We delayed our departure from India by three weeks when we heard that my mom (Maggie) and my sister (Kathleen) would be in Ireland. Our delay allowed us to move around the globe to coincide with their time in Ireland. Kathleen brought her boyfriend Chris and Maggie brought our friend Debbie. Adding Kim and I, we were six people traveling around Ireland in a rented mini-van for 8 days.
We started in Belfast. The four had toured Belfast before Kim and I arrived, so the Grey Abbey was the only stop on the way out of Belfast. Chris's aunt and uncle met us at the Grey Abbey and his uncle (Raymond) was our private tour guide.
After visiting Grey Abbey we headed west towards the west coast of Ireland. Along the way, we passed through Shercock (pronounced "Sure-cock") where some of Debbie's ancestors originated. As we drove through, many sick comments were made about the city's name. Various regions around the World are known for their local resources.
After observing Shercock, we headed to Westport on the west coast of Ireland. Westport is a very quaint village and is as stunning as you may imagine. During lunch we
spotted a grandmother sharing her Guinness with her 2 year old grandson. We sampled traditional Irish music in pubs throughout Ireland, but in Westport the guitarist was flirting with Maggie. After Westport, we headed south along the west coast of Ireland through Connemara to Galway. Connemara is where my grandmother was born and where her mother is buried. The drive from Westport though Connemara is gorgeous country. The six of us where in a mini-van for 7 days but the scenery was so distractingly beautiful, nobody strangled anyone.
We found what we believe to be the graveyard where my great grandmother is buried. The graveyard is full of headstones but many were no longer readable. Take route N59 to R336 north, and turn left at the dead-end at Moneenmore. Go about 2.2 km and turn left on an unmarked road. The graveyard is less than 200 meters down that road. The caretaker said that the Coynes from Maam are buried in the south east area of that graveyard. See the photo: Connemara9
Next we headed to Galway where we stayed at a hotel in the Spanish Arches area. We took the double decker open tour bus and the
driver explained that the Kirwan clan was one of 15 families that ran that area before Galway fell to the English. Kirwan is the clan from my father's side.
After a few days in Galway, we headed down to Killarney. On the way to Killarney, we stopped by the Cliff's of Moher. Gorgeous place.
Killarney is a beautiful town with beautiful people having a very good time drinking. Kim and I found a pub with live rock music from the 70s and 80s and did some great people watching. We joined the Ring of Kerry bus tour while in Killarney. Amazing and worth the time and money. Think 17 mile driver in Carmel, before all the people showed up. Killarney was also hosting a Harley Davidson festival so there were thousands of Hogs all around us. You gotta love the Irish.
Next, we headed east along the southern coast of Ireland. We stopped in Waterford and stayed in a stately bed and breakfast Kathleen located in the Michelin Travel Guide.
After Waterford, we headed to Kilkenny. Killkenny? Killarney? What is this Irish fixation with death? We asked a local Irish speaking woman and she explained that
"Kill" means Church in Gaelic. That makes you wonder ... did people get "church" and "killing" mixed up and that is why they started the religious wars? Our time in Killkenny coincided with a laugh festival, so we went to see live comedy. Most notable in Killkenny was the Castle and the half naked Irish woman walking about from night club to nightclub. There is a vibrant nightlife throughout Ireland and people are not a bit shy of the devil's brew.
We headed to Dublin for the last stop of our tour. We stayed in the Stephen's Green area which is convenient to everything. We took the tour bus around the city and learned about all the major attractions. We visited the book of Kells at Trinity College and we ate great food everywhere we went. There was a 10k Woman's Race finishing at Stephen's Green on the day we arrived. Consequently, there were hundreds of woman celebrating in their track outfits into the evening.
The Irish really know how to let their hair down and have a good time. That is my family.
We are headed back to the USA. Goodbye to India, for now. Goodbye
traveling every 7th week, for now. Life has been incredible. Thanks for following our travels. I'll close with one of my favorite Irish Poems.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
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