I thought about many options but in the end chose to go on a trip my son and I had been dreaming about for years. My son Corbin McKinnon (who is blind and a member of The Next Stop) is very invested in his Celtic ancestry. He is an accomplished musician on bagpipes, loves other Celtic music, and enjoys the Gaelic language. He has already taken trips to his ancestral homeland in Scotland where he visited the graves of the last McKinnon clan in his line that lived there and also visited the graves of the ones who first came to the eastern part of North Carolina in the Laurinburg area.
But the one place we really wanted to experience the Celtic culture was where many Scottish and Irish people came to North America and where it has remained a mecca of Celtic culture…. Nova Scotia (particularly Cape Breton Island) and Prince Edward Island. Last July we took a glorious trip and enjoyed lots of fabulous music, exquisite scenery, history, lobster, oysters and mussels to eat, boat/ferry rides, Anne of Green Gables history, a cidery and a distillery visit and most important, tons and tons of fun together.
One of our reasons for going was the music and a favorite part of the trip was the participation in lots of live musical events called “Ceilidhs”, the Gaelic word for impromptu party with lots of kinds of music, dancing and joking. We went to a Celidh (pronounced “kay-lee”) almost every night. Corbin even got to participate in some of them. He also was able to play his bagpipes in places rich with Celtic tradition and culture.
It was an amazing blessing and celebrated an important transition in Corbin’s life so it was extra fun and wonderful. We feel so fortunate to have finally made this trip and to carry and recall the memories with each other frequently. Thank you to The Next Stop for making it possible.
Beth Allgood Justice