Eire, there's no place like home!

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July 13th 2007
Published: September 14th 2007
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IRELAND - Wed 20/06 to Fri 13/07

We arrived back into Dublin airport about 12pm on Wednesday, my sister, mother and nephew were kindly coming to collect us - Maurice was particularly looking forward to the emotional airport greeting. The excitement was too much, we walked into the arrivals hall anxiously searching for our arrival party, left, right, left again - no definitely not there! Feeling a little deflated we realised they must be stuck in traffic so rather than have them park and have to pay I said a quick phone call would allow collection from the set down area (obviously still in cost savings mode). Phone call made and as we expected, traffic - on the M50, could you believe it we were only back in the country 5 minutes and all ready that damn M50 was causing us hassle.

With the traffic, the rain and the cold outside, it was already beginning to emerge that our wonderful memories of Ireland were over romanticised, we should have listened to Yeats.

So a short time later we were collected and had the big meet and greet. My nephew, who was so much bigger than when I left, wasn’t a bit interested in us and was in fact feeling quite put out that there were 2 more people in the car interrupting ‘The Wiggles’. ·We arrived into Kill to a welcome home banner and balloons, a bottle of Moet champagne and a Litro bottle of Quilmes beer (remember Maurice’s favourite from Argentina - Mam and Dad had carried it all the way home and guarded it safely all this time).

Of course Alice had a delicious big feed for us at lunch and again at dinner. Greg, my brother-in-law arrived in to dinner after work and handed us a huge book - it was all our travel blogs and photos printed - 330 pages back and front - fantastic for us - thanks Greg! 😊.

That day we decided to take a drive around - first stop - Kilcullen to have a look at the house. As we drove those oh so familiar roads we both independently had a realisation of how much we had seen and done in the last nine months by comparison to what we would have seen and done at home - it seemed to both of us that at home nothing had changed in all that time. We then began to get excited about the Europe leg of our trip and commit to make the most of our time because we realised that before we know it we will be back travelling those oh so familiar roads to WORK 😞

Thursday night we made a visit to Maurice’s sister Nora, her husband Gerry and their two kids Jamie and Lisa. They put on a lovely dinner for us and even had a belated birthday cake for Maurice’s 21st (ish). Then we headed to Bardon’s in Kilcullen for the first K club Thursday night out in 9 months!

So what took us home at all you might ask, well the reason we interrupted our world trip was 2 weddings of close friends that we wouldn’t have missed for the world.

The first wedding was Margaret and Gavan which was on the Friday after our return, it was in Glasson in Co. Westmeath. The Child of Prague was definitely hard at work that day because in the midst of weeks of non-stop rain and on a day that started out with torrential rain in Co. Kildare, the wedding day was a beautiful summer’s day in Co. Westmeath. We had a great day, Margaret looked stunning in a beautiful lace dress and it was so great to see her and Gavan looking so happy. It was also great to catch up with everyone again, the reception was in the beautiful venue of ‘The Wineport Lodge’ - it is set on Lough Ree & the River Shannon. Unfortunately all the flights in the previous week must have finally caught up on me, that coupled with a few Vino Blancos and I sure was feeling the effects so it was bed for me by 1.30am, however, I hear I must have been one of the first because an early morning was had by all - 6am I believe 😱

Wanting to catch up with as many people as possible we had arranged to call out to friends Damien and Imelda and their two kids Stevo & Daragh for dinner where Derek and Helena and their son Sean joined us. Damien and Imelda put on a great show with a delicious dinner, unfortunately we were under time pressure and couldn’t hang around. It was back to the Wineport with us for 7pm where there was a post-wedding BBQ. All-in-all it was a great weekend for us.

Sunday it was off to Limerick to catch up with the folks down there. Shortly after our arrival on Sunday after being well fed and watered by Maureen as usual we headed off to watch Limerick finally beat Tipperary in the second replay hurling match. We spent a few days in the Limerick region, we had so many plans to do loads of touristy things, however, the weather wasn’t kind to us so our plans went down the drain. Having spent days staring out the window at the dreary, rainy June days I started to questions Maurice’s insistence that it doesn’t rain as much in Limerick as portrayed in Angela’s Ashes. In between the rain we did manage a trip to the Crannogs in Co. Clare, Quin, Adare and Bunratty taking in a drink in Durty Nelly’s but that was our lot. During our few days in Limerick, Maureen and Andy kept us well fed and watered as always.

A night out with the Drogheda folk had been pre-arranged for Friday the 29th and there was a good turnout for drinks in McPhails first and then on to Storm nightclub to finish off the night - our first nightclub in about 9months!!! A big thank you to Castle Lesley otherwise known as Les’ house for his hospitality - he went out of his way to put us up for the night in an already full house oh should I say castle.

Saturday hung-over and all, I headed in to Naas to meet Lou and Ger for lunch while Maurice headed out on the town in Dublin for Tom’s stag night, our first night apart since we got married 😞

Sunday with my aunt and uncle Mick and Marion over from England, Alice put herself under fierce pressure and had The Smiths, the O’Briens, the Norris’, the Gennards and Maurices’ sisters family - the Kilfeathers for dinner - 10 adults and 3 kids, no bother to her she did a great job and as always with Alice’s dinners it was delicious.

With my aunt and uncle holidaying in Ireland also we decided to do some touristy things with them so we made a visit to the National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Kildare Town - would you believe they are on my doorstep and it’s been 22 years since I was there!! Lucky enough the rain stayed away long enough for us to have a lovely day. On our way home my uncle Mick as usual insisted on a pint of Guinness and funny enough found it quite easy to twist Maurice’s arm, so we took him to some of our locals in Kilcullen - Berney’s (now Fallon’s) and Bardons.

Friday 6th July was Tom and Kacey’s wedding, it was on in Coolagh Church just outside Callan and the reception was in The Lyrath Estate - a beautiful new 5 star hotel in Kilkenny city. Could you believe it, the Child of Prague was also hard at work for this wedding cause the rain stayed away at exactly the right times!! We arrived at the Church to meet a pretty calm, cool and collected groom - Tom, then shortly after Kacey walked up the aisle on her Dad’s arm looking radiant and also very cool, calm and collected. We also had a great day celebrating Tom and Kacey’s wedding and it was clear to us that interrupting our world trip for the two weddings had been absolutely the right decision.

Saturday I had another lunch redezvous with Lou and Sunday I headed up to Bundoran to visit some relations with my Mam, Sister and Nephew while Maurice headed to Limerick for his second visit and a night out with the brothers to watch Limerick narrowly lose the Munster Hurling final.

Wednesday it was back home and Thursday was spent running around trying to get organised for the European leg of our trip.

So although June was the wettest on record (I’m sure that July wasn’t too far behind), in fact we didn’t have a rainless day while we were home, we still managed to have a great time and as Dorothy says ‘There’s no place like home’!

Big thank you to the following people for their hospitality while we were in Ireland:

*Mam, Dad, Kathryn, Greg and Christopher for the banners, balloons, Champagne, Quilmes, printed book of travel blogs and photos, collection from and drop off at the airport and the many beds, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks!
*Dad for the loan of his car for the full three weeks.
*Nora, Gerry, Jamie and Lisa for a lovely dinner, bed, breakfast and dinner no. 2 for Maurice.
*Eddie in Bardons for the welcome home drink.
*Margaret and Gavan for a great weekend at their wedding.
*Imelda and Damien for the delicious dinner and Derek and Helena for their company.
*Maurice’s parents - Maureen and Andy for their wonderful hospitality - bed, breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
*Andy and Deirdre for the dinner invitation.
*Castle Lesley (also known as Les’ house) for his hospitality as usual.
*Mick and Marion for the entry to the National Stud and Japanese Gardens and the many drinks.
*Marie and Pat for the drinks and great big feed.
*Tom and Kacey for a wonderful day at their wedding.
*Emer for the tea, biscuits and chat.
*Ann for the tea, biscuits and chat.
*Euge, Eunan & Paul for taking Maurice out on the town.
*Dill for the bed, breakfasts, dinner and drinks.
*My aunt Mary and Uncle Joe for their hospitality in Bundoran as always.
*My cousin Cathy for fattening me up while in Budoran with all the delicious shopping.
*My aunt Margaret for the drinks in Bundoran.
*My Nephew Christopher, Maurice’s Nephew Jamie and Niece Lisa for keeping us entertained all the while.

I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone but with the amount of hospitality that we received while at home it’s highly likely, so if I have forgotten you, please accept our apologies and thank you 😊 & 😊

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