In late September, Steve, my mom, James (my brother) and I flew across the pond to the Emerald Isle for a week long tour across the country. We stopped in Dublin, Athenry, Ennis, Galway, and Gort to visit family and have some Irish craic (aka – good times). It was AWESOME!!
We fell asleep in New York and woke up in Dublin.
This is my Great Uncle Frank, my grandpop’s brother. They were both born in America, but moved back to Ireland when they were very young. My grandpop eventually settled back in Philadelphia (and met my grandmother), while Uncle Frank stayed in Ireland and started his own beautiful family there. We were visiting Uncle Frank’s family (so they are my mom’s cousins).
The weekend we happened to be in Dublin was the weekend of the rematch for the All-Ireland Hurling Match. Hurling is one of Ireland’s most popular sports, and it’s a cross between field hockey, lacrosse and baseball… and soccer. The girls version of it is called camogie, and a few of my cousins (Tracy, Carol Anne, Rebecca) are actually really good at it (though they’re so modest)! About a month earlier, the game ended in a very historic draw and so we were pretty lucky to be able to experience this excitement leading up to the rematch that was sweeping the entire country (especially Galway County). It was like the Superbowl! Galway vs. Kilkenny. Galway is where my family is from and it’s where my grandfather lived while he was there. (Thanks for the jerseys Kathleen!)
We watched my mom’s cousin Martina’s wedding video! Here’s a frame of Uncle Frank and my grandfather (holding the videocamera) together. It was amazing seeing video of my grandpop walking around the wedding, taking photographs and dancing. Very heart-warming.
Steve was quite the hurler. He impressed our little Irish cousins so much that they really warmed up to us after this afternoon of playing hurling in the fields. Connor (below, right) wasn’t born yet when I studied in Galway 7 years ago so I never got to meet him — I think he was a little scared of us “yanks” when we first arrived.
Kilbeacanty is where my grandfather went to elementary school while he lived in Gort. I remember him talking about his struggles learning the language (Gaelic) and how the kids bullied him since he was a “yank”.
My mom’s cousin, Ann, is a member of the garda (police) in Dublin. She showed us this awesome photo of her early days.
Uncle Frank is quite the entertainer. Gosh, I love him.
It was a great trip full of laughter, family, song, food, story-telling and love. We hope our Irish relatives come to visit us soon here in Philadelphia. xoxox