the troubles

 

We’re Irish so I guess a little arguing is to be expected? There’s a lot of opinions come along with me on this family holiday…

I need to make the most of some brief alone time, stomach troubles, to recharge for the next round.

I hopped on the bus one day. Hopped on and off the next. Finally seem to have suppressed the jetlag and did some touristy things. One hour and a half in the Titanic Museum – never crossed my mind to be interested til Belfast but that is a very impressive place. One hour and a half at Crumlin Road Gaol – it’s a gaol, not so nice, and the hangman’s noose at the end… One hour and a half on a Black Cab Tour – I expected fascinating I got distressing and very sobering. Belfast has a dark side still…

The others are out, singing to Van the man, for an hour and a half because that must be the attention span of a tourist.

I’m not sure how I feel about Belfast.

There are some wonderful old buildings and some lovely friendly people. We’ve had amazing food, done lots and lots of walking, stayed in a crazy good hotel, heard birdlife I cannot identify out the window day and night. But also sirens… and the lads every night late. Today’s cabbie told me it’ll be the young rats from the nearby estates…and the gates between the ‘traditions’ are still locked at night, and on Sundays.

Tomorrow we’ll be on our way. A few less travellers with us and the Giant’s Causeway to see before our next stop. We’ll be on the road to Derry.

 

one day I’ll fly away

 

I love Severus Snape…just sayin.

A yak blanket, closed shutters, and some good tv viewing ahead to close out this shortest day of the year.  Felt so very flat home from work, glad of the eye candy I find on my screen.

Perhaps a soak first will help warm up my slighted soul. Long, busy day – hungry, tired and alone at the other end of it.

I’ve been mentally preparing for countdown, for some time now – to start once today’s meeting was done. So much to do folks! before that great metal bird whisks me way above the clouds…

This time in five weeks I’ll be breathing ancestral air. Dreams into reality – it does happen.  And from there to Boston – yes, I’m going to the U S A !! Can I see the little one settled in a matter of days?

Can I have a little time to stop and smell the shamrocks, without agenda?

 

Randy Crawford – isn’t she gorgeous 🙂

 

 

where would you go

 

I’ve had times when I couldn’t walk to the letter box, and I travelled all over in my mind, through other wanderer’s words and photos never expecting that to change.

I’ve ticked Japan off my imaginary list – was the first place, and for the longest time only, that I really really had to go… 

Over time I’ve found a couple of places, that I didn’t even know I wanted to be, are magic and now deep in my psyche. Fields of  longing…to be there again. To stay when I arrive. 

So, I can’t list the top 5 places that I’ve always wanted to visit – the list changes as I age, and as I discover the world’s corners slowly, and unexpectedly.

Here’s my current thoughts :

  1. Ireland – in July and August I will stand where my ancestors stood. There’ll be lots of photos, and no doubt tears 😉
  1. I’d like to revisit Japan, Italy and USA – yes dear reader I KNOW that’s three 🙂 but I made up my own rules and added a subcategory.
  1. Greece – ancient buildings to stand in awe of. 
  1. Lots of this country that I haven’t seen – for example Ayers Rock/Uluru.
  1. Tibet, Nepal, India – another cluster, and I just think it’s all too late in this life for me to get there…

Everywhere is a long way from Australia! Unless a few things in life change I believe it’ll be Ireland, America and that’s it for this list other than local jaunts. Things do change though, don’t they 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

a mid-week, winter night’s chat

 

It’s cold, I’m perennially tired and I could have used any number of other excuses to stay home on the couch but I’m so glad I went to the Ultimo Library tonight.

Walter Mason has had a conversation every month this year – each with an interesting author. This month was the first time I was able to go and he was chatting with Rosamund Burton (‘Castles, Follies and Four Leaf Clovers’) about her pilgrimage through Ireland in particular, but about our pilgrimages through life in general.

I’m hoping to go to Ireland next year and I knew I wanted to read Rosamund’s book before my trip so I now have my own signed copy.

Rosamund had great stories to share, is engaging and fun to listen to. Walter is good at this, very relaxed and it is a conversation between friends however he also threw in a few curly questions – she came up with answers but was clearly thrown a bit at times which shows none of it’s rehearsed.

I’m a big fan of Walter Mason – have been since I first read his book ‘Destination Saigon’. It’s no secret to all who know me. I’ve been heard to say, whenever his name is mentioned, ‘I love Walter Mason’. In fact last week he came up in conversation at work, I said it on cue, and the reply from co-workers was a chorus ‘we know!’.

And I loved tonight. Thank you Walter for organising and facilitating these free talks – what a gem.

 

 

 

I’m going to Ireland – suggestions welcome :-)

 

Starting to do some research around a trip to Northern Ireland next year.

I want to go stand where my ancestors stood, breathe the air.

I’ve got the bones of a family tree that a few cousins worked on. Something happened to the records in Ireland around the time that my father’s family left, so dates, names and info beyond a couple of generations back is scarce, and unverified. I do have some clues though.

I know which town we came from and I have the original spelling of our name. Those that left couldn’t spell, or read and write? Somehow the name changed – twice in fact. Descendants in America and Canada have yet another surname!

Today’s research led me to the page of a guy with a variation of the surname. I think he’s American but I’m not sure. There’s a photo of a road sign – a road I read about a couple of weeks ago. And a comment from a guy with our surname, spelt another way. All hail facebook for a few minutes.

I feel as though we’re getting warmer, I’m on the track, it’s exciting! Now I just have to hope they see, and respond to this stranger’s messages…

Is it too much to hope for an address, a site. Surely the house is gone but to stand where they lived…where at some point they stood. I know the connection is with me wherever I am but I just want that.

For years I’ve been thinking about it, and vaguely saying ‘I want to go to Ireland but I can’t for a couple of years’. A couple of years is UP. I’m going next year and I set aside some of this break from work to plan timing and itinerary. The bones of it anyway.