Nearly a month after being refused entry into Ireland, the Wyoming woman who visits Ireland on a yearly basis has decided to give it another shot.
Tessa Fowler, 38, was refused entry into Ireland by the Dublin Police Immigration Bureau on July 16 on the grounds that she did not have a return ticket.
Fowler, who contacted the Irish Voice/IrishCentral only days after she was forced to return to the U.S., has spent the past four weeks coming to terms with what happened in Dublin in July.
She was shocked, distraught, angry and most of all sad that she missed out on visiting a country that she adores.
“I was so upset not to have been allowed in,” said Fowler, who is of Irish and Scottish descent.
“I came home thinking all that time, effort and money I put into having this holiday were lost. I was in shock for a while over it, then the fighting Irish with a little stubborn Scottish came out in me and I knew I could still make this happen.”
After weeks of phone calls to the Immigration Bureau in Ireland, dozens of letters, emails and voice mails to various Irish governmental agencies both in the U.S. and in Ireland but with little response, Fowler decided to take a chance again and booked a return ticket to Ireland, due to fly out of New York on August 27 and arrive the next day. She will stay 20 days – if she’s permitted entry.
Fowler, who claims Irish ancestry, was in Ireland five times in the last three years. July was to be her sixth trip. Fowler’s best friend, a girl she grew up with, now lives in Cork with her child and husband.
Fowler, a financial assistant, once wrote an article in the Better Homes and Gardens about her trips to Ireland and how she enjoys cooking Irish food.
The Wyoming woman was turned away from Ireland at Dublin Airport in July after a lengthy interrogation session by a female Irish immigration officer.
Fowler, a mother of three boys, was unable to produce a return ticket — she often travels on one way because she doesn’t always know what date she wants to return — leading the immigration officer to think she was planning to stay in Ireland long term. She has never stayed more than three weeks.
An immigration officer in Dublin told the Irish Voice/IrishCentral that Fowler was refused entry on “strong grounds.”
On her previous trips, Fowler flew to Shannon. However, this year she was unable to get a Shannon touchdown so she flew to Dublin on a one-way ticket.
After being turned back at Shannon and sent on a plane back to the U.S. Fowler decided to not let it spoil her vacation. She booked a return flight from the U.S. to Manchester, England.
But immigration officers in England saw that she had been refused entry into Ireland two days before and they too questioned her. She was also refused into Britain.
Fowler was back on a plane headed for the U.S. again. She had spent $4,000 without a vacation.
The immigration officer in Dublin said that Fowler’s chances of ever getting back into Ireland will always be up in the air.
“She has been refused here once before and then refused in England so it going to be difficult for her to come back,” said the officer.
He suggested that Fowler bring a letter from an Irish citizen as a reference and proof that she has dependents in the U.S. awaiting her return, and a return plane ticket. Fowler has all these documents and more to take back with her to Ireland.
Fowler said there are a few reasons she has decided to give Ireland another go.
“I haven't been back in a year and I worked hard all year long for this holiday and I just love Ireland very much. It has a special place in my heart,” Fowler said.
“I didn't take any time off during the holidays and put some serious hours in each week sometimes working overtime to be able to afford the time off and have this holiday.
“ My youngest son Brandon goes to visit his father each summer for three months, and that is when I have my me time to go and travel and relax before it is back to work and being a full time mother.”
Determined to get enough money to go back to Ireland and have an enjoyable vacation, she came up with a unique idea to raise the much needed funds for her return trip.
“I love a challenge and always rise up and meet it head on. I knew I could do this like I do everything in my life, with hard work and determination so that is when I thought about using my culinary talent and selling my gourmet Irish breads door to door to raise the money to do this,” she said.
To date, Fowler has spent hours every day baking various different loaves of soda bread, including a special Guinness loaf.
“I load them up on a cart and walk door to door around town for two to three hours selling them. I do this every day weather permitting,” she says.
So far Fowler has raised $667. She also takes orders from people via phone or email. She hopes to raise $2,000 for the trip.
“I plan on doing this up until two days before I leave to go back. I already purchased my ticket so whatever I make will go towards my holiday fund.”
Fowler, who went to her local newspaper with the story, received a tremendous response from her local community. She comes from Dayton, Wyoming, a small town of 678 people.
“Everyone here in my town has been very supportive and since it is a small community they know who I am and what matters to me. They know how hard I work and how devoted I am to my kids. So they have stood behind me 100 percent,” she said.
For now Fowler will continue to bake to support her trip to Ireland and is confident when she arrives in Ireland on August 28 she will be welcomed with open arms.