“It’s not good-bye, it’s a bientot,” Tourism Ireland’s departing Canadian boss, Jayne Shackleford, told a group of travel trade types in Toronto yesterday as she prepared for what some might call “Jayne’s Excellent Adventure.”
Shackleford – and many out there will be envious – is taking a year off to do some of the things that she wants to do and do it with her husband and her children.
Her departure comes after 16 years with the tourist board, or actually tourist boards. The first five with Northern Ireland in New York and the past 11 years here in Toronto with Tourism Ireland.
During that time, Shackleford is quick to point out that the Tourism Ireland team here has certainly accomplished a lot and she told the Toronto gathering that she’s leaving at a time when Irish tourism is in a good place here in Canada. Pointing to the bountiful airlift – both seasonal and year-round – the destination now has out of Canada, not to mention the record arrival numbers that Ireland has been posting to make her point.
“It’s all good,” she said, before telling her friends and colleagues that when she wraps things up on Aug. 1, she’s off to Belfast with her husband and her kids and plans to travel around Ireland, stop for a time with family in Belfast, head off to Mexico, then back to Italy and Portugal and by this time next year, she’ll be back in Toronto.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Shackleford told the gathering. “I’m emotional. I’m excited. I’m sad. It’s all about the people I’ve met [here]. I call you work colleagues, but you’re really my friends. I have such fond memories. I have been surrounded by good people so I’m leaving you in good hands.”
So what’s left to be said, perhaps just this:
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
All the best, Jayne, have an excellent adventure …
(Seen in Photo: Tourism Ireland’s Helen Cole and Jayne Shackleford)