A few years ago, two of my three sisters and I traveled with my mother to Ireland. It was trouble looking for fun. And boy, did we find fun!
We landed in Dublin in early March to Spring’s sunshine and dewy grass. After dozing on the plane, we rented a car in the early morning when many things weren’t open yet. So we took off with a map and sassy Volvo to see what lay beyond the city limits.
It began with a stop at a Celtic ruin, a nearby church and cemetery. As we stood at the top of a hill where a decorated stone stood sentry over the village below. Mist still hung low, keeping homes in its sleepy grip. The brilliant sun worked to bake away the dew that left the knoll slippery. Our footsteps crushed the moisturized grass that sparkled like diamonds in the light. Even my sunglasses didn’t feel strong enough for our welcome to my maternal grandmother’s homeland.
To the best of my knowledge, Marian Casey Kusche wasn’t born there and never stepped foot on the land she held in her heart. Yet, her Irish blood could not have been greener. I remember talking to her once about Ireland and how I wanted to see Blarney Castle – to kiss the stone of course! She said it wouldn’t be an easy task, but I caught the wistful look on her face.
Here we were, with her spirit on our ancestor’s land!
The sun rose higher in the sky, dispelling the dewy diamonds as we moved into Dublin for the next two days. The Hop on-Hop off bus was a great way to see the major sites in a major city. Of course we went to Guinness, St. Patrick’s church, the Episcopal Church which was in the midst of an archeological dig. They developed a display of the history of the Dubliner life back to ancient times based on their findings in this dig.
We discovered our cocktail of the trip – the woo-woo. It’s a cosmo but with peach schnapps instead of triple sec. Yum! By the second pitcher, it was relegated to our rallying cry throughout our trip – Long live the woo-woo!
We slept in a castle just on the outskirts of Dublin, traveled to the Cashel and Blarney Castle in County Cork. The weather had changed and sunshine left our backs. It rained that day and that’s why my pictures of the Rock of Cashel and Blarney are misty, also water soaked. The green all around from trees kept us feeling part of the land. We were wrapped in the earth of our forebears.
Along with our bonding trip we visited Kinsale, a quite town on the southern coast. We loved it so much, we stayed an extra day, and I cannot wait to go back. We drove the Ring of Kerry to see the black rocks that dotted the hills and competed with colorful sheep spray painted to tell who’s land it may have wandered from. Neon markings on white sheep decorated the black and green landscape.
We stayed in Dingle and enjoyed a night with the locals in a pub. The last thing we expected was meeting people from Chicago there. We had a great time! From there it was onto Galway for a day of shopping, then to Shannon for the flight home.
When I look at my photos, I fondly recall the precious time with my mother and sisters, at the same time wishing I was there again.
I’ll go back there…soon.