The first, last, and only time I’ve ever been to Ireland was during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. As Presidential Scholars at the University of Toledo, my three best friends and I got to go on a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to Ireland with our University President. The only thing we had to do to earn our travelling keep was give a research presentation before the trip, write a research paper after the trip, and serve as a “University Embassador” for one afternoon while our President signed papers to establish an exchange program between our institution and University College Dublin.

In other words, it was a very sweet deal.

In the summer of 1989, I didn’t bring a camera to Ireland…but my travel buddies did, so thanks to the miracle of modern scanning technology, I can share some images from my very own Wayback Machine.

My fellow Presidential Scholars were also my closest friends in college. That’s me front and center, and from left to right my college roommates Tonya and Linda, Linda’s then-boyfriend Rob, and our “Dad” for the week, University President Frank Horton.

During our week in Ireland, we put the “whirl” in “whirlwind,” landing in Limerick, driving up the west coast as far north as Connemara, then zipping ‘cross country to finish in Dublin, seeing as much countryside as we could along the way. Here’s a pic of Pres Horton standing beside the vehicle we termed the “Terror Mobile” because of his hair-raising driving habits: in the first two days of our trip alone, we hit a parked car and a stone wall, and later in the trip, we somehow drove through a closed-road bicycle race.

Somewhere along the way, we toured one castle…

…and then somewhere else, we visited another…

…and the rest of the trip is one big Terror-Mobilish blur, my only tangible souvenirs being a handful of pictures snapped by others.

I’ve long wanted to go back to Ireland to see it more crisply, to pay closer attention and take better pictures. Someday, I want to visit and stay awhile…but right now, flights are cheap, and there’s no better time than the present to revisit the past…

I’ve cancelled tomorrow’s classes, and today I’m hopping a plane. Next stop, Dublin, where I’ll spend a long weekend before coming back to my regular life in New Hampshire on Monday.

And this time, I’m taking a digicam, pencam, and laptop: stay tuned.