Celtic Lands treats Jayhawks to breathtaking views, educational lectures and historical tributes

Posted on Jun 15, 2017 in News

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The Celtic Lands trip offered by Gohagan & Company is the perfect balance of breathtaking views, educational lectures, and historical significance. This is exactly the type of trip I want to experience when traveling the world. Along with my fellow Flying Jayhawks travelers, we embarked on a true Celtic adventure from the Highlands of Scotland to the beaches of Normandy with stops in Wales and Ireland in between.

We began our adventure in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. From Oban to Mallaig, we viewed Glencoe, Scotland’s most scenic glen, and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Harry Potter fans may be familiar with our mode of transportation, The Jacobite steam train, otherwise known as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter film series. The Jacobite steam train is “one of the great railway journeys of the world” that takes travelers through awe-inspiring natural landscapes.

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Over the course of our next few days in Scotland we visited the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic castles in the world, Armadale Castle’s gardens, and Duart Castle. Just when I thought I’d seen all the castles possible for one trip, we arrived in North Wales. As we pulled into the charming town of Caernarfon, I thought about the castle to walk around, stop at a coffee shop and do some shopping, but then the Caernarfon Castle came into view. There was no way I was going to miss seeing this one! This impenetrable 13th-century fortress is also where the investiture of Prince Charles of Wales took place in 1969.

After a quick stop in Dublin, Ireland, we spent a day at sea crossing the Celtic Sea and English Channel making our way to the Normandy Beaches. As I stood on Omaha Beach, surveyed the surrounding area, and imagined the Allied forces landing on June 6, 1944, otherwise known as D-Day, I was overcome with reverence. The courage, bravery, and conviction exemplified by the heroic soldiers who were part of Operation Overlord is overwhelming. Walking the same territories that were the battlefields of Normandy brings an understanding of the realities of World War II.

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One of the highlights of the trip was the company of Dwight David Eisenhower II and his wife Julie Nixon Eisenhower. David, the grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower and World War II historian, shared his wealth of knowledge with a lecture featuring the concept, planning, and personalities behind the D-Day invasion and the big-picture consequences of the Allied Forces’ Normandy landings. The Eisenhowers added additional wisdom to our trip, plus they have a great affinity for Kansans!

Our Flying Jayhawk travelers had a great experience representing KU in the Celtic Lands. Jayhawks sure are everywhere!

—Jacey Krehbiel, serves as assistant director of membership and business development and hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Celtic Lands.” For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the new 2018 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.