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Published: September 22nd 2011
Day Six: 12 September 2011. Lawcus Farm Guesthouse
We wake up early. After our evening of fumbling around on Irish back country lanes we had fallen into bed and slept well. Now we are hungry! We find our way to the solare for breakfast and it is fabulous! The ambiance is funky, eclectic,, warm, and homey. Our breakfast companions, farmers from Indiana, are convivial and funny. Ann Marie is the queen of her kitchen, ladling out the best oatmeal ever, along with tea, coffee, and fresh from the hen eggs with spinach from her garden and local goat cheese, as well as Irish humor, warmth, and the ability to draw everyone into the conversation.
It is a day of stories.
John is sharing his search for his ancestor stories when a young couple arrives late for breakfast. He is tattooed and pierced, she is not. He tells Ann Marie and I that he has been searching for his father's family. His father deserted them and he only met him once in his adolescent years. In that short time, he filled the young man's head with mythical mafia stories of the “Savage Family.” The young man had hoped to come
to Ireland and find out the truth. He is so hopeful it is heart breaking.
After a pause to feed the foundling hedge hogs—prickly, stinky, cuddly, and absolutely adorable-and a short glass of Potcheen- Irish Moonshine liquor and Mark, our innkeeper, will not share where he got it (very good for breakfast I must say)-John and I set out on the trail of his Kennedy family story.
A stop at the Kilkenny Castle and then on to The Rothe House Genealogical Center. The ladies here are very kind but cannot offer any help...they tell us to get ourselves to Gowran which is where we may find the grave of Patrick, John's great great grandfather. We set out with high hopes for Gowran (Go-ern) and the beautiful ruins of St Mary's Church. It is again windy and cold and we find no Kennedy Graves: we also find out the the St Mary's we are looking in—besides being closed to visitors which we didn't realize since the gates were open and we almost get locked in—is Church of Ireland, not Roman Catholic. We find the Roman Catholic St Mary's ( we also find out that most churches we will look
for are all named St Mary's) and walk that graveyard. Few Kennedy’s and none that fit. We get the name and phone number of the parish priest, we knock on the door of the parish house—no luck. It is cold, we are wind battered, and we return to Lawcus Farm. This will take a return trip, but I (John) have walked the ground my great, and great great, grand father walked; very humbling!
BUT, we return to clean clothes ! Ann Marie offered to do our laundry—heaven!!! Then we are off to Thomastown for a wonderful dinner in the lovely Bistro Sol. We are beginning to notice that most restaurants have signature music selections. In this case, 1920's to 50's jazz with some Frank Sinatra.
Another story: The young man serving us has a very strong accent and he tries very hard to communicate plainly. He asks, as many will do over the next weeks, why we would leave California for Ireland-especially with the terrible weather we are experiencing. We explain John's Quest and he tells us his story: His great grandmother is Polish and because of the circumstance of her birth, she was on her way to
Auschwitz and certain death during World War II. Her train was intercepted by the Indian Army and, to make the story shorter, she met and fell in love with a young Indian Soldier. They married and she was offered asylum in Africa or the US. Because of his dark skin and her light skin, she chose Africa. There they remained and raised a family until the death of her husband. The family returned to Poland and has there remained, “all Polish” to the present day. Now he has come to Ireland to begin a farm—working his land during the day and in the restaurant by night.
A lovely day of stories.....we love traveling!
Good night and sweet dreams
Max and John
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