Sarah Rader shared with the Rotary Club her photos of her recent trip to Ireland. Following her busy tax season, Sarah and co-adventurer, Leah Isaacs, journeyed to the Emerald Isle for some exploration of western Ireland.
At the beginning of her presentation, Sarah shared pertinent facts about the country itself. For example, Ireland uses the euro for its currency, but will accept American credit cards. Moreover, the Irish speak both English and Irish, drive on the left side of the road, and don’t have to deal with snakes of any kind. Ireland has a population of approximately 4.85 million people, and the country is roughly one-eighth the size of Texas.
After arriving, one of Sarah and Leah’s first stops was the Trinity College Library, which was built between 1712 and 1732. This massive library is more than 65 meters long and houses the Book of Kells, the most famous medieval manuscript, which was composed around 800 A.D. by Catholic monks.
After their library visit, Sarah and Leah visited Dublin Castle, which was originally built in 1204 A.D. Among other purposes, Dublin Castle served as a fortress and housing for the British monarchy’s representative to Ireland. In 1684, the castle partially burned, and after the fire, it was rebuilt into a Georgian palace. Over 250,000 people visit the castle each year.
From Dublin, our intrepid explorers ventured forth into the wilds of the Connemara region. This part of Ireland consists of very rugged terrain and has very few people, partly due to the Potato Famine of the 1840s. Our hardy travelers regularly rode bikes on singlelane roads with sheep. How the sheep learned to ride bikes, I’ll never know. Unfortunately, there were no pictures.
While in the Connemara, Sarah and Leah bravely ascended Croagh Patrick, which is the holiest mountain in Ireland. According to Irish tradition, Saint Patrick fasted on this Croagh for 40 days, and it was from this mountain that he banished snakes from the island. On Reek Sunday, which is the last Sunday in July, it’s not unusual for over 25,000 people to pilgrimage up the mountain.
From there, Sarah and Leah traveled to Kylmore Abbey. Originally constructed by Mitchell Henry in 1868, the castle was built by 100 men over the course of four years. Following completion of the Abbey, Margaret Henry, Mitchell’s wife, died of dysentery, which she contracted during a trip to Egypt. Mrs. Henry’s remains are housed in a Gothic Chapel on the Abbey grounds. In 1920, the Abbey was acquired by a group of nuns who continue to live there.
Departing the Abbey, Sarah and Leah journeyed the cliffs of Moher. These coastline cliffs rise to a height of over 700 feet. Rumored to be the inspiration for the Cliffs of Insanity, tourists regularly, accidentally, walk backwards over these precipices as they are taking selfies. Unfortunately, there are no trampolines or air bags at the base of the cliffs. Fortunately, there is a highly skilled crew whose purpose is to retrieve bodies and clean up the messes.
Other stops in the adventure included Drooling (named after the founder’s teething infant son), Inisheer, O’Brien’s Castle, the Gap of Dunloe (which does not sell cheap, trendy clothes), the Lakes of Kilkarney, Ross Castle, the Muckross House, Cobh (final stop for the Titanic before its tragic voyage), and Kilkenny Castle (one of Sarah’s favorite trip sites). Sarah and Leah stayed in Airbnbs that averaged around $40 per person, per night, and enjoyed the food; though, naturally, the beef is better here in Texas.
Other club business
The Honorable George Briant and Pat Popham led the club in singing “Smile,” and “The 4-Way Test.” Christina Hadaway announced the pending arrival of a grandchild toward the end of this year, as her daughter, Grace, is pregnant.
This week’s guests included Paula Forrest, Nancy Ocasio, and Esther Rader.
Michael Gardiner presented this week’s business issue by discussing federal tax recordkeeping requirements for U.S. taxpayers.