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Great service makes international travel possible.

On Sunday afternoon we visited Strokestown House and the Irish National Famine Museum in Co. Sligo, Ireland.  It was a unique and memorable experience.  The weather was fantastic, but the warmest part was the wonderful treatment we received from the guides and staff at the site.

Strokestown House is a Georgian Palladian mansion preserved with its original furnishings and fabrics.  We always do our homework on an attraction in advance, if we can.  In this case, their website said they were wheelchair accessible, but that doesn’t always mean Nick can get around.  We were pleasantly surprised.

From the moment we went into the shop, the staff was engaged in assisting us, including helping Nick have the best experience possible.  They offer a guided tour of the house and self-directed tour of the famine museum and gardens.  A staffer began by suggesting the best schedule and route to see the entire site.

We were on a guided tour with 35 others, including three individuals with different wheeled transport devices.  The guide said that those visiting with the wheelchairs, etc. were invited to go up a ramp to a side door to join the tour.  We were brought into the great hall and the guide didn’t start his dialogue until we all were settled.

This inclusive attitude continued throughout the hour-long tour.  Whenever the group moved from one room to another, the guide facilitated those with special needs to be able to hear the information and see the artifacts.  Though young and enthusiastic, he carried this off with a gentle patience.

Nick didn’t want to see some of the rooms and the guide allowed Arden to stay with him in the great hall, looking at the portraits on the wall as the rest of the group moved into the next room.

The famine museum was very well done and told the story in a thorough, easy to understand way.  It was sobering.  I was grateful we had received the counsel to finish the afternoon with a peaceful, calming walk through the six acre walled garden.

The kind, helpful manner of those at Strokestown is just one example of the service we have received when we travel with Nick.  The places we have gone would be impossible for us to take him without the support of those in the travel and tour industry.  Their dedication to serving their customers, particularly those with special needs, is crucial to us.

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.