It's real now.
Today we went down to our local bank branch and had a "foreign bank draft" made out in euros for our summer's stay in the Bothy.
We sent it off to Lady Rosse from the little post office here in Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz Mountains, rural USA, to Birr, County Offaly, rural Ireland.
Right now, that check is probably waiting to be put in the belly of an airplane. Our gleeful anticipations, defying our six-decades' ages, hover around it wherever it is.
We're gonna go, we really, actually, honestly, unbelievably, are gonna go again, really. We never thought we would, but here we go. It's half a year away, but now it would cost more to cancel the journey than it would to complete it. We have now paid for our travel, our boarding, our home's caretaking (God bless you, Adam, from here to purgatory and back again for that last one.) We have also reserved our car.
This trip will be very, very different from the last: I will spend far more time in the archives, for example, and we will sortie around Northern Ireland (especially Armagh), but our home will be, as it would inevitably be, Birr Castle Demesne. This time, unlike 2006, we know what to expect from the Demesne, and we have a history of others' experiences to bolster us, especially those whose creativity has been bolstered as well, as superbly exemplified by Margaret Ryall.
And we have, we hope, an old friend of four feet to greet us.
This blog's readership is so small that I can comfortably offer the following: if there is anywere on the island of Ireland that you want a photo from, please let me know right away, so I can fold that in to our itinerary. Mike and Ronnie Peterson, I think I remember that some of your roots are in County Clare -- Lahinch? That would be an easy half-day drive from Birr.