I shouldn't be surprised but it still catches me off guard when I encounter the genuine sincerity of the Irish. Something as simple as a message on Twitter brings out the warm friendliness that I have come to know and love.
After I replied to a beautiful photo of Galway and mentioned I would be there soon, this is the response I received from Tourism Ireland - "We will have the kettle on for you. ;) What will you be doing in Galway? ".
They don't ask out of politeness, they really want to know. This is something that as an American has always surprised and delighted me. In the US it's usually just a passing statement with little or no response expected.
What followed was a wonderful exchange and information on Edwards Hotels in Louth and Galway. Now when I'm there I will make it a point to stop in for a cuppa and perhaps meet some of these lovely people.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Sunday, March 22, 2015
It was a beautiful day in Colorado and my friend was coming for a visit. We decided to go to Estes Park for the weekend. We talked as we drove up the mountain; he asked if that was where the hotel that Stephen King wrote about in "The Shining” was. Yes, I answered and drove on, thinking nothing more of it. What a glorious day - blue sky, beautiful scenery, a perfect way to begin our trip.
As we approached the overlook we saw Rocky Mountain National Park rising up in the background, what a spectacular sight. We drove toward town and noticed a striking white building on the hill. Neither of us knew what it was so we decided to investigate. As we drove closer we marveled at the perfectly manicured grounds and then saw the sign “The Stanley Hotel”. We agreed that we had to see it but were sure it must be out of our price range.
As we entered the property, the massive white gates opened to a large patio. The lobby was beautifully decorated; leather chairs surrounded stone fireplaces, antique tables with fresh flowers brightened every corner, it was warm and inviting. We inquired about the rates and were surprised they had a special price for the night, so we decided to stay. After checking in, the desk clerk informed us that the hotel was haunted and that they had ghost tours in the basement after dark. We thought it was amusing and a good tourist attraction but declined.
As we climbed the stairs we noticed the air changing, it became heavy and dense. The brightness of the lobby faded as we walked toward our room. We opened the door and immediately were struck with the closeness of the space. Not only was it very small but there seemed to be no air circulating. We decided immediately that this would not be comfortable and asked to change rooms. They moved us to a large, beautifully appointed suite with a great view of the mountains.
We enjoyed a luxurious meal at the restaurant and continued to marvel at the wonderful surroundings. We planned on going into town later and do some sightseeing but never left the hotel. Throughout the evening, several people approached me saying I looked like someone they knew. When I went downstairs to the ladies room, I felt a chill in the air. The entire time I was there I felt as though I was being watched, it made me very uneasy and I hurried back to our table. My friend laughed when I told him and reminded me about the ghost tours, it was funny and I quickly put it aside.
It was getting late so we decided to go back up to the room. As we talked I felt a draft of cold air and looked to see where it was coming from. I saw an apparition of a man step through one of the doorways and disappear. Just then, my friend asked if someone was behind him. Standing over his shoulder I could see the faint outline of a young girl. We both were stunned, not sure what was happening. Slowly we began to speak, this felt like a child’s spirit nothing malevolent or frightening. Suddenly, the energy changed dramatically, the room filled with cold air and a bright light flashed across the room and splashed on the bureau mirror. It felt as though dozens of very angry people were trying to get into the room.
It was 2:00 a.m. and seemed strange to check out in the middle of the night but we could not stay. We were relieved to see a friendly night clerk at the desk. She informed us that this was a regular occurrence and that she had seen some extraordinary things herself. We talked to her for sometime and then she told me I looked very much like a woman who passed away many years ago. We drove back down the mountain in silence; years later I still think about what we encountered in that strange and dark place. I have never returned to the Stanley or to Estes Park.