I'm so looking forward to a lifelong dream of traveling to Ireland and visiting my Irish origins. Ireland is such a curious country to me. For a place with such a savage history of hardship, whether it be warfare, rebellion, famine or poverty, it has somehow been the birthplace of extraordinary art, music and literature.
Through the research of my ancestry, I find that my not too distant relatives were simple people; a blacksmith, a laborer, a housekeeper and farmers. Upon my arrival in Shannon, Ireland, I will rent a car and head south towards the Ring of Kerry. On the way I will visit Castle Island, where my maternal great grandparents, Timothy & Nora Toomey were born. For a couple of days, I'll circle the Kerry peninsula and then head North to the Dingle Peninsula, Doolin, The Aran Islands, Connemara and Sligo where the great William Butler Yeats was inspired to write some of his most beautiful poetry. From Sligo and Mayo I'll head south central to Ballyforan and Killeen Meath, where my paternal great great grandfather, Lawrence Foran was born in 1832.
Without a doubt, this is more than just a trip to visit a scenic place. Call it part spiritual/vision quest to better understand my roots and the people that came before me but are so much a part of me. The great Irish poet, Seamus Haney, once said,
"The amount of sensory material stored up or stored down in the brain's and the body's systems is inestimable. It's like a culture at the bottom of a jar, although it doesn't grow, I think, or help anything else to grow unless you find a way to reach it and touch it."
Thanks for joining me on this journey to "empty the jar" and drink in the culture of Ireland in the coming weeks.