Killarney where we will be Friday night GW

I’ve written before in these blogs about the relationship between retirement and going on holiday. Specifically whether holidays feel different when you’re retired. I suppose logically they should. You know that old chestnut about retirement being one long holiday so why would a person even need a holiday when they’re retired? I guess it all depends on the nature or even quality of your retirement. Again as I’ve written before we have friends who live purely to segue from one holiday, one trip, one cruise to the next. Their need for holidays seem undiminished. Others move from one house to another and regard this as their holiday. Or, in our case, when  we seem, one way or another, to be working about as hard as pre-retirement what with gardening business, house renovations, vineyard tending, music playing and the rest, a holiday seems both deserved and much needed.

I’m writing this blog a couple of days before we set off across the Irish Sea for our annual holiday in Ireland. I think it’s reasonable to describe it in those terms, this is our fourth visit to Dunquin, County Kerry, in three years. Something we’ve never done before being of the ‘life’s too short to go back to the same place when there are so many marvellous places in the world to explore’, school of thought. We did go to Scotland last autumn and Mrs Summerhouse tells me we will be visiting some Welsh vineyards this autumn so we haven’t completely lost the idea that a holiday needs to be somewhere different each year, but it’s fading a bit. What is for sure is that, since the pups, any travelling involving flying to other continents has definitely gone out the window and consequently driving to somewhere closer at hand is a more sensible option, so Ireland it is.

But that’s good, land of our parents or half in my case, my father being born in Limerick, a city we shall be visiting again on return journey. I keep telling myself I should make more effort to trace my father’s ancestry when we’re in the city. I know that’s where he was born in the barracks of the 5th Royal Munster Fusiliers regiment where his father, a career soldier, was stationed at the time. My intentions are good each time we go but the road to hell and those intentions…

We are doing it slightly differently this year. In previous years we have got off the ferry and driven to Killarney which has taken us, with a stop for the dogs, 5 hours. It’s not difficult driving, the roads are so good now (they weren’t always) but it is tedious and tiring and not fair on the dogs. So this time we’re only going to drive as far as a place called Nenagh, a couple of hours from Dublin I think, chosen at random and because it has a dog-friendly hotel (a comparative rarity in Ireland). Then on to Killarney and our usual dog-friendly hotel. By the time this blog gets posted assuming I set the technology up correctly, that’s where we will be. Then on to the Dingle peninsular, West Kerry and our holiday house, the same one as the last three visits, for a fortnight’s relaxation – we hope, we need a little or even a lot of this. Our daughter and son-in-law will join us for a few days in the middle and, as I know he reads this blog, I can only say, and that will be very nice as they’re good company. No actually they are.

We tend not to look forward to, or even anticipate, up-coming holidays, not when we were working and not now we’re theoretically retired. Not sure why. But this time we have, at least more than usual. Only this morning, on our pup walk through the park, Mrs Summerhouse was heard to utter the words – I’m really looking forward to Ireland. Be quiet you little fool, I thought, do you want to tempt fate. And it did feel a little like that. In our three previous visits things had gone remarkably smoothly. The house was great, the location remarkable and the weather, yes the weather, in Ireland, just fantastic. How long could our good fortune last? Would this be the time when we are rained in for two weeks? Keep reading future blogs.

So exactly why we’ve joined the ‘holidays are important even when retired’ club this year I’m not entirely sure. True, there’s an element or wanting to get away from our retirement life as it is currently constituted and I include in that our dear son staying with us for two months or maybe more? He’s going to paint the house while we’re away to earn some money and not get in the way of our gardeners. Oh, what have we done? What will our quite nice-looking house resemble when we get back?

There have been a few other stressful bits and pieces although I must bear in mind what I wrote about the positive effects of stress on aging in my last blog. On the  whole there has been a bit more of a feeling of we need to get away for a while this year which I suppose lends weight to the idea that holidays are important even to a largely happily retired couple – that’s us in case you didn’t recognise the description. Whatever the reasons there’s definitely been more of a sense of anticipation this time compared with our more usual, oh, we’re off on holiday again, doesn’t seem all that long since the last time and this is a longer break – between October and May than the next one between May and September / October.

So, in summary, while I cannot speak for all retired peoples, from our point of view a holiday does seem quite important in our retirement but the only slight puzzle is that this one seems slightly more important than the holidays we have taken in the previous nearly four years of our retirement. And having said that, I’m not entirely sure why that should be. Suffice it to say that if I do discover the reason I will share it with you. Ahh, retirement land of unending mysteries.

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