As you might have calculated, we returned to the U.S. on that Saturday that the world saw those crazy pictures at O’Hare after the President’s announcement to shut down the U.S. [Nothing like hearing from him that “no one from Europe” will be allowed back to the U.S. and taking 2 hours from 1:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m. to confirm that the rules were actually not applying to U.S. citizens nor to flights from Ireland!]
And the end of our trip was definitely informed by the fact that we were coming home to a world quite different from one we left. Our fun travel story included several long lines (luckily in Dublin for customs and not Chicago); a plane that finally took off with no luggage on it (!) since they couldn’t take the time to sort the bags between those who made it through customs and those who were detained; and then another 2 hour line at Aer Lingus to fill out a form to claim our bag! Now that we can confirm all bags have returned home and, more importantly, all participants have remained safe and healthy, I can comfortably say this was just another layer to our memorable trip. I am truly grateful that we were able to have this last trip before we all came home to lockdown.
This trip and experience provided an avenue to understand Irish culture in a way that few can. We were able to delve past the pubs — though we delved into many as well — into a troubled, but deeply passionate, resilient and committed culture.
We left with better appreciation for the nuances and complications of living in a post-conflict society, where it doesn’t seem to many as a “post” but rather a new normal – a notion we can perhaps better relate to now.
Many thanks to our wonderful crew of students for their insightful reflections, and Marquette University Law School for support. I really appreciated my colleagues, Nadelle Grossman and Ed Fallone — two newbies to this week-long trip experience for coming and for being outstanding partners — particularly as the end of our trip coincided with the end of normalcy.
Our travel agents and planners on the ground — Bespoke Business Events — did an amazing job and I really would just do the entire itinerary again. We all missed Natalie Fleury this time around, who was not able to come, and look forward to the next trip with her. And, to our blog readers, thank you for following along with our journey, your interest and attention. Our hope is the blogs gave you a sense of the range of our trip and all that we learned while providing a bit of an escape. Be well and stay healthy. As the Irish would say: Slainte!
[Cross-posted at Indisputably.]