Remember the old line “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”? Well this time Mother Nature fooled us!
On 4-14-10 a volcano in Iceland with a long, unpronounceable name erupted. A few hours later I read an article about it online and immediately posted it on my Ireland Travel Forum. I like to keep my readers up to date with happenings that might affect them. Little did I know that a small island called “the land of fire and ice” would impact a huge segment of the world. And who in the world would ever think you couldn’t get to Ireland because of a volcano?
The next day one of the members of my forum posted saying that just before leaving for her flight to Ireland she checked in at my forum and learned of the problem. Others quickly followed saying their flights were delayed or canceled. They were the fortunate ones. They had not begun their journeys to Ireland yet. They were at home and could change their plans. Disappointing, sure, but at least they weren’t stuck at the airport.
I personally had my airfare and reservations for my trip to Ireland. I had just run the infamous, painful gauntlet of renting a car in Ireland and had settled on Dan Dooley – $499 total for 29 days.
I called my neighbor who was to drop us at MARTA for a train to the airport. She was due to leave for Germany herself a few days after my flight. It was the first she had heard of the problem. She quickly learned that her flight was at jeopardy too.
An ash cloud from the volcano rapidly covered northern Europe. Soon the chaos at the world’s airports was reported on the news. Airspace was closed over much of Europe. Planes were grounded. People were stuck where they were. Some were trying to depart for a trip. Others were trying to get home. I don’t envy the poor souls who had to camp out and sleep at the world’s airports. Been there, done that. It is not fun.
My husband and I watched the news as flights were canceled. Soon our flight was too. But we were spending a month in Ireland. Much more time than the average traveler can spare. We hoped that the ash cloud would clear and we might get three weeks in Ireland instead.
Because I write a guidebook about Ireland – Ireland Dream Trip – I need to spend time in the country. I usually spend a month a few times a year. I figure if I am going all that way and buying the airfare, I might as well stay for a while to get the most out of the trip. It is just not worth the money to spend less time and do less business.
We watched the news. The volcano continued spewing ash. The ash cloud spread making a permanent home over European airspace. Now even three weeks in Ireland was not in the cards. It was time to make an executive decision and pull the plug on our trip to Ireland. I had previously changed some of my reservations. Today I am canceling the remainder of my reservations.
Liz at Arthur’s Wood Lodge , Mary at Bunratty Lodge and Annette at Loch Lein were very understanding. I am especially disappointed to be canceling Castle View B&B in Glenarm and Strandwell Cottage near Armagh that I reserved in Northern Ireland. The hosts were so nice and kind. I was really looking forward to meeting them and to my stay. But I’m sure they understand the unprecedented situation.
Ireland will always be there waiting for us to come and visit another time. The land of “a hundred thousand welcomes” will eventually win out over “the land of fire and ice”.
TODAY’S SCORE: VOLCANO 1. Michele 0.
Volcano wins every time!
© 2010 Michele Erdvig