I can’t believe my vacation was already a month ago! September has flown by, and here I am recapping the last two days of my amazing trip to Ireland.
Saturday was a hybrid day for us: a couple of workshops in the morning, then touring in the afternoon.
In our Public Speaking For Writers workshop, I publicly confessed my fear of public speaking. It’s weird because I am a VERY extroverted introvert. I am very social, and I make friends easily wherever I go, and I have no problem talking to anyone and everyone. But when you put me on a podium in front of an audience, and I’m the only one speaking with all eyes on me, I get insanely anxious. Once I get going, I relax and do just fine, but it’s the anticipation of getting up there that gets me.
Susan pointed out that people who are afraid of public speaking are not so much afraid as they are overly concerned about doing a good job. Anxiety is normal… we just need to channel it into solid preparation. If you know exactly what you want to say, and you know what you’re saying is what you genuinely believe, you’ll do well. Such a great way of thinking about it!
We also talked about doing book events, interviews (both live and radio), and panel discussions. Some great points came up that I’ll be paying attention to when I go to my next author’s book event or panel! It’ll probably be the Boston Book Festival next month, which I attend every year. Are any of you going?
On our last day together, we took a scenic drive to the village of Roundstone. It was one of my favorite places on the entire trip! The village had cute little shops, restaurants, and pubs, and gave me an excuse to use up the rest of my euros before coming home.
That tower above is actually a tiny jewelry shop! They were having a big sale the day we came, and I snagged two pairs of earrings: pink enameled bows, and two gold doves in flight. I also picked up a few pieces of jewelry for my mom and friends back home.
We stopped by the Eldon Bar for drinks and snacks! I think it was only 2:00pm, but we were in Ireland, so that called for an alcoholic drink no matter what time of day:
Susan and I both ordered these Irish coffees, which were delicious but approximately 75% Jameson and 25% coffee. We know because we watched the bartender whip them up for us.
So the ride to our next castle destination was a little bit giddy…
That beautiful lake cottage is my dream writing sanctuary. Anyone want to go in on it with me? I call dibs on November through February, but you can have it any other time of the year…
Then, with heavy hearts, we went back to our favorite restaurant – The Thatch Pub near our hotel – for a big goodbye dinner! If you’re ever in Headford village, you need to eat at this place. Therese and all her staff are awesome, and I had one of the best burgers of my life there. The fish and chips meal is also pretty darn spectacular!
I am missing all of my new friends. I’m grateful we keep in touch on Facebook with our own private group and share our successes, both large and small!
On Sunday, we parted ways and I returned to Galway to spend the night.
I wanted a good night of sleep before my crazy day of travel on Monday — three hours on a bus back to Dublin Airport, about two hours of going through customs (it is crazy hard to get back into the U.S., even as an American with an American passport!), and then a six-hour flight, two-hour layover, and an hour-long connecting flight.
Back in Galway, I did the stereotypical writer thing and found a cute cafe where I could scribble and people-watch. My hot chocolate was deeeee-lish!
I promised Corinne I would go back to the Galway Cathedral and actually go inside (which I didn’t the first time), and I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful:
And my return trip would not have been complete without another yummy lunch in my B&B’s tearoom. I ordered the tomato and spinach quiche, and it was awesome. I also caught up on Twitter and Pitch Wars goodness while eating!
All in all, I had a fantastic time in Ireland. It was one of the countries high up on my bucket list, and I know I would love to come back someday.
I stepped out of my comfort zone in traveling alone, and as a reward, I made a dozen new friends who I hope will be part of my writing life for the long run!
I learned a lot about myself as a person and a writer, and I did some critical thinking about FOTL. The book – and the series I envision for it – will be a lot stronger because I went on this trip, and pushed myself, and absorbed all of the feedback and information I gleaned from better, more experienced writers.
I’m really happy I did it, and I encourage you to do the same! I think our tour guide, Fiona, is planning another Ireland retreat for 2016, so if you are interested, feel free to send me an email and I’ll forward her contact information!
Now I just have to figure out where I’d like to go next. I’m thinking Italy… or New Zealand!!!