Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patricks Day !

With the last name of OShaughnessy, I of course, love all things Irish. In 1999 my husband and I went for the first time to the land of green. It was to be a "once in a lifetime" trip. Little did I know at that time, how deeply I would fall in love with the country of my ancestors. My great-great grandfather George J. O'Shaughnessy immigrated from County Mayo at the age of 12 in 1856 while the country was still recovering from the Great Famine. I cannot imagine placing my very young son on a boat , sending him thousands of miles away knowing I would never see him again. I also cannot imagine watching my children starve to death. Therefore, if faced with the option of saving their lives by sending them away forever, I suppose I would take them to Cobh Harbor and place them on a ship as well.

Due to George J's bravery, I am here today. Due to the hard work and generosity of my husband I have made it back to Ireland every year since 1999. Sometimes I travel with family and friends, sometimes I have gone alone. In a few months I will go again with the girls from work. Too much fun that group ! The first couple of years I was all about the castles and thatched cottages. Now I go for the peace and the people. The Irish are a family focused, God loving group of hard workers. They recycled buildings and equipment long before it became "popular." So in recognition of Saint Patrick, the man who brought Christs word to Ireland, here are a few pics from some of my trips to the West coast of Eire. My favorite spot in the world next to our own farm.

A perfect Irish meal would include soda bread with a slab or two of butter, new potatoes, pan seared lamb and hearty wine from South Africa.

Ireland is a poor country compared to the US. These trailers are not abandoned but instead house families with children. Often home schooled "travelers" move from county to county to utilize state resources as available. Animals are often seen tied up outside the door and trinkets are sold to tourists for extra income.

Roads are a riot in Eire. No real shoulder, lots of brush and behind the brush usually old stone walls. Even so, the Irish drive FAST. Now I know where I got that bad little habit. All genetics.I wonder if they rode their horses really fat  in the 1800's ?

This is a working tractor on a working farm near Oughterard, County Galway. The owner told me it was built in "the sixties, give or take a decade, unless it was the fifties"

 Children. Lots of children in Ireland. This group was crossing a busy street in Galway. All going shopping together.Brave women those Irish.

Tis herself at the Blarney Castle "theme park." No rides there but cool shops as they were in the 1950's which truthfully did not look all that different from the modern shops you see in most Irish villages. I always travel in the off season between Oct and April which is also the rainy season but far less of those pesky tourists to deal with !
 Tis herself again (on the left) strolling the streets of Galway after a successful year on the Atkins diet. I'm not sure but I think the boots make my legs look a wee bit heavy. Music is the mainstay of Ireland. You will hear it in the streets, the churches, coming through open doors of private home and of course, in the pubs. Today, I am most certainly missing the pubs.


  1. Thank you for taking us on such an appropriate trip for St. Patricks Day. How I long for some green right now as the countryside is still stark and dreary.

  2. Hang in there Holly. Illinois is greening up very nicely. Your day will come soon

  3. My wife, the lovely Jo-Ann, has discovered genealogy with a passion. Lo and behold she has Irish ancestors by the bucket load. I sense an upcoming trip in the making.