Today its my pleasure to welcome back Carla Neggers to the blog, her holiday tale, A Knights Bridge Christmas, was wonderful and so is her guest post about a family trip to the Emerald Isle. She's giving away an autographed copy of the book to three entrants!
Good luck and Enjoy!
Ah, the ghost of Christmas past. For me, it’s mostly a happy ghost, one that brings wonderful memories. I’m the third of seven siblings — all of us born within nine years! — and as kids, Christmas was always a whirlwind of fun, food, sledding and lots and lots of wrapping paper. We’re still a tight-knit lot. Most years, we’re home for Christmas, but in 2007, my husband, our daughter, her husband and our son all snagged a great deal and took off to Ireland together. This was BG: Before Grandchildren. What an experience!
We were warned Ireland would be cold, dark and wet in December…and this was, indeed, the case, but we loved it. We arrived in a bustling Dublin on Christmas Eve. Jet-lagged, we wandered onto Grafton Street to see the shops and decorations. Brown Thomas, Dublin’s iconic department store, was a sight to behold with its decorated windows, lights and crowds. We ran into carolers and street musicians, eager last-minute shoppers and wide-eyed children. By early evening, Dublin was shutting down for Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day on December 26th. By some standards, not the best time for visiting the city, with its famous pubs, restaurants and museums closed, but absolutely no complaints. Our hotel offered an incredible Christmas Day buffet — it was like being in the middle of a Harry Potter movie.
On Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day, we explored the city on foot, setting out to the beautiful, historic campus of Trinity College (the Book of Kells exhibition was closed, of course), along the river, to a castle, through an unusually deserted Temple Bar and into Georgian Dublin, with its famous brightly-painted doors and quaint greens. We checked out every statue in St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin. Who would take time for that if things were open?
We had Christmas Eve tea in a gorgeous dining room, with memorable scones and mincemeat tarts, and we indulged in our first-ever whiskey tasting. On the 27th, we drove to the southwest coast. We were home by New Year’s Eve. I had no idea, then, the role that Ireland would play in my upcoming novels — characters, such as Father Finian Bracken, who were perhaps born on this trip.
Best of all, of course, was experiencing an Irish Christmas with our gang. Our son-in-law is of Irish descent — he lived in Ireland as a baby — and he and our daughter spent their honeymoon there. For many years, we couldn’t travel, and we feel blessed and grateful to have made this trip together. This year, we’ll all be together on our hilltop in Vermont, including our grandson, six, and our granddaughter, three, and baby #3 on the way, due in April. We just found out it’s a girl!
Wherever Christmas finds you, here’s to a happy, wonderful time that you can enjoy now and look back upon with a smile.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Carla Neggers has been spinning stories ever since she climbed a tree with pad and pen at age eleven. Now she is the New York Times bestselling author of almost 70 novels, with millions of books sold in over 30 countries. Her popular Sharpe & Donovan romantic suspense series featuring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan launched with Saint’s Gate in 2011 and has been praised as “a breathtaking reading experience” (Providence Journal) and “gripping and suspenseful” (Nashua Telegraph). In 2012, her Swift River Valley series debuted with Secrets of the Lost Summer, which garnered a starred review from Booklist and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews and shot onto the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
The Giveaway is for 1 autographed copy to three winners!
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