CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 3June 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.Read more