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Go Hard Braugh
by Gary M. Pollard  |  President & CEO of Ambassador Tours
Sometimes I am asked about all the places I’ve been – or would want to go. When I really focus on that question, one place I think about is Ireland. Pictures of Ireland show green-colored hillsides that few get to experience. Well, Chris and I had the opportunity to visit Ireland this past summer and it was well worth it. We had the good fortune to visit three cities: Waterford, Dublin and Belfast. All three totally different. The cultures so unique that one could think each city is an entirely different country. Allow me to share a little bit about Waterford and Belfast in particular…

Our stop in Waterford took us to a country inn and cooking school located on a farm that once was the home of a royal family back in the 1800’s. While here, we were treated to a cooking demonstration on how to make brown bread and seafood chowder! Delicious! During our stay, we had a home cooked lunch on the patio overlooking farmland where fresh vegetables and fruit were growing. We also learned that Waterford Crystal is no longer made in Waterford. (Saved me some money!) We toured The Dunbrody Famine Ship, an exact replica of the original ship built in 1845 that carried thousands of Irish people from the desperation of the Great Famine in Ireland to America. This key part of Ireland’s history is an amazing symbol of the triumph of hope over despair and a fascinating introduction to an important part of Irish history. Amazing to me how much people would sacrifice for a better life.

Our final stop in Ireland was Belfast. There is so much history in the northern part of Ireland that could fill many pages. But, since I only have half a page, in short: If you have the chance to visit Belfast, please do. History books can only talk about what other people have witnessed. Chris and I got to see first hand how the two major groups survive sharing a city. The wall that separates the Catholics and Protestants to keep them safe from each other makes you think deep inside how strong one’s beliefs can be and just how fiercely one will fight to defend them.

My favorite subject in school was history. Growing up in the travel business gave me the chance to see our world first hand. Text books and the Internet are fine tools for information, but NOTHING is more educational than an UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL VISIT! Don’t waste the opportunity to travel! This is OUR world and ours to explore and understand those who have lived before us and who live here now!

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