Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Just a quick Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone out there with a little drop of Irish blood. Apparently there are 80 million of us world-wide! My kin emigrated to New Zealand to farm the countryside there. They made a great choice as the climate is similar, and it would have been like home away from home. Only one brother remained in Ireland, and for the last 30 plus years, my mother (who found the family back in Ireland and made the connection) and her generation have maintained contact. I first visited this family in 2001, with my mother and eldest son, and a new link was forged.
Last year my distant cousin and his wife visited my family in Melbourne during March, one of the nicest months of the year here. My husband and I, who had been planning a trip to Canada, then altered our plans and headed off to an unofficial family reunion in Ireland, in August.

In a country pub in Donegal

It was The Gathering in 2013, but we knew of no official gathering of our clan. However, we began with independent touring from Dublin south to Wexford. We did stay a few more days in Killarney to travel the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry, but oh how we wish we could have lingered longer there! We met up with John in Donegal and had a blissful 3 days out in a very remote coastal area before we followed them back to Armagh.John's mother and aunt were keen to meet up again, they are in their late eighties, hence the reason we decided not to postpone the trip any longer.

In the rain on The Giant's Causeway

From Armagh, we headed out for a few days around the Antrim Coast including the wonderful Giant's Causeway. We stayed at the hotel right beside the Causeway and went for a walk after dinner, when the crowds had all gone home and the rain had ceased (not the wind though!). Another day we travelled into Belfast to the Titanic exhibit, and we visited small towns like Portadown where my ancestors were Linen weavers. Many times we lost our way, but never too seriously that we didn't get found again!

The people are what makes Ireland special. You don't have to be related to be welcomed with open arms, we found the B & B hosts very friendly and helpful. Above I've shown a scrapbook page I did on a small town called Thomastown where we stopped for lunch one day before visiting the nearby Jerpoint Abbey. We used to live in an area in Melbourne with the same name, which is why we were curious to pass that way. The girls in the cafe were very interested in why we had come and wanted to know the differences between the two towns.

Thanks for allowing me to reminisce a while

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It is lovely to receive your positive feedback. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Rachel