Travel Expert Talk Show Radio Host Stephanie Abrams - Info
Radio Show Host, Travel Expert, Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog

Radio Guest Mary Reynolds, Winner of Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show, Feature Film Now at Netflix!

Castle Leslie, Home of the Leslie Family, Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland

Squint and you’ll see Broadcast Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in the doorway!

If you haven’t heard the interview I did with Mary Reynolds from County Wicklow, Ireland after I saw the feature film about her, “Dare to Be Wild,” on a flight from Boston to Dublin, you can click here to visit the Show Notes where, if you click on Hour 1 either in mp3 or Windows Media format, you can hear the interview and click here to reach the  Directory we have created for you to reach more info about Mary’s achievements.  The film is such an inspiration that encapsulates the passion and focused spirit that I find is embedded in the DNA of Irish people . . . who live in Ireland. I hasten to add that end bit because that spirit, while it lives on, to some degree, in some of Irish descents, I think planned, recurring visits to Ireland are essential for Irish descendants to keep that spirit alive and burning with a roaring flame within their beings, or the culture surrounding them wherever they live suppresses more and more of the natural characteristics of the Irish personality, mentality and culture.  When you are in Ireland, the same incidents that will evoke rage and anger and snarky responses here in America, will evoke laughter and compassion and a caring response.  One day in Ireland presents the visitor with so many memorable interactions with local folks presenting object lessons in friendliness, care, compassion, curiosity, passion for everything they touch and do, from the minuscule to the monumental, from crafts to arts, and all wrapped up with a sense of humor, a sense of self, a sense of what is important in life based on a deep knowledge and understanding of the history of the Irish that only exists because of musicians and lyricists who wrote the history of Ireland and the Irish in their music as the ONLY way to pass the stories along to future generations given that a written history was forbidden by the British, Bless their Hearts (as my Southern Family would add). So while a visit to Ireland is an important prescription for a healthy life, a visit for an Irish descendant living anywhere else in the world is as important as breathing itself! Note: Since I was a leprechaun in a previous lifetime, I fit into a special category of those who need to return to restoreth the soul and spirit).

I tried for the last couple of years, since I saw the film, Dare to Be Wild, to buy a DVD of  the film, tracing my way to living, breathing  Mary Reynolds, about whom this feature film was produced.  With the help of my very dear friend Mark Leslie, whose family owns Castle Leslie in County Monaghan where Paul McCartney, referred to as “Paul McCarthy,” by Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie,  married Heather Mills and where my husband and I hosted the wedding guests and the wedding events of a family member where the friends and family of the groom and the friends of the bride were our guests for a three-day stay at the castle, I was able to reach Mary’s email and mobile phone! Mark knows everything and everybody and is my go-to resource for more than you can imagine!  Happily, the wedding we made possible at Castle Leslie  seems to have worked as, unlike Paul and Heather, they are still married. They truly belong together.

Broadcast travel expert Stephanie Abrams with Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie, at Castle Leslie celebrating Sammy Leslie’s 40th birthday and Uncle Jack’s 90th!

Q. What do you give someone, whose family trust just invested 20 million euro improving the castle and grounds, for her 40th birthday?

A.  A horse I made from parts bought at Target, created into Castle Leslie’s Equestrian Centre’s Princess  imported to Ireland & assembled there!

Today, I received a note from Sammy (Samantha) Leslie, alerting me to a facebook posting by Mary Reynolds who was clearly Born to be associated with all things Wild. . . but not in the sense you are jumping to conclude. Mary was clearly born to be immersed among all things wild and is a poster child for Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way (although she lives across Ireland in County Wicklow almost as far east as one can get in Ireland).  But I  think Mary identifies in her heart and soul and spirit with the “wild things”. . . the flowers and grasses and naturally occurring plants that the birds and bees and wind and The Lord have planted in a mystical process  where, even in County Clare where The Burren, a huge area abutting the Atlantic Ocean, completely covered by slabs of stone deposited by the Ice Age’s meltdown, where  it is said, “You won’t find a thief or a tree to hang him from,” you will find, in the crevasses between the stone slabs, tiny wild flowers growing whose seeds have been deposited by birds flying over and the wind blowing in from France. It’s such a miracle to see, in this no-man’s-land with the care of the sun and Irish rain being the only gardener to nurture these plants, that there is beauty in this barren area so close to the Cliffs of Moher, that reflects that Irish spirit of, “You can’t keep us down!” And the Americans I know could so use a massive dose of Ireland!

Stephanie Abrams explores The Burren in County Clare Ireland with a horticulturist providing insights into every tiny flower growing between the slabs of stone seen in the background. Everyone in the group was provided with a shillelagh more to catch the spirit than to support walking through the uneven terrain!

So Sammy Leslie, the sister of the incredibly talented and creative Mark Leslie who is a consultant on my TV show, Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams, which is syndicated by BizTV to over 30 million television households and is available on the BixTV channel on ROKU  as well (Sundays when it’s 5pmET), sent me a note asking if I had seen Mary Reynold’s plea for the plants, and animals, of the planet. This missive so brings to mind and heart the scene in the Spielberg film, “ET,” where ET is pleading for the help he needs in order to survive.  Plants and flowers are connected to Mary Reynolds’ being in the same way, I believe. I  think that if conditions resulted in the demise of bees, whose populations are already in trouble, and butterflies, which we in western Massachusetts rarely see, and other animals that aid in growth and sustainability of wild flowers, I think that, like the Beast in Beauty and the Beast who wilts as the rose in the glass jar wilts, Mary will uniquely feel that pain as others might not.

Mark Leslie leads a private tour for Stephanie to visit The Yeats Exhibit at the National Library in Dublin. . .  a not to be missed exhibit that is FREE because it is funded by Ireland’s Office of Public Works. When you leave this exhibit, you’ll feel as though you’ve just left an afternoon having tea with William Butler Yeats, your good friend. Special thanks to Mark Leslie and his company, Martello Media, based in Co. Dubliln, for their genius in bringing history, culture, literature, and visitor’s experiences at exhibitions and museums to life in a very special way!

I thought you might want to read what Mary had to say and so I invite you to click here to reach my facebook page where I have posted Mary Reynold’s remarks. And, please, treat yourself to viewing “Dare to Be Wild” by whatever means you can, Netflix or otherwise, to view the film. You’ll thank me for it. Everybody needs a swift kick in the pants to unsettle his/her complacency and get up and do the impossible. . . which is what my friends in Ireland do everyday and they do it with a determination, a passion for perfection, a sense of pride and a focus on  accomplishment wrapped up in a sense of humor.  Ya gotta luv ‘em!

Slan agus beannacht to one and all. . . (go Google it!). . . and an early start to celebrating Saint Patrick on his day which, happily is on Sunday so tune in for “Celebrating Saint Patrick in Northern Ireland” on the BizTV Network nationally, on ROKU, and simulcast online at!

Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams broadcasts on TV, on ROKU, and online Sundays at 5pmET globally. Checkout

.Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams broadcasts coast-to-coast in the US on BizTalkRadio Network & streams live on Sundays from 6-9pmET coast-to-coast.

Herself the Elf,

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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