My trip to Ireland began with love and ended with a lovely, bittersweet goodbye. It was my honeymoon, after all, and I was swooning before the plane even landed among the gorgeous green hills. I had no need to search for a pot of gold. My treasure was sitting beside me, holding my hand and I was blissfully soaring on the wings of his love.
After a traditional Irish breakfast of scrambled eggs, figs and black pudding—that’s sausage with pig’s blood and oatmeal, I expected the locals to top off my meal with a “Top O’ the morning to ya.” Instead, one after another inhaled a breath of brisk air and exhaled with a smile. “Lovely Day,” they said.
I sipped my Americana—the coffee closest to house blend I could get—nodded and raised my mug toward the elderly gentleman tipping his hat my way. I barely had one breakfast under my belt and already I felt connected to the community as if I’d grown up roaming the fairy glens. I slid deeper into my seat and permitted the first rays of light to soak into my hands and face.
“You folks said you’re heading to County Cork?” the waitress asked, setting a map on the table and pointing to a town spelled, C-o-b-h.
“We’re kissing the Blarney Stone first,” I said, blowing air kisses from my fingertips toward my husband. “I’m a writer and I want the gift of eloquent speech the legend promises.”
“She’s already quite a talker.” My man cocks his head toward the map.
“This is one town you don’t want to miss—the Titanic’s last port of call,” she says circling the town “Cobh” with her pen. It used to be spelled like it sounds, ‘Cove,’ but after the Queen of England visited, they renamed it Queensland. Now it’s Cove again, just spelled with an Irish twist.
We headed out and after kissing one of the most famous rocks in the world, skimmed over the narrow road south in our rented car, my husband awkwardly shifting gears with his left hand and navigating the left side of the road while I fended off tree branches smacking me through the open window. When we weren’t calling out the names of the roads as they corresponded to our map, we were watching the hillsides for a glimpse of a leprechaun, but the only creatures we spotted were sheep and goats.
Soon we rounded a curve, the colorful buildings of Cobh rising like crayons against the pristine blue harbor. I imagined the smiling, the waving of those on board the Titanic. They had departed that day in hopes for a smooth ride over the ocean. Instead they wrecked and sunk lifeless to their final resting place—the ocean floor.
I imagined the man made notorious by the movie version tightening the belt around the waist of the woman he loved—his life vest—as he kissed her lips for the final time. I stroked my husband’s arm, feeling as loved as she must have. I wondered if it was possible for this feeling to last and not be swallowed up by time.
A cathedral perched on the bank as if it were a lighthouse. My eyes trailed its steeple pointing towards the heavens as if to say, “There is where your answer lies.”
Two weeks later, we were whisked away from our paradise and on the plane home. My love to my right winked at me, a Guinness in one hand and my hand in his other. Life was as lovely as the lush hillsides whisking past my window view from above. I breathed deep into the love I felt, knowing if I ever felt down, all I had to do was look up and that’s a lovely view indeed.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.