When I got the first e-mail saying they were coming to Ireland I had no idea who they were. Just 24 hours after meeting them, I felt like a part of their group, and I was a bit sad to see my new friends go.
They are from the Sparks High School classes of '62 and '64 and unlike many graduating classes this one has stuck together through thick and thin. They have a book club. They have established a scholarship fund to give back to future students and they work together to raise money for it throughout the year. More importantly, they have seen each other through successes, illnesses, losing spouses, the ups and downs of life in general, and the joys of longtime friendship. Every few years they take a trip together. And boy do they make good use of their time.
I met them at the ferry dock heading to Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands. Mind you, I had never met any of them, but they knew me from my column. And it was an immediate bond. By the time we landed in Inishmore we were all old friends.
We had lunch, walked around the island, took a bus tour, hiked to the ruins, which was steep and rocky, and beautifully undeveloped.
We had dinner at "The Baaaaahr" nearby and in the morning we went sweater shopping.
That was just one day for this group. They had already toured Scotland, seen the Giant's Causeway, been through the Titanic Experience, stayed in a castle and visited the location where the John Wayne/ Maureen O'Hara film The Quiet Man was shot.
They had been to a sheepdog training farm and slept in a castle. And they were headed for the Cliffs of Moher, and a four-hour gourmet cooking lesson. And they still had a couple of days left to storm Dublin. They clearly see the value of life, and with Terri Camenish's ties to Ireland, (she's been here dozens of times to visit family in Tipperary) they are not overlooking anything that looks even remotely interesting.
Their ferry to Doolin left a half hour before mine headed back to Rossaveel, and it was fitting to see them all board the "Happy Hooker" and slip away as easily as they had arrived.
Cheers, to friendship, to embracing life and to future Girl Tours!