My trip was a great success in that I was able to do a ton of research and reading for my history work, as well as some family history research; however, there were also some very frustrating elements at play, particularly in the National Archives UK. The times I loved the most include visits to old haunts, and opportunities to remember my parents in some of the places they knew best. My emotions have run the gamut from sheer joy to frustration and anger.
As I landed in Dublin I felt a mix of joy and sorrow. I was thrilled to once again be in Ireland, a land that I love, but felt great sorrow in remembering that now neither my dad nor my mom will ever again set foot in the land of their birth. My heart was lightened by conversation with the car driver, John Murphy, who took me from the airport to my hotel. I was amazed to discover that he grew up only a few streets away from where my mother spent her childhood in Ringsend. John Murphy is descended from men who were boat builders and wood workers, professions which for generations defined the lives of many of those who lived in Ringsend, including my maternal grandfather and some of my uncles. I will share more about that with you in a future post.
|Looking out over the Irish Sea from the train on the way to visit my aunt.|
If you look just below centre, and slightly to the left, in this photograph
you will notice a man paddling out on a surfboard.
It was wonderful to spend time with my Aunt Kate talking about our family history. She was open to any and all questions, and told me many things I did not know. Also, I felt glad that I was able to share with her some aspects of our family history about which she was unaware. Later in the week in which I visited with Kate at her home, she travelled into Dublin and we spent a wonderful afternoon together, walking arm in arm around parts of the city centre and through St. Stephen's Green.
|One of O'Connell's Angels with an Irish Wolfhound.|
On this trip rather than staying in Ballsbridge or Donnybrook as I usually do, I stayed in a hotel right on St. Stephen's Green, so I walked or cycled almost everywhere. I had planned to take a folding bike with me, but instead settled on renting bicycles from the Dublin Bike stands located throughout the city, a perfect alternative. On one Sunday a couple of weeks ago I spent the day tearing up and down the quays like a fifteen year old, taking lots of photographs as I went. It was a blissful day filled with all the elements of Irish weather, sunny skies and warm winds, dark clouds and cold breezes, and even a little rain.
|One of the great bicycles I rented from Dublin Bike, parked on the James Joyce Bridge,|
with my camera bag in the basket, of course.
Cheers to you and yours,
P.S. If you are waiting for documents from me, I will be in touch with you shortly to send them your way.
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