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On the Road to a Wedding in Sligo:
A Mary Casey Forry Classic

By Mary Casey Forry

Monday, July 10, 1995 -


I hate like the dickens for the first entry into my Ireland Diary 1995 to be a complaint, but I just finished ironing all the wrinkled clothes from my carefully packed suitcase, only to find that my black suit, in which I have been preparing to dazzle all of Dublin, has come back from the cleaners with a gent's size 42 trousers instead of my fashionably short black skirt. A bit of a bummer for me although I could get away with the pants if only they were my size.

My mind travels back two days to Boston and focuses on the poor bloke preparing to take the wife out to dinner. There he is, before the mirror in his white starched shirt and tie, freshly showered and combed, smelling of some heady fragance or other, smart black socks held up with garters, shoes gleaming, and his skivvies shining in the reflection. Then he opens the hermetically sealed dry cleaner's bag and finds, Da Dum!.....Oh, well. I hope it isn't his anniversary or son's engagement party or some other momentus occasion. Damn! I hope he doesn't try to squeeze into my skirt! I hate it when other people wear my clothes and stretch them.

On to other things... We arrived here yesterday morning, rented a car and proceeded to Galway, my second favorite place on earth. (My favorite place being propped up on pillows in bed eating chocolates and watching the OJ trial on Court TV - I never said I was a born traveller).

After a terrific flight over preceded by a week of compulsive worry about anything and everything that could go wrong, we faced the 6:35 a.m. sunshine and just drove - the roads to ourselves, no one being about that early on a Sunday morning, not even for Mass - and only the cows and the sheep and the occasional dog to bid us welcome.

We passed through the Shannon region, through Gort, and arrived in Galway City at a little before 8 a.m.

We drove by the Kennedy Memorial in Eyre Square and caught a quick glimpse of The Little Storyteller statue, before heading out past Shop Street and down toward the waterfront. Past Brennan's Yard, the Galway Jury's Inn, we stopped on The Wolfe Tone Bridge overlooking the Spanish Arch, and Claddagh and the Corrib River. A few trout fishermen were casting out their lines by now, and the odd townsman or tourist was seen out in search of coffee and a newspaper, but the city still had its early-morning quiet wrapped about it as we gazed off my bridge, looking at the rapidly moving Corrib making its way to wherever.

The tranquility built up over the past hour did not last long, however, as is the way with us. On the road to Barna we had a near-miss with some dingbat woman, obviously not a native, driving her vehicle on the wrong side of the street. Only Divine Providence and some lightning quick reflexes on my son Bill's part prevented a major disaster, the dimensions of which I did not realize because of jet lag, but caught up with me later in the day, upon which I immediately went to church and lit some candles in appreciation.

We were in Spiddal at the time. The name of the church I did not get as they do not have large signs out in front as they do in the states. But as I approached the side door I saw the statue of the Virgin Mary with real candles lit in front of her! After giving my thanks to her and the Lord for saving our skins, Maureen and I paused for a while and took in the beauty of the little church. That was when the other Mary caught my attention by crooking her finger at me, bidding me to come over to her at the side of the front altar. This Mary told me she has been caring for this church and its belongings for the past fifty years, as many years as she has been married. She told me about her five grown sons and one lost daughter. I heard about and was shown the knee that's been bothering her for about five weeks and she was seeing the doctor for, and God only knows what he's going to say about it. But she was in bed last winter dying with all her family about her and the priest in and nobody expected her to live - even the doctor, who expressed his surprise at her recovery the following week when she got up and went to see him. But she guessed that the Lord wasn't ready for her yet, and if only her knee would get better she'd be fine. All this was told while instructing me where to put the monstrance for Benediction and I might as well put the keys to the tabernacle up next to it while I'm there. She said, "I'll make a nun of you yet."

I was in the middle of telling her how the Dominicans at Rosary Academy had tried and failed to recruit me thirty years ago, when Edward and Bill appeared in the door like a couple of gargoyles with a look that said "Let's move 'em out!" I reluctantly bid Mary goodbye. She told me to stay away from Galway City, a crime-ridden hellhole if there ever was one, and to stay in Spiddal where "None of that" goes on.


Tuesday, July 11, 1995 - Galway:

Up relatively early after a restless night. The weather is still warm. I'm not talking a light sweater warm. Pardon me, I mean, jumper. But shorts and a tee shirt warm. Sunburn warm. We decided on a car tour through Connemara. We headed out through Spiddal again and stopped at Standun's, a large Irish Shop to change some money and get a cup pof coffee. Several hundred dollars worth of linens, sweaters, and your odd souvenir later, we again began our tour. I will personally take credit for any rise in Ireland's GNP in the next quarter.

The weather turned blustery but still warm as we crossed the flatlands and headed into the mountains called "The Twelve Pins," with several suicidal goats jumping into our paths every few miles. A very impressive countryside presented itself to us. Beautiful mountainous areas with "famine walls" running from bottom to top. Beautiful valleys with lakes, and tall trees and lovely small villages where we spent more money. Kylemore Abbey, which I had missed on the last trip was one destination I was determined to see this time, and I was not disappointed. The weather continued to whip about us, warm winds ever at our backs.

We stopped for lunch in Clifden, which was a mistake only because the old devil jet-lag caught us all again. By the time we returned to Galway, I was a basket case, blubbering in the back seat of the car about how I swore the last time I was here that I would never again put myself at the mercy of the Irish road system. It's not just the roads, mind you, it's the crazed drivers. No! I take that back. It's the damn roads. There isn't a straight one in the whole country. They curve, they undulate like a long, sinewey snake. And you don't realize until you've spent 180-some miles on the damn things that you are motion-sick as a dog; dizzy to the point of death, and your body reeling from driving 50 to 55 mph on roads that were meant for nothing over a pony cart!

Next time I take the bus!


Thursday, July 13, 1995 - Barna, Galway

Forgive my inattention, but the last couple of days are a bit of a blur. We spent a couple of nights in Galway City itself and are all feeling the full effects of it. The young people are exhausted from whooping and hollering in pubs all over the city until the wee hours. The older ones are exhausted from waiting up for them. Personally, I have walked the length and bredth of Galway City, visited every store, restaurant, gallery and whatever else have you, until my feet are entirely worn away and I am walking on stumps. At least that's how it feels. But we had a ball eating in a different restaurant every night and running from Jury's Inn to any number of cafes for morning coffee and scones. Last night, Edward and the kids went out to dinner leaving me to soak my stumps. While they were gone, the swans which nest nearby on the Corrib River had a little parade down past my window. It was raining and the wind was blowing like mad, but the swans didn't seem to mind. It was high tide and the river was rising in swells, and the swans seemed to be bodysurfing along past Jury's. There must have been 75 to 100 swans. Where the blazes is my camera when I need it.

However, it's good to be back here in Barna at the Galway Bay Cottages where peace and serenity reign. I talk like it's hours from Galway City when it's actually about a 15 minute ride, but the difference is remarkable. From my front window I can see the mountains of County Clare across Galway Bay. Today the clouds are something to behold; large and fluffy with just the threat of a downpour about them. The sea is dark green and choppy and I have the turf burning in the fireplace right next to me. I hear it's 90 degrees plus in Boston. Ha Ha.

Before we left Galway City, Maureen and I walked down to the Galway Cathedral by the walkway along the Corrib. The salmon fishermen were out, but didn't seem to be catching much. We got to the Cathedral just before 11 a.m. and lit some more candles and browsed the gift shop.

We've met some wonderful people in Galway including Pauline and Liam Ferrie, their sons Donal, Owen and Rory; Tom and Conor Kenny and their mum Maureen of the famous Kenny Bookstore and Gallery. Conor's beautiful daughter, Saoirse (pronounced Siersha), which means "freedom" in Irish.


Saturday, July 15, 1995 - Dublin

We arrived here this afternoon after about 4 hours on the road from Galway. Not bad for someone who swore she was not getting into another car again on this side of the Atlantic.

I would like to take this time to apologize unconditionally to anyone I've offended for badmouthing the entire road system of Ireland. There are some wonderful straight thoroughfares here, in some ways superior to our own. I felt most comfortable on them, even when the speed limit was 70 mph. Now if they could just get the side of the street right, everything would be fine!

Son is thrilled! there's a huge Blues Festival going on in the Temple Bar section of Dublin with great music and a vast amount of people and Guinness. After checking into the Westbury Hotel just off Grafton Street (a gorgeous hotel right in the middle of everything), Edward decided to settle in for a couple of hours. Maureen and I set off for a little shipping excursion on Grafton Street. The people in this part of Ireland are, to say the least, unusual. Very cosmopolitan and the young people very bohemian. There are Pub Crawls throughout the city with entertainers as guides for the tourists. There are literary Pub Crawls; there are theatrical Pub Crawls; there are historical Pub Crawls and then just your everyday alcoholic Pub Crawl.

I just found out that Jason Robards and Tony Bennett are staying here at the Westbury. Can't wait to run into them in the elevator! There is also a group of American rappers known as Public Enemy staying here. Can't wait to run into them as well.

We headed out for dinner around 8:30 and found most restaurants with a half hour wait. So we decided to walk - them on their feet, me on my stumps - and try to find Oscar Wilde's house on Merrion Square. Oscar Wilde is Maureen's favorite playright and poet, and we could not leave the city without seeing the sidewalks on which he strode. Little did I know it was more than a short distance from our restaurant, and my stumps are now up to mid calf. They dragged me past Wilde's house and toward St. Stephen's Green. "I'm not going in there!" I said. "I'm not walking another step until my feet are returned to me!" Edward rolled his eyes and hailed a cab. After dinner they dumped my torso at the hotel and headed out for a little nightlife!


Sunday, July 16, 1995 - Dublin

Woke to a warm morning in the city. There is a Carmelite Church just outside my window and when they rang the bells around 10:00 a.m., I almost required CPR. Just wish those people I'm travelling with who stayed out until 2:30 a.m. were on this side of the hotel.

After coffee and toast in the cafe, we started out for Naas where my cousin Jim lives with his wife Mairead and son Ryan. We arrived to another breakfast with another cousin Catherine and her husband Declan and son Sam who are here for their sister Michelle's wedding next Friday. Over Breakfast II, we debate the Irish Breakfast which we Yanks call "The Double Bypass" meal, over American Breakfast which Declan calls "The Cardiac Transplant." what the Irish do with sausage and eggs, we do with waffles and quarts of maple syrup. It's just a matter of which internal organ goes first.

After breakfast Jim and we four were off to the horseraces at the Curragh Racecourse in Kildare. Today is the running of the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks - a 1 1/10 mile race for three year old fillies. We got there just in time for the fourth race - the big one - because there has been a small cloudburst and we had a little trouble getting from the car to the grandstands, which gets me to a small discussion of Irish rain.

American rain doesn't compare to Irish rain. American rain gets your clothes wet. Irish rain soaks through your clothes, permeates your skin, rusts your organs and dilutes your blood. The native Irish are used to this and do not mind it. They go about their everyday routine undeterred by a little inclement weather; they dress for it, and deal with it very well. The Americans, on the other hand, just stand there in their soaking wet clothing and ridiculously thin-soled shoes, looking up to the sky and waiting for it to clear up. When it does not, they eventually succumb to consumption or other untoward condition. Okay, now back to the races.

Here we are in our wet clothes and waiting for the big race to begin. We have placed our wagers: My cousin Jim, after great deliberation and consultation with his weekend race report; Me, after picking my lucky number - 7. The others in the group have used their own personal system. The track is so huge, we can barely see the starting gate; and these poor little horsies have to run all the way around and finish in front of us. It takes a while. All of a sudden, I see them in the distance. I want to yell "Move your bloomin' arse" like Eliza Doolittle, but stifle the impulse. Then, 11 horses are thundering past us. What the heck happened! Who won? I was standing there, ticket in hand, not having a clue. The results are announced and I still don't have a clue. We go to the winners circle to watch the winner receive his trophy, I still don't have a clue. Then I see the number on his saddle. Good old Number 7! A fine piece of horseflesh if I've ever seen one. Can I pick 'em or not! I am now 21 Irish Pounds richer.

On to Race Five - well you can't win 'em all.

Race Six - so, okay, even the best of us can't pick one every time.

Race Seven - last race of the day. We watch the parade of beasts before this race. Surely I'll pick the winner this time. Number 7 is the favorite, so I pick him because he is my Lucky Number. I also pick Number 1 because he is the only one wearing a hood and looks especially menacing. I also pick Number 10 because he winked at me as he passed by. The race begins. Edward and I are along the rail because the rain has stopped. I still can't see the starting gate. After an eternity, 12 galloping Goliaths appear on the horizon, hellbent in my direction. Again they thunder past me. Again I can't tell who has won the damn race. Then they announce the winner - Number 2! I can't believe it! I've been hornswaggled out of some thirty-odd Irish Pounds; been lied to by Number 10 who guaranteed me that he would win; fooled by Number 1 who was only wearing the hood because he didn't want me to see that it was actually Goofy under there. And I think Number 7 took the bus. All that isn't bad enough? No? Well guess what! - My stumps are killing me and it's pouring rain again!


Monday, July 17, 1995 - Dublin

Another warm, overcast day. Rise at about 10:30, dress and walk to Bewley's for morning coffee and toast. Am rather tired after watching television until about 1:30 a.m. because I cannot get used to the time difference. Irish television, including BBC 1 and 2, is an interesting compilation of news programs, soap operas, CNN, English documentaries, and older American syndications. Not one sign of OJ and the Gang. I'm very disappointed. So much for worldwide attention!

Son spent the night revelling in the Pubs of Ireland with members of Public Enemy. Some young performers of 'Gangsta Rap', known as Flava Flave and Chuck D. Sound like fine fellows to me. Bill says it's his best night so far. After hearing they spent most of the evening at a club called "Lily's Bordello", I choose not to hear any details, thank you very much.

Visited Oscar Wilde's childhood home again and saw the interior thanks to a fine fellow from american University at Dublin. Maureen was thrilled beyond words. Says she is coming to Dublin to attend college. Fat chance! All I needed is one trip to Grafton Street to realize how these student types act these days. Spiked hair and black lipstick and nose rings. Ad you should see the women. I tell her to forget it. On the way home we spotted a film crew setting up on Merrion Square. Only after returning to the hotel were we informed that they were filming "Michael Collins" with Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. Oh well, we can always catch them tomorrow.

Got back to the hotel in time for tea at 3 p.m. Scones and clotted cream, the whole shebang. Opposite us is Jason Robards and his wife having tea with Beatrice Arthur. Tony Bennett is across the street having pizza. Flava Flave and chuck D have left earlier in the day. There are thousands of young screaming women on Grafton Street waiting for the appearance of a group called MN8, who I've been told are the British Isles' successors to New Kids on the Block. As the crowds clear and we can again walk down Grafton Street, we have to sidestep young women's undies which have been tossed at the musicians. I decide I've seen enough and go back to the hotel to soak my stumps again.

Back from dinner around 8:30 p.m., and ran into Bea Arthur in the lobby again. It seems her dinner guests had to cancel so she was free, and intending to go to dinner alone. Edward invtied her to have a dinner drink with us and she agreed. We talked "showbiz" for 20 minutes or so, and then joined her while she had dinner in the small dining room. She said she was in Cork visiting her old friend Angela Lansbury and had seen Marlon Brando who is filming down there. She invited us to the opening of her play "Bermuda Avenue Triangle" when it opens on Broadway. They have performed it on the West Coast and are waiting for her co-stars Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor to go on hiatus from their television series before scheduling a Broadway run. Edward and Maureen had to leave the table temporarily as Robert Plante and Jimmy Page from some group called "Led Zeppelin" had just checked into the hotel and they were hoping to get a peek at them. I, of course, stayed with my friend Bea. Now, what's all this nonsense about my leading a boring life!


Tuesday, July 18, 1995 - Dublin

Sunny and warm here today. Another restless night, but watched a beautiful sunrise over Dublin. At 11 a.m., Maureen and I went to the beauty salon for a massage and facial. Return to rooms at approximately 2 p.m., sliding out of our shoes and clothing because of the lavender oil used to massage our bodies. We are also loaded down with the latest cosmetics from Europe. We are able to carry all of them because our wallets are now empty. Join up with Edward and Bill who have spent the better part of the day sleeping. We go to lunch and walking tour of the city. I am walking a little better because my stumps have been oiled so well. We walk through Christchurch, over Temple Bar, cross the Haypenny Bridge, and along the Liffey to O'Connell Street.

Edward and I break off from younger members of the group, due to the fact that the initial energy I felt after massage has begun to wear off and I am fading fast. We return to the hotel and say goodbye to Beba Arthur who is leaving later in the day. After a short rest, Edward and Bill get dressed to attend the evening performance of "Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme" at the Abbey Theatre. Maureen and I are content to stay at the hotel and watch Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans" on television.

Begin putting things in suitcase for the trip to Longford tomorrow afternoon. Will spend a day visiting my aunt, Maggie Ellen, who is the last of y mother's siblings. The trip should take a couple of hours. Edward came back from having some film developed and brought back pictures of Galway. In among them is a snapshot of my dearest darling dog from home whom I miss very much and I am sure, misses me. I have tried not to think about my life on the other side of the Atlantic for the past week and more because to do so would cause my brain to short circuit and I would explode. I will deal with that next Monday when we return an am sure my anxiety level to get back will reach astronomical levels. Until then, I will take the rest of my stay here one day at a time.


Wednesday, July 19, 1995 - Carrick-on-Shannon:

Awoke to a hot, hazy Dublin, went to St. Theresa's Church and lit candles, and headed out of town. I am going to miss what I a very unusual and hospitable city. The trip to Mohill (halfway to Sligo) was about what I expected. Some terrific highways but the moment I get comfortable enough to mention how good a particular road is, it turns into a cow path. I plan to keep my big mouth shut for the foreseeable future. Reach Mohill after 3 p.m. and visit Aunt Maggie Ellen. She looks the same as she did two years ago, but is a tad more hard of hearing. I spent a little time running errands for her and ran into a lovely, distinguished gentleman, Mr. Gannon, who owns a small dry goods store in the village who knew my grandfather. I told him where he lived and he said, "A yes, the Pope Kane, I knew him well. He had a grand disposition and would sing or recite just about anything else at the drop of a hat." I told him that that sounded like the man I knew.

We finished up in town and headed out to see if we could find Mum's house again, Miraculously, we did and found my brother, Jim Casey, whom we now address as "The Squire," or "Sean Thornton" cleaning the place out. He recently inherited the land an house from my Uncle Frank Kane who, sadly, passed away last year. He proudly showed me the land from boundary to boundary, which I had not seen before. We plodded thorugh mud, meadow, rocks, and just about every other kind of ground before landing back at the road. We passed a herd of surpised cows ina field, but they did not attempt to trample us, although one tried to borrow money. It was a wonderful afternoon, even though I ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes. But that's my own fault for dressing like an American again. After visiting Mum's school, Gortletteragh, her parish church, and the cemetery where the Kane's are all buried, we headed to Carrick-on-Shannon where we bunked for the night. When we got to our B&B, the proprietress greeted us with a hot cup of tea before showing us where we could collapse. The contrast between Dublin and the countryside of Leitrim is more than my nervous system can handle and I retire to my room about 9 p.m. Edward and the children are out finding a local place to eat and I am here, under my eiderdown comforter, listening to the rain fall and contemplating sleep.


Thursday, July 20, 1995 - Sligo:

Am sorry to report that we spent a totally sleepless night. The mattresses in the B&B were a little lump the management having actually recycled them from a local potato farmer. The breakfast was good, though, and after spending a little time in Carrick-on-Shannon ( a beautiful town) , we headed off to Sligo. We arrived at our hotel and were delighted to see it was in full view of Ben Bulben and Knocknarea. We got settled in and headed off to the Casey home to say a quick hello. W were greeted by my cousin, Michelle, the bride-to-be, and her sister Catherine, and they insisted we stay for tea.

The household was humming with excitement and anticipation, with brother-in-law, Declan departing for the airport in Knock t pick up their sister, Grainne who's coming in from England; Claire, their mother, peeling vegetables for the evening's meal before heading out to the hairdressers; Michelle dusting and adjusting furniture in preparation for the photographs in the morning; Catherine "hoovering" the den and entryway. I joined in by washing up the tea dishes and slicing carrots. Everyone was talking and joking and calling one another to come and look at this and we would have to drop what we were doing and ended up at the bottom of the front stairs with three different conversations going at once. We watched Michelle open our wedding gift with the crushed ribbon from America. It was one of the best family occasions I've experienced. We learned that Jim's (my racetrack partner) wife Mairead had finally given birth on Wednesday to a beautiful baby daughter as yet unnamed. Jim is giving the bride away and we're all looking forward to his arrival, but are disappointed Mairead won't be there.

At about 6 p.m., we returned to the hotel where other relatives were staying. We met up with Bill Casey, whom I'd met in Boston some 25 years ago, his wife Joti and niee Sally who are in from England and compared family histories to date. Bill is a doctor and Joti is a lawyer, but they manage to get along beautifully. After a few pints, I returned to my room where, for the third time, at the third hotel, I ironed our clothes for the wedding. I wasn't taking any chances.


Friday, July 21, 1995 - Sligo:

The wedding day dawned crisp, clear and sunny. We rise relatively early and go to breakfast. Since the wedding isn't until 3 p.m., we headed out for some shopping where I am in search of a mug with "Sligo" printed on it. It is not just your regular mug. It is Irish Country Pottery, some of which I purchased two years ago. I have a teapot and four mugs with shamrocks on them. Last year, Bill brought me back an identical mug with "Aran Islands" glazed on it. In my compulsion to have a collection of everything, I decided to set out to get a mug with each town I visit in Irish Conutry Pottery. So far I have Glway, Spiddal, Connemara, Dublin, Carrick-on-Shannon and m working on the rest by visiting every gift shop in ever village, hamlet, town, city, and county I enter. I'm beginning to drive my co-travelers nuts. But that's what we Obsessive-Compulsive types do best.

I spot a Sligo mug almost immediately and am in glory. We visit as many shops as we can fit in between now and getting fready for the wedding. We are saving Yeats Country until tomorrow.

We spend until nearly noon browsing and kibbitzing with the local merchants, and are horrified to realize that it's going to take some time to get back, get the slackers out of bed and readied for the ceremony. We rushed back and started showering and changing into our wedding finery when it happened. My third trauma of the trip. Everyone was ready before me because I stupidly allowed them to beat me to the bathroom. Maureen monopolized an enormous amount of time applying her makeup and fixing her hair.

I threw on my clothes, and rushed in to finish fixing my hair at the bathroom mirror. Then I reached for the doorknob and attempted to open the door. It wouldn't open. I fumbled with the lock; no dice. I started knocking in the ope that someone might hear me and come to my rescue; everyone seems to have left. I called out and no one answered. I've come three thousand miles to attend this wedding, and I'm locked in the bathroom! I attempt to look for the humor in the situation as the remaining steam in the room begins to frizz my hair.

After what seemed an eternity, Edward, noticing my absence, entered the room inquiring impatiently on what the holdup was. I yelled out "I'm locked in the loo." He turned the knob and the door opened effortlessly. I told him not to say one word, and departed for the church.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The bride, Michelle and the groom, Stephen, were glowing with happiness. Clair looked beautiful in a pastel green suit. Stephen's parents were equally resplendant. All the cousins dressed to the nines. All in all, we looked marvelous. I was, however, the only one without a hat. I had attempted to purchase a cute little pink number with a big rose on it at Lord & Taylor's before we left, but Maureen told me I looked like a large pink mushroom. Now I with I had bought it. We all had our pictures taken in front of the church before leaving for the reception.

After nine pictures we were all taken we sat down for the meal and the speeches and the toasts. Shortly afterwards, the music started and everyone was on the dancefloor, dancing up a storm. We did the Chicken Dance and the Hokey-Pokey and turned ourselves about.

I got reacquainted with the Caseys from County Mayo, County Sligo, County Donegal and Dublin as well as England, America, and God knows where else during the course of the afternoon. The party continued through the night. I faded somewhere around 1 a.m. and returned to my room, cursed the bathroom door and went to bed.


Saturday, July 22, 1995 - Galway:

The entire city seems to be sleeping late today. The party broke up sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. and the casualties are many. We decide to tour Yeats Coutnry before contacting any family members. I had no idea how beautiful this part of Ireland actually is. No wonder it has inspired such wonderful poetry. We rode out to Strandhill and ate lunch by the ocean, watching the surfers ride the waves. We drove out to Drumcliffe and visited Yeats' grave. A beautiful old Irish graveyard with Celtic crosses and gravesites both old and new. We stopped at a lovely teashop next to the cemetery and Eureka! - another mug. I'm really batting a thousand. We finish up our tour, bid goodbye to family and head off to Mayo where my father was born. A small area called Barroe just outside of the town of Charlestown. We visited with our cousins Mary ad Bridget Casey, their brother Martin, his mother Katie, wife Margaret, and three children. I walked the land which my father left at the age of 17. After tea and sandwiches, and looking t old family albums, we went out and got acquainted with the cows. Katie couldn't imagine why anyone would be interested in them, but I explained how we city folks don't get to see livestock too often. Though after the past two weeks, we are on a first name basis with most of them.

After leaving Barroe, we traveled to Knock and visited the Shrine. We got some Holy Water and medals, said some prayers and moved on to Galway for the night. One more day to go and we're back to America.


Sunday, July 23, 1995 - Shannon:

Moved from Galway about noon in the rain. The swans on the Corrib waved "see ya around" as we left the waterfront. Checked into the Oak Wood Arms Hotel near the airport and settled in for the last day of the trip. Drove over to Bunratty Castle and walked around and visited Durty Nelly's and the Bunratty Winery, plus a few gift shops. My stumps are healing nicely, though I can't imagine why. They must be used to carrying my bulk around all day. Search the stores - no new mugs - drat!

We are leaving with more or less the same baggage with which we arrived, but it is significantly heavier A very fit gentleman helping us actually groaned with pain upon lifting my suitcase. I warned him vehemently that if he broke my mugs, his life wouldn't be worth living. "Mugs," he screamed, "I thought you were going to say bricks!" W retire early because, even though our flight isn't until noon and we're five minutes from the terminal, we want to leave extra time for locked doors, etc.


Monday, July 24, 1995 - Boston:

Well, we did make the plane, although I did dream I woke up and the clock said 1 p.m. We finished up some last minute shopping and boarded the same plan we flew over on. Captain McNulty is at the helm. (Captain Doyle was in command on the way over.) The flight was smooth as glass with the exception of about 10 minutes of a little turbulence. We watched Liam Neeson in "Rob Roy;" had lunch before the movie and tea afterward and before we knew it, we were coming in over the city. Edward was acting as a tour guide for the plane, pointing out general points of interest. The gas tanks, the yacht club, various outer islands, the expressway. He was also taking pictures. The children and I told everyone we did not know who this big lunatic was; he was merely in the seat next to us.

Arrived home to find everything in fine shape, despite the heat wave. The dog is not as delighted to see me as I had hoped. We put the bags down and I headed for my bed and the television. Have prepared myself for this by bringing home some candy bars, which I have been consuming with abandon all over Ireland. They are Frye's Chocolate Crème Bars, Peppermint Crème Bars, and, my personal favorite Orange Crème Bars.

I haul my stumps into bed, prop up my pillows and get my remote control, and there they are! All my old friends - Johnny and Marsha and Bobby and F. Lee and OJ and Ito. Boy, have I missed you guys! Even though over two weeks have passed, I don't seem to have missed much activity. They are all still fussing with each other and the judge is just a little miffed. I'm so happy to be home!

Wait a minute - here comes jetlag again.

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