Somewhere in Ireland, 1987
Many genealogist have written about preparing for a trip over The Pond to capture your ancestors' history and life in the very place they lived it. I always read those stories. Most show excellent organization and give plenty of tips for getting the most research in the allowed time. But for me, the best trip was the one I took with Mom and Dad to Ireland. It was seat of the pants but we did get a wee bit o' research done. Let me share with you my treasured memories of it.
I think it was 1987, or at least that's what the year is stamped on the back of the snapshots we took. I really wanted to go to Ireland with Mom and Dad because there were Irish ancestors on both sides and it sounded like fun... in my head.
Dad was unconvinced, and I can tell you what he said now that he's gone and can't complain. (He had a wonderfully delicious sense of humor and laughed at himself over this many times.) He said, "Why would anyone want to go to Europe. It's all old stuff there." When he got there he found he absolutely loved the old stuff to the very core of himself! But before that Dad especially couldn't see spending good money to go to Europe, so we gave each of them their trip for Mother's Day then Father's Day. When Dad saw what we gave Mom he said something like, "I know where this is going," with a glum look. Mom was positively gleeful and started packing on the spot! I must say that it was amazingly inexpensive then! What happened?
We flew overnight and into Shannon Airport and got there so tired we looked like last month's laundry. Into the rental car (driving on the "wrong" side of the road, a phrase that makes Europeans grimace) and off down narrow roads picking our way to Limerick, then on to the Dingle Peninsula. The scenery was more spectacular than we could have imagined. It was too long a day as we followed a diesel smoke-spewing lorry for a very long time and got sort of nauseous. We were all grumpy and very jet-lagged before our heads hit blessed pillows the first night.
I will spare you the endless details of that trip, for which you'll undoubtedly thank me:) One story, please. We drove on perhaps the third day through the worst rain storm in memory. And, got a flat tire. Dad said, "Well what are we going to do now?" To which I replied, "Change it." It seemed like the only sensible answer, logically speaking. I insisted that they sit still while I did the manual labor, Dad protested, but I put my foot down. He acquiesced.
Out I went in my relatively new Burberry trench (also amazingly cheap then) putting it to the ultimate test. Got the jack in place and as I was making a fine effort to jack the tiny car up with the parents dry inside two young men stopped and asked about our welfare. They were completely smitten that I had "me Ma and me Da" with me, which is Irish for Mom and Dad. They changed the tire super fast! Thank you, boys!
Oh we took so many pictures, and now looking at them, faded and dark from over processing, I wish we had taken many more especially of the three of us together. People never mind when you ask them to take your picture so why do we not ask more?
We stuffed ourselves silly at those big Irish breakfasts and Mom and I agreed that Irish breakfast sausages were the very best food item in the whole world! Dad went for the soda bread spread thick with Irish butter and jam. By a late lunch time we were ready for pub grub. It was too much food for me but Dad loved being in the pubs and talking to people and telling them that his name was Francis Patrick Kelly.
In the evenings we'd pester the musicians at every pub to play Danny Boy, which was really meant to be sung by a girl. But eventually, because it was me Ma and Da, the boys would give in. We tipped well with tears in our eyes. (What is it about that song?!)
We went to Clonmacnoise, the monastical historic site that I often post photos of that were taken on this trip. We saw Temple Kelly built in 1167, likely paid for by a landed and wealthy Kelly Clan of long ago, explored the graves looking for Kelly people and found some, but how they link to us we don't know. Dad insisted that he descended from a member of the Clan and decided on the spot to be buried there. (He changed his mind later and is buried in the town where he was born.)
We drove to Shannonbridge where my 2nd GGF was born and probably still has ancestors, if we could sort it out. We also visited the parish priest and got permission to look at the old registers and found him. I've posted about that before here.
We stayed at a couple of estates and ate salmon fresh from the stream. Took a pony cart ride. Kissed the Blarney Stone. Went to a tourist show at Bunratty Castle. It was hokey as all get out but the three of cried like babies at the end. We were "home" in Ireland.
On the flight back Mom was a tad antsy and clutched a package in her lap. I thought she got a special gift in the Duty Free shop. In the car ride from the airport she unwrapped the package still in her arms from the flight and it was... Irish breakfast sausage!! She had smuggled it through customs!! We're still laughing about that:)
Mom (the smuggler) and Dad somewhere in Ireland.
Dad and I at the Cliffs of Moher.
Dad kissing the Blarney Stone!
Travel Tuesday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.
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