it home to Boston – sharing it among friends and family!

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Our final Rose event was last night and Emma and I decided to go out in style!  Despite our weary feet (and my back) we donned our only clean clothes and arrived at the Rose Dome in time to see our Boston Rose entering with her escort Struen.  Grace wore her usual fantastic smile and glowed when she saw us standing in support of her on the final night!

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Once in the Dome, the environment was electric – everyone waiting to see who would be crowned the 2016 Rose of Tralee and represent the 64 incredible Roses from around the world.  Below Grace with her Boston escort friend James and fellow Roses.  All the Roses and escorts were a bit more giddy last night as they’d been “on parade” for 2 weeks and it was all finally coming to an end.  I think it is safe to say they’ve made lifelong friends and many international visits will follow this incredible journey in Tralee.

Finally, a shout out to the Boston and New England Rose Committee – such a wonderful group of people.  Our family is very grateful to be part of this organization which is dedicated to the growth and success of young Irish women.  I feel confident that Grace will make her mark as the Boston Rose this year and our family will be right behind her, supporting her efforts.

And now the only way to end my Ireland posts – I think – is by saying Sláinte to all the incredible Irish people we have met this week and to those who have followed this journey via my blog!  This word means good health in Gaelic.  It is also one of Papa’s favorite words which he has taught his grandchildren.  They all know to greet him with a Sláinte accompanied by a high five!  (If they forget, he will remind them.)  We take off soon and send you all our best wishes and prayers for a healthy and happy new school year.   We also send warm congratulations to 27 year old Chicago Rose, Maggie McEldowney who was crowned the Rose of Tralee last night!

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