(Our family at Blarney Castle)

Auto Transport & Irish Roots Come Full Circle Leaving Preconceived Ideas

Not enough time for a final hoorah

This year the weather has been very wild here in the United States. So much so, that it reminds me of our wild, whirlwind week of vacationing in Ireland. You might wonder how so.

The weather patterns that are normal for any given area at any given time of the year have not been so this year. We could say the same for our whirlwind visit and the excursions we packed into just five days.

Our focus was our new granddaughter and family we had not seen in months. Building that bond to last who knew how long was important because I wanted the same kind of relationship with my granddaughter that I had with my grandma.

On the other hand, traveling half way across the globe we wanted to see as many sites as we could. We wanted to interact with the local people, get to know how they ate, what they drank, what they did for entertainment. We also wanted to see the countryside, castles and of course to shop.

We managed to get a little bit of all of our desires. Were we satisfied? Yes and no. Seems somewhat undecided I know.

However, our auto transport business would soon come to be like our vacation. Some days we love what we do and some days I would sell it to the lowest bidder, (wink wink). We had to learn to take the good with the bad. Most businesses and even some jobs are like that, are they not? Vacations can be the same way.

Save the best for last

The day came when we had one last chance to see two more major sites, shop for souvenirs and spend precious time with our family. Going over our list of must do’s we asked our kids which sites they would chose if time only allowed one day.

Since they had visited Ireland twice prior to moving there to live awhile, they both agreed that we must visit the Blarney Castle and Muckross Manor. Both were rich in history, both happy and sad. At the end of the day, we all were happy we had agreed to bide by their recommendation and enjoy every minute of our day together.

Blarney, most famous of all
(Blarney Castle Tower)
The next adventure took us to the most famous of Irish castles, the Blarney Castle. Built some six hundred years ago it houses the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that once you kiss the stone you will never be at a loss for words again.
Did I kiss it? Are you crazy, no way was I going to put my lips to some stone that millions of others had kissed, can you say “germs“?
(Son-in-law, Nate kissing Blarney stone)

The grounds were the greenest green, finely groomed and manicured. Fir trees dotted the grounds and an icy stream flowed through bordering the privately owned manor house across the fields.

Have you ever watched a movie where the castle is under attack and the resident knights are pouring hot oil or tar on their attackers? In one area of the castle, you could see the small ledge where they stood. It was scary to see signs of where the hot liquid wore down the rock wall when it fell onto the unsuspecting assailants. Just thinking about the purpose of the “murder holes” in the walls gave us chills.

(Murder holes in castle walls for hot tar)

As we entered into the courtyard, we caught our first glimpse of what a real catwalk looked like. The walkway was about three feet wide, four to five feet off the green garden below and very uneven. Full of inset rock, dirt and debris it was not easy to walk on. Can you imagine running for your life? Imagine carrying a bucket of hot oil or tar while running to protect your castle from intruders.

(Catwalk of Blarney Castle)

There were many more cool places and things to see inside the castle walls. One room was a bedroom. It was evident that all one would do is sleep and dress inside as it was very small. The width of the room was about five feet, I could not even lie across it, it was too short. The length might have been about ten feet and the floor was stone, not even at that. Straw softened the floor for lying down. Can you imagine?

The largest rooms we remember were the kitchen and great hall where large dining tables presented the meals to royalty and guests. I quickly left behind the preconceived idea of princesses in lovely gowns running on high-heeled shoes looking glamorous at this castle.

Muckross House from royalty to rags

(Muckross House)

We visited several other locations before arriving at the southern most destinations. The Rock of Cashel deserves a mention. The day it snowed we headed to visit this amazing castle, but due to the inclimate weather it was closed.

The exterior of the site was breathtaking. Built on pure bedrock it was unbelievable how with the tools of the day they were able to construct a building that has withstood war, wealth, poverty and harsh weather for hundreds of years.

Also on our way to the Muckross House was the Beara Peninsula, Bantry Bay. We viewed the bay from the side of the road. Our daughter pointed out where they grow and harvest oysters on one end of the bay.

We could see across the inlet, the hillsides and the endless mountains covered by mist. The solid rock tunnel we traveled through to get to the other side of the mountain took my breath away, literally. It was scary to enter an unlit tunnel, hand carved by man with only the light at the end of the tunnel and our headlights to show the way. It was quite an experience.

Our final day’s outing ended with a bang. The Muckross House, near Killarney had such a rich history. Queen Victoria was a regular guest during the Great Depression, also known as the Potato Famine. She and her entourage escaped the duties of the Royal family to vacation in seclusion at the lake.

As we entered the huge mahogany doors the first thing we saw was a sign, “NO FLASH PICTURES”. Preserving the antiques and beautiful interior decorations is no small feat. We honored those instructions.

However, I sure wish I had pictures of the eight foot wide solid mahogany staircase and the lavishly decorated great rooms. I have never seen anything so exotic, rich and beautiful.

I hope that you will visit the link to Muckross House because the story of the building of the house is incredible. More incredible than that story though is the story of the families who have resided within its walls. The story of riches to poverty was very sad. The possession of land and the rewards that went with being a landowner is a lesson of managing our assets. The lesson and sadness of losing the property and status is a hard one to bear.
The lessons of business and wealth transcend the centuries. If only we would pay attention and learn the lessons from those that have gone before us. Surely, we would benefit not only our business, and our future generations, but ourselves too.
And so, it was with much heartache and tears our tour of Ireland and visit with our family drew to a close. Many lessons were learned while enjoying the whole experience of international travel.

Upon our return home we had no time to dwell on our hurting hearts or minds. Our auto transport business awaited our well trained listening ear and busy hands to serve our new clients.

All preconceived ideas about Irish castles and auto transport we left behind. Today, we enjoy sharing our travels, lessons and success with our family and friends alike. Our coaching clients enjoy the benefit of avoiding those lessons we learned early on. It is to their success and auto transport businesses that we dedicate these stories in the hope that they too will enjoy valued time with their friends and family as we have.

We need your help! Join us won’t you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!

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Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
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