Thursday, March 17, 2022

Celebrate each day , take the trip, book the train, take the cruise

Cruises to her ancestral homes -- Norway and Ireland -- were gifts to Ellen Cosgriffe
from her daughters, Robbie, standing, and Christene (Cookie) at right. Left is Ellen's
granddaughter, Amarylla, who joined her aunties to celebrate Ellen's birthday in Europe.


Happy St. Patrick's -- may the spirit of celebration continue


Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral was a stop
during a jam-packed day of sightseeing.


THE CELEBRATION couldn't have been more appropriate.  It was March 17, and our ship was pulling into Dublin Bay. We'd had a wonderful dinner the night before, celebrating my mother's 80th birthday for the 10th or so time. And of course, it was St. Patrick's Day. 
Mum was already crying -- "tears of ecstasy," she sniffed, "because I am so very, very happy."
I'd promised her trips to Ireland and Norway for her 80th birthday, and this was the Irish leg of several sea journeys with my beloved mother Ellen and other family members.

Dublin Bay Cruises took us around
the city by water, a fun outing.

As we navigated the C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea, on Ireland's east coast, mum looked and felt very Irish.  She had chosen a green shirt, white tam and had her favorite "lucky" shamrock green socks.

Dublin's famous Temple Bar was a pub stop on a
 memorable tour of Ireland with Cookie's late mother,
 Ellen, who played piano and fiddle there and sang
 a medley of Irish tunes with the house band.

Ellen and her daughters Robbie and Christene
pull into harbor aboard Royal Princess on one
of several European cruises for a beloved mum.

DUBLIN BAY stretched 10 kilometers wide before us as I looked at my notes. We had only a long day in which to explore this colorful capital of the Republic of Ireland. I'd planned a Dublin Bay boat ride, and look at the River Liffey, a tour of historic buildings including 13th Century Dublin Castle, and the imposing 
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191.
We'd have a walk through beautifully landscaped St Stephen’s Green then taxi to Phoenix Park for a zip through Dublin Zoo. The National Museum of Ireland with its wonderful collection would cap the full day, then a light supper at the famous Temple Bar pub before our ship sailed at 9 p.m.

Mum was the hit of the bar that night, playing a fiddle a bandsman loaned her. When he complimented her green outfit, complete with shamrock pin, she demured:

Cookie and her mother,
 Ellen, wearing the green. 
'I'LL LET YOU guess what color my underwear is." He laughed at her coy remark.  Mum was always a bit naughty. Later that night, I played an Irish medley on board Celebrity Century. People gathered and sang along --  a memorable evening. 
Cookie found a quiet bar to entertain as
a capper to a fun St. Patrick's Day shipboard.

MY GREATEST take-away from the trips I've had with friends and family is "don't hesitate, do it." I promised my youngest brother, Patrick, a trip to Ireland, which was at the top of his bucket list.  He passed away last month before we could make the journey.  His health was failing and try as I might, we couldn't work it out. I wish I'd arranged it 10 years ago. So happy I had cruises with sisters Robbie and Peny, both gone now, too.

Dancers kicked during our St. Patrick's day visit.
Check off your bucket list

"How old am I really?" mum asked us one night. (She wasn't quite 80 yet on that last cruise, but we'd rounded it off to make things easier and more memorable.) When we told her, "You're still 79," she said, "Oh I'm relieved. I didn't think I was as old as 80 yet!" 

A fire dancer flashes and dances his way to a
standing ovation from the crowd at 
Hilton's Garden Inn in Kauai.

: Fire dance! It connotes the rhythmic and pulsing sounds of drums, shouting, singing and dance.  The centuries old fire dance is both celebration and cultural tradition.  Pacific cultures have long used fire and movement to signify loss, mourning, joy, celebration and sensuality. The dances can even be used for religious worship and war preparation. Let us take you to one of the world's best fire dances, on the quiet island of Kauai at Hilton Garden Inn. The fire dance is the loudest activity on this peaceful island with leading musicians, dancers and singers from the South Pacific. Explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, culture, nature, family and the arts:


  1. Such a warm, winning story of a wonderful family's priorities.

  2. So true! Honor family always

  3. Pittsburgh Boat FolksMarch 19, 2022 at 9:30 AM

    What wise words and fun photos.