Monday, October 15, 2012

Home is where the heart is

As I write this, the evening sky is settling in around us, and I am home with my family, my husband and our little Ulee, at last. Home is definitely where the heart is, and my home is here with them. Both my body and my mind are tired from these last weeks, and I managed to pick up a virulent case of the flu in the last few days of my trip. I guess that's my reward for burning the candle at both ends, and in the middle, as my mom used to say.

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.
Visiting with my mother's youngest sister Kate and her youngest brother John was especially wonderful for me. My Uncle John told me he always imagines me as an inquisitive ten year old full of questions, so he finds it surprising to see me in the person of an adult seated before him. He was so kind to say he very much likes the fact that the passing of years has not abated my inquisitive nature. He was so open to talking about family history, and I felt as though I gained a better understanding about his feelings with respect to his place in our family after the death of his mother, my grandmother, who died when he was less than a year old. My grandfather's brother Christy and his wife May raised my uncle, so his experience of, and perspective on, our family history is a unique one.

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.
It was great to see 'my Dublin Ladies', as I like to call O'Connell's Angels. There is something reassuring about finding those lovely bronze statues, ever unchanging, just across O'Connell Bridge. Like many cities throughout the world, Dublin has seen so much change come to the urban landscape over time. There are many neighbourhoods in Dublin in which developers would be quite happy to raze the old cottages and row houses in favour of high rise condominiums meant to attract wealthy 'up and comers'. In my mom's childhood neighbourhood it is astonishing to see the development which has taken place there just over the last couple of years. An enormous building which was not there last summer now dominates the end of Gordon Street. I dearly hope the wrecking ball bypasses the home in which my mother was raised.

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.
I am very glad to be home with my family on this side of the pond, and I have a lot to share with all of you, but for now I will bid you adieu until next time.

Cheers to you and yours,

Jennifer

P.S. If you are waiting for documents from me, I will be in touch with you shortly to send them your way.

Copyright©irisheyesjg2012.
Click on images to view larger versions.

10 comments:

  1. So glad to hear you are safely back, Jennifer--and I hope soon over that nasty flu. I had been thinking about you the last few days and wondering how your trip was going, so I'll look forward to reading more once you've revived from the journey!

    Welcome home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacqi,

      Thanks for your comments; they are always much appreciated.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  2. Having read this and the last post, I feel that you have replenished your soul with this trip... thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Crissouli,

      Thank you for your comments. I do feel quite replenished, despite the flu.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  3. Welcome back to this side of the pond. So sorry bout that nasty flu bug. Have been wondering how and where you were. Feel better soon, can't wait for you to take me to Ireland via the blog once more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your comments; they are always much appreciated. I shall do my best to get back to normal soon.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. patDub,

    Your comment has been deleted because it is not a comment, it is a commentary. I suggest that you consider writing your own blog, since you clearly have a lot to say. You have previously left comments indicating that you will participate in this blog; however, I am not interested in your participation. This blog is written solely by me. It is based on my research experience in Ireland, and DOES NOT feature guest writers. If you look on the research aids page of this blog, you will notice that the Irish Genealogy Projects Archives page to which you referred is already noted. Also, your blogger profile is not a profile at all, so you will find most people including me will delete your comments from their pages.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jennifer I am behind with my blog reading. Good news that you are back home refreshed after a successful trip. The dreaded flu bug seems to be a part of travel. looking forward to hearing more about your adventures. pauleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pauleen,

      Thanks for your comments; they are always much appreciated. I'm in the same boat with my reading. I'll be back on track as soon as the sneezing stops :):)

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete

Comments on this blog are always deeply appreciated; however, in the spirit of true collegiality, I ask that you do not write something you would not say to me in person.

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Cheers, Jennifer

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