For the first time since I moved out here I am returning to Ireland in September. I will meet a small group there at Shannon and we will spend ten days together exploring the the many wonders of Irish history, archeology, and culture. I suspect there may be a few jars downed and a bit of music enjoyed as well. I really enjoy these trips, and have been running them for twenty years now, save for the break I took to get myself settled in on the plains.
I tend to be a planner, a note-taker, a list-maker. I like and value and spontaneity, but on one of my trips I believe that the most rewarding spontaneity arises out of a measure of prior planning. And so I am now deep into 'planning mode' even though the trip is five months away.
I've done these trips all over Ireland (and Scotland), but my favorite region is rivaled only by the American Southwest in the incredible richness of archeological monuments— and, of course, in a much smaller area. The local archeological survey lists and describes almost sixteen-hundred sites, ranging from Neolithic shell middens, through Bronze Age tombs and stone alignments, to early Christian monastic establishments, to 16th century fortifications, and even the remnants of Cromwell's brutality.
We couldn't exhaust the sites I am personally familiar with if we were to stay for several months, but nevertheless I enjoy reviewing my notes and planing 'perfect days' for my groups. Of course, there are also the evenings of music, or poetry, or history, or local lore— or just good cráic— to arrange for.
Besides, I enjoy being in Planning Mode. It's part nostalgia and part anticipation and I like both.