|The view off Doolin Pier about 200 feet from our cottage|
It was once again time to visit my ancestral home, Ireland.
My sister Mary, (aka Moire' when we are in Eire) her husband Dave and their 19 yr old daughter Micah were my travel partners this year. With Dave and Micah being newbies to the world of narrow stone hedged roads and the always burning peat fires, the trip was even more entertaining.
(A picture here would be nice wouldn't it ? Blogger thinks not)
We started in Dublin this year, finally wise enough to spent the first night there before taking off cross country, driving on the left after a sleepless night on Aer Lingus. Dublin, in a word, is insane. Packed with 1.5 million residents, nearly half the entire population of Ireland, the road signs have not been updated in eons. Instead of being logically placed on street posts where you can see them, they are plastered haphazardly on buildings at faerie height. Not much use to the modern driver.
You also must learn to read from the bottom UP as the Gaelic street name comes first. Traffic was as I remembered in, chaotic and without reason. Cars, bikes , pedestrians and mopeds all ignoring suggestions on parking and directions and going whichever way trips their triggers. Leaving Dublin alive is harder than winning the lotto. If you cross O'Connell bridge hoodlums rush in behind you and flip the River Liffy around the other way so that when you think you are heading out of An Lar (city centre) you are merely heading straight away back in.
Eventually and with much direction from numerous back street drivers (Go! Stop! Go and then stop right away! Turn! Turn Back! Watch the eejit now perched on your bonnet taking a free lift back to Aldi's) Honestly though, my sister Mary is the very best co-pilot, my friend Stacey running a close second, and without her I'd still be circling around Molly Malone and her damn mussels)
Soon enough,but not for us very impatient Americans, we made it out of the city but not before noticing signs of despair and a crashing economy. A reminder I have nothing to complain about. And yet I still do.
Once out of Dublin we sped across the midlands on N6 or was it M6? The maps say one thing the roads signs say another, and arrived in Doolin late afternoon to settle into our little rental. Once again, I live in a rambling farmhouse and complain about having too much to clean. This cottage once raised a large family with only this space to serve for its dining and living space.
Perfect for 4 Americans on Holiday but I would wonder at night how "cozy" it felt with 2 parents and five or six children? It was my job to make the fire, a job I love since we have no fireplace at home. My brother-in-law did dishes while my sister kept the cottage tidy and split cooking chores with me. Niece Micah worked hard modeling all the newest European fashions for us as my own modeling days ended after I discovered the joys of whole milk and butter. A stick of butter dipped in milk being one of my most favorite snacks I might add.
|Corkscrew Hill Road , only recently paved, between Ballyvaughan|
and Kinvara. Be assured. I have NEVER been on this road.
A few pints and gallons of tea were consumed and we feasted on our share of (REAL) fish and chips as well as fresh salmon swimming in dill butter. But, even though I have traveled there many times, it is the awesome wonder of Kilmacduagh Castle just south of Gort in County Galway that makes me shiver with the history of my O'Shaughnessy name.
But in the midst of total enjoyment and pure laziness (sleeping until 9 because that is when the sun comes up) I was again saddened by the fact that my own father never made it back to the land his grandfather immigrated from in 1867. It was his dream but not his good fortune. So I did the next best thing. I brought a tiny piece of him with me...
one of my fathers old paint brushes. One that still had his paint soaked fingerprints well embedded into its wood handle. For several days I contemplated where best to leave it. On top of the Cliffs? Outside a pub? Wrapped in plastic and secured in a bottle flung far out into the Atlantic for others to find?
I finally decided on this. Well, below is supposed to be the picture of my fathers paintbrush lodged into the rails of the gate that bordered the lane to our cottage but Blogger has decided not to let me upload even one more picture . Guess they are just jealous of my time away. That's what I get for paying NOTHING to use their blog site.
Anyway, I placed it there because I know my dad would've loved the view from that spot. Looking out each day over the sea, watching the kayakers and fisherman coming and going on the busy pier road, talking to folks about their problems their worries or just about their ordinary day.
It is my hope that years and years go by before anyone ever sees that that paint brush woven in between the fence wires. And that only time, salt air and the rain will wear it away, making the wood and the brush hairs and the paint splotches just another part of the rich land he and I came from so very long ago.