25 September 2009


Ireland- land of my ancestors, land of the people I look like, land of my husband's ancestors, land where my daughter spent a semester abroad, land of my deep, deep roots and where I feel at home on a cellular level. Even the weather cooperated with all 12 days sunny or fair except 1/2 day.
Some highlights: County Clare: a visit to John's great aunt Eileen who is a treasure trove of information about the family. She's in her 80's, sharp as a tack and full of stories with all the particulars about John's genealogy on the Kelly half of the Warren/Kelly grandparents. Next time- bring the recorder!

A visit to a pub in Doolan where we heard traditional Irish music played by locals and drop in visitors to this famous site of great trad music. And an opportunity to see up close and personal our favorite fiddler, Martin Hayes, who takes traditional tunes and fiddling to a whole new level. We love this music and live is even better!

Watched Zoe, John's cousin, Aiden's, daughter, launch her singing- at- weddings career with her friend accompanying on the violin. Her voice is a tiny taste of heaven.
Saw Aiden's other daughter, Dawn, who's almost finished her studies and is in love with her new profession of midwife. It's such a joy to hear the stories of someone who loves what they're doing, whatever the profession. Met her son, Noah, for the first time and got reminded of how much sheer fun a 3 year old can be!

Drove around with Aiden and his newly retired wife, Geraldine, (we swapped beginning impressions of this life phase) and took in again the unspoiled beauty of this county Clare. Photo is Lissycasey, County Clare.

County Cork: Good friends, Tom and Ann, are just fun to be with. We laugh a lot. Ann is also newly retired and we started our conversations about what this phase is all about for us and how we'll discover more of what it can be. How rich to have friends with whom to talk about this, friends on this journey. Did our mothers ever ask these questions?

Traveled to Kilarney and Kinsale, 2 jewels of West Cork. Kilarney is altogether lovely! We took time to walk a park and castle grounds, take a boat trip on the largest of its lakes, visit the renovated central church, eat, see an ancient waterfalls, and stand at the point overlooking the lakes named for the Queen's ladies who also liked this spot. A delicious day that by no means took in all there was to see and, so, set the agenda for our next visit. And Kinsale is a picturesque historical village that is charming in itself and set in this gorgeous coastal spot that kept us oohing and aahing the whole day. And to find a sunny place to sit outside a pub overlooking the town at the end of a beautiful walk was perfect!

Because I'm learning another language, I was very aware of how rich English, as spoken by the Irish, is. And is it just me or are Irish drivers relaxed and polite? They also queue up in lines in such order. I knew I was home when I went to my flight to Rome and the Italians rushed en mass for the front of the line. Boundary tapes were removed and everyone jostled forward. Okay, that's the spirit!

Made me shake my head and smile but I did have to wonder (again) about this whole St Francis calling us here rather than to Ireland. Do saints make mistakes? I've had glimmers of a call to craft a new role for grandmothers as respected elders in our culture so we can bring our wisdom to the issues of the day. Now wouldn't that just be easier in a country whose language I speak? I'm just asking. Hmmmm.

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