Ireland
Bert Bridge

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    • Day66

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 1

      June 18, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

      Today was a travel day as we prepared for our flight to Ireland. We heard many horror stories through local acquaintances and new reports that there were numerous flight cancellations and significant staffing shortages at Schipol.

      As we approached the first terminals of the airport, we noticed huge lines outside the airport, and we learned that was just to get in. Our Uber driver remarked, you're in Terminal 3. You're relatively likely. They will be in lines over six hours.

      Schipol is a massive international hub. When we arrived at our terminal there wasn't one sign directing us to our ticket counter. We finally asked a security person who told us where to go, and we learned that we'd have a 90-minute wait before the Air Lingus ticket agents would arrive.

      We finally dropped off our baggage and then we had another two hours of lines to get through security.

      We never worried a great deal about missing our flight as we were in the front of the queue, and we figured that the flight would have no passengers if they didn't wait.

      We did finally take off about an hour late for the hour and twenty minutes flight to Dublin. The flight was relatively smooth and we made it through passport checks without a problem.

      We picked up our rental car and prepared for the drive to our B&B in Ballintubbert. I have been very excited about this leg of the trip as we are first heading to County Laois (leesh), the region where my maternal grandmother's family are from.

      We were welcomed by Markie and Eamon who showed us around their home, a restored old store. They were very welcoming and they invited us to join them for a BBQ. I do believe that Markie grilled enough meat for 16 guests. It was quite the welcome, and they were helpful about suggestions in the county.

      It really was a wonderful first night, and we are excited about our Ireland adventure.

      Oíche mhaith (good night)
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      Traveler

      Ireland, the land of my people!!!!

      6/19/22Reply
      Traveler

      where about, Anthony?

      6/19/22Reply
      Traveler

      My mom's maiden name was Quigley. I don't know exactly except to my understanding that the Quigley name comes from the northeast.

      6/20/22Reply
       
    • Day67

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 2

      June 19, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      I think that I had the best night's sleep since we've been on the road. The night was cool and comfortable, and we were ready to try exploring County Laois.

      Once again, I am grateful for Jim's skilled driving as he navigated driving on the "wrong" side of the road on country roads that were often only about one and a half car lanes in width.

      It's amazing to be in the country of my mother's lineage and to see what it is like, to think about life there and to experience a new sense of identity. I love the blend of the old with the new, and I don't think I've seen so many shades of green in one place.

      Our first stop was the Rock of Dunamase, the ruins of Celtic Castle where you can still see the majesty of the fortification overlooking the beautiful countryside.

      We then went to check out the Slieve Bloom mountain range which are more like the hills of New England. The evergreen trees were dense and beautiful. We considered taking a trail to a high point, but upon further examination it didn't seem practical to try and walk over the soggy peat.

      We traveled to the parish of Coolrain, and I thought that we had found the church where one of my great grandmothers was baptized, but it was an Anglican Church. I think we know the actual place to go after consulting with my second cousin Kate and we're going to give it another go tomorrow.

      We drove in and by towns that were names in my family tree without much of a context. The opportunity to see these places in person is magical for me. I'm really finding it to be very grounding.

      We ended the night with a great dinner hosted by Eamon and Markie. They made a traditional of bacon (think pork roast), cabbage and potatoes. It was really wonderful, and we enjoyed our conversation.

      It's been a great launch, and we're excited about our next adventure.
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      Traveler

      Ireland is beautiful, I. Any wait to go back. Enjoy your travels.

      6/19/22Reply
      Traveler

      Thank you, Joe!

      6/20/22Reply
       
    • Day68

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 3

      June 20, 2022 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, and we understand that it has been different than the weather has been for some time.

      We launched the day with breakfast in Portlaoise. I decided to try the traditional Irish breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding and soda bread. I was curious about black pudding which reminded me of a spicy, grained sausage patty. It was interesting, but not something I need a second time.

      We headed toward the town of Camross to find the church where my great-grandmother was baptized and those before her were buried nearby. We wandered through a nearby graveyard and talked with a very helpful caretaker. He told us that the older gravesites were in the front of the church ruins, and that the remaining headstones were mostly worn. It turns out that the civil records were lost in a fire. I do think that we were in the right area, and we were very grateful for the caretaker's assistance.

      We took a ride to neighboring County Offaly, and we traveled over the Slieve Bloom mountain range to get there. The view of the lower valley was spectacular. We made time for an ice cream break, and then we returned to the village of Ballinakill armed with more information about ancestors. As we revisited a cemetery, an older gentleman offered assistance, and he told us that there was an older abandoned church cemetery nearby. He led us over to the area and he guided us through the very overgrown and uneven terrain.

      On one level, it was disappointing not to find visual confirmation of the actual gravesites, but it was powerful to know that we were in the land where my maternal grandmother's ancestors lived- some for their whole lives, and others before they emigrated to the States.

      I was touched by Jim C's observation: "When your great-grandmother (Molly Keenan) dreamed of Ireland, he dreamed of right here."

      Today was a "kindness of strangers" day. Every experience we have had to date has been met with hospitality and selfless kindness.

      May we always remember to pay it forward.
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