EPC Employee Spotlight: August 2022

April 10, 2023

EPC feature writer Ann Mead Ash and her husband, Scot, traveled to Ireland this past
spring. They left on April 22 with a planned return of May 1, but their trip got extended
to May 6. Ann recently took some time to share a bit about her trip:

What was the draw to Ireland?
I have wanted to go there all my life, ever since I was a child and I learned my
father’s family came from there! I used to talk to my Irish great-grandmother about
her life there, and I have tried to go three times prior to this trip.

How did you feel when you finally set foot on Irish soil?
I took photos from the plane before we landed; I wanted to record my first vision of
Ireland. After that, I felt tired! We had to drive 90 minutes to Tralee, with Scot driving
on the left side of the road and shifting with his left hand … and there are tons of
roundabouts and the GPS they gave us was ancient. It was a harrowing trip, and we
were worn out after all night on a plane.

What was your favorite aspect of the trip?
Sneem! Sneem is a tiny town on the Ring of Kerry. It was exactly what we expecte d
in Ireland – a small town with a pub, and we sat and talked to the owner.

What were some other highlights?
Seeing the Cliffs of Moher was amazing, and even more so because we would not
have gone there had our trip not been extended. The first few days, we specifically
visited the places where my family lived before they left for the U.S. in 1881: the
church where I believe my great-great-grandparents were married and places in
Tralee where I found their address in the 1880s. At the church, I took my shoes off
and walked barefoot in the grass, and that was so cool! Also, I ran from the main road
to that church, and I also ran from the church at Ballyferriter (the family name was
Ferriter) almost to the Gallarus Oratory, which is the oldest Christian structure in

What was a favorite Irish dish you tried while you were there?
At Kirby’s Brogue Inn on Rock Street in Tralee, I ate Irish blended vegetable soup,
which is nothing like American vegetable soup. The soup is hard to describe. There’s a
spice in it – maybe rosemary – and it’s topped with cheese. It has potatoes, parsley,
garlic, carrots, and onions, and they are all blended together. I had it twice, and it
was amazing. We plan to make it at home we like it so much.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am so glad I went! The scenery was mind-blowingly gorgeous. We were
overwhelmed by it so many times. The people were lovely. Really, really nice. It was
worth the wait. I wish I hadn’t had to wait so long, but it was worth it. I highly
recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going.