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Published: October 7th 2005
Everyone seemed to ask me, “Was Ireland what you expected,” and knowing already that there would be slanted rain, tractors on the roads and stonewalls, Ireland still surprised me! Within the first 4 days I experienced the true Irish culture…I had told Joe that it still hasn’t hit me that I will be in Ireland and even more of a shock that I would be meeting his parents for the first time. As soon as we landed, I didn’t want to get off the plane and it finally sunk into realization 110%. We drove back to the village of Caherlissakill, Monivea where there are no street names, no house numbers, fields of green, houses lined with stone walls, grazing cows and sheep, ruins of a Protestant church and a village so small that everyone knows everyone managing to fit the necessities of a butcher, community center and 4 pubs.
I had met all of the immediate family over a cup of tea and toured the Dolan land. That night we went into one of the small pubs and had a night of singing Irish songs while a family member played the guitar. The next day we went into Galway
The Dolan's House
In Caherlissakill, Monivea
to some shops and in the evening went to the pub for an engagement party joining the crowd in Irish dancing. The third day consisted of driving in a tractor with Joe, me operating a digger, helping save a stray cattle and going into Galway for a night out. Because the Galway Horse races were on, the town was like Mardi Grai with hundreds of people on the streets and us playing rugby with a beer can. Sunday was the last day of the famous Galway races so we tried our luck a few times winning a few Euros in the end.
It was a lot to take in but only to expect the unexpected when Joe fell off the roof. At first I thought it was a minor accident, but as I went into casualty, I knew that this was going to put a different twist on how things were going to play out. Joe had broken his elbow and wrist staying in the hospital for 5 days. I even visited an Irish Hospital and hoped that would be the last visit! The plan was to travel around Ireland the day after Joe had his accident, but instead
Mausoleum of the Ffrench family
I was able to get the key to open the door where the Ffrench Family, owners of the land, were buried.
I settled myself into Monivea and Joe had to use time to regain his strength and energy. With our time spent in Monivea, I started to really feel like a local saluting to the cars and tractors as they passed me on the roads; driving on the left-side, narrow, no road marking and steep roads; really bonding with the Dolan family; drinking 5 cups of tea a day; enjoying the Monivea Fair with its sheep show, antique tractors and bouncing castle; involving in Joe’s nephew’s Christening; entering the mausoleum of the Ffrench family and getting to know just about everyone.
We did manage do go outside of Monivea for a few side trips as well. Dublin was spent in several different ways including going to the semi-final Hurling Match (an Irish sport which is the fastest sport and a bit like lacrosse), experiencing a memorable-forgettable night out with Joe’s sister, Michelle, touring the Guinness Factory, visiting the Kilmainham Jail and traveling outside of the city to Wicklow Mountains National Park. One of the castles nearby,Bunratty Castle, was preserved resembling an old Irish village giving us a look into the past. Covering some of the west coast, we toured around
Having an Irish BBQ
Joe's brother cooking sausages on a grill made out of a keg (his American frineds made the grill)
Conomorra, Louisberg, Westport, Sligo and Bundoran.
Ireland will still be there to see the rest of its green land and at least I know a few people who will put me up. As for now, it is my time to start Uni in Bournemouth, England and for Joe to get better in Ireland. The next time I will be in Ireland will be for an Irish Christmas and I have no expectations but to enjoy the unexpected luck of the Irish!
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