Well, it's taken my mother 55 years, but she's finally made it to Ireland. She was gracious enough to bring me and my sister with here. I'm in a cozy bed in my cousins' home in County Claire. It's 4:30am here, but I can't sleep anymore at the moment, maybe I'll get to sleep a little more again before my family wakes up, but we'll see.
I'm staying with my great uncle's children, on Kelly land, in a house built right next to te old house my grandfather once lived in. It's absolutely lovely. My cousins have been so hospitable - 4 course meal (or is it 5 with the Irish Coffees at the end?, which by the way are so much better than any Irish Coffee I've had in the states), warm bed in my own room, lovely conversation and humor, pick from the airport in Dublin 3 hours away, and the list goes on.
It wasn't a terribly easy journey getting here, but it could have been a lot worse, as they'll tell you - once they were laidover in Atlanta, GA for 6 days... We left SFO just past 8am on Sept. 1st arrived in JFK on time, but were still a little worried about catching our connection. Luckily, we had nothing to worry about as our connection to Dublin had been delayed 5 hours. We had time to look around and eat a real dinner and then walk around and then look around and then walk around some more. Our flight finally took off just after 12:30am Eastern. We slept a bit and had dinner on our flight because they had planned on us taking off at 6:20pm. It was good enough and we passed the 7 hour flight with relative ease. I very much enjoyed the plane we were on - old school with a movie projected at the front, the seats were low so you could see over all of them, which I loved. I realized then that what makes me so stir crazy on flights is only being able to see my little row and having a television screen jammed in front of my face. I must find out what they call those types of seats/planee/flights/whatever so that I can find more with low seats. We arrived in Ireland around 1pm local time, and unfortunately, my cousin Tony had been at the airport waiting for us since 9am. When we finally got through customs it was another hour later - an adventure that reinforced how much we want to get Irish passports, a project for the week while we're here. It was then a 3 hour drive to Feakle, County Claire, Ireland where my family stil lives. On the drive, a third of which I slept through, I learned that "kill-" means "church of", so Killkenny means "church of Kenneth". "Kil-" means "woods of", so Kilgore must mean woods of something, but we're not sure what. We also drove across the River Shannon and saw so much beautiful greenery. We might go back that way tomorrow for some sightseeing with another cousin before heading back to Dublin to pick up my sister; I'm very sad she couldn't be here for this because I know she would have loved it. My mom says we'll just have to come back again!
When we arrived at my cousin's house, which has no street address because it's a town of 150 or so and mail just needs to have my cousin's name and the town's name, we were greeted by my cousin's wife, Margaret. We enjoyed relaxing in the living room with the stove going and my other cousins showed up to greet us as well. Margaret in the meantime cooked us an absolutely lovely dinner that just kept coming. After dinner, we had real Irish Coffees in the loft, which is part of the house that my grandfather used to live in. We enjoyed looking at the art on the walls and my mother started talking about the jewelry I make and Margaret thought it was lovely; she's asked to commission me to make her some - we'll see how it goes because it's been a couple years now since I've made anything (I think the last was a wedding gift for my cousin Cher in Illinois).
It's amazing how at ease my cousins are making me feel. I've felt more comfortable carrying on a conversation with them than with some of my closer relatives back in the states, but this might have to do with being older and less shy when I met them and the fact that even in the states my close relatives live thousands of miles away. It wasn't overwhelming in the least to meet 4 cousins in an evening after a 24 hour journey, which really surprised me since I've known myself to be easily overwhelmed.
Tony and Margaret leave soon for a trip to Italy, and I'm already feeling like we won't have spent enough time together. It's a lovely feeling to want to spend more time with people you just met.
Well, it's still dark out here, so I think I'm going to try to go back to sleep now (fingers crossed!). Looking forward to updating as I can. Enjoy when you can.
Ta athas orm.