Sunday, June 6, 2004

Past the Crossroad

Better yet, send them to see Paddy Gleeson.  And so it was.  The directions went like this.  Take the road out front, go to the right.  Bear to the right at the fork. Go through the crossroads and Paddy’s house is the eighth one on the right. It is yellow.

 

We finished our pints and thanked the gent at the bar who had spoken to us through the barmaid and entered back out into the golden yellow light of the Irish sun.  We encountered no problems to find  Paddy’s.  We counted the eight cottages and were only thrown off by what appeared to be an attached structure.  We parked in a small lane shared by the possible eighth and ninth home.  Looking to my left I saw a person standing in his open door way looking at us with curiosity.  “Are you Paddy Gleeson?” I asked.  He nodded and waved us in.

 

We entered into a one room living area.  A worn and thread bear chair was in front of an open hearth.  A peat fire burned and warmed the small quarters.  The floor was stone and the furnishings Spartan.  A cupboard, a table, a dresser and a small refrigerator were the only comforts he had.  Two more chairs were pulled from the table and he positioned us in front of the fire with him.

 

He waved his arm around the room indicating the string of cards that hung from all four walls.  Testimony that on May 20 he had turned 100 years old.  Cards came from all over the country.  He proudly showed us the article in the paper, the card from the President of Ireland.  He also confided that he was given 2000 Euro for his accomplishment.  He had many more cards, too many to string up with the others!

 

He offered us whiskey or wine.  We accepted the wine.  He poured the remains of a bottle into two small glasses, having none for himself. We drank to his heath and then he asked if I wanted to hear his memories about my family, the McGraths.

 

Unfortunately, he remembered another clan of McGraths who are not related to me. Yet the stories were interesting.  This family had sent a son to the Scotland Yard.  They also remained in the area and have a cement business.  This was not my family.

 

Paddy Gleeson was a testament to righteous living. He never married being the quintessential Irish bachelor.  Living simply with the whole community looking out for him.  Having visitors arrive and sit in front of his fire finding their pasts.

 

We entered  back into the soft yellow light and headed towards Ennis.

 

14 comments:

my78novata said...

So neat getting relive your trip thru you. Lori

krobbie67 said...

Wow, this is an Ireland the average tourist doesn't get to see. How exciting!
:-) ---Robbie

sonensmilinmon said...

Now that is the kind of experiences I LOVE.  My dad and mom seemed to find the most interesting people on our journeys through Europe and Mexico.  I simply love stories like this and look forward to hearing more about your trip. :)  Thanks for letting me join in on this journey to Ireland. :)

Monica

mlraminiak said...

This whole experience seems like it's right out of a novel.  Imagine a 100-year-old Irishman inviting you into his home for a glass of wine and to hear his tales! Lisa  :-]

slowmotionlife said...

This is one of those stories you only see in films or books.  What a wonderfully warm encounter.  It reminds me so much of sitting in the tiny poor village homes of Hel's family in Manila - they have so little, compared to our American lifestyle - and yet smiling came so much more easily for them.  They offer whatever they have, though they have nothing. It puts your own life into perspective.  ::smile::

I love the photo!  Can't wait to see and hear more about your adventures.  :D

dymphna103 said...

I so wish I could have been just a fly on your shoulder for this visit  john

deabvt said...

Great story & Pic.    Begorrah!!
V   [ thanks]

txsguinan said...

Oh, this is just too wonderful.  Ready for more...   :)

pubcrwlr35 said...

I moved to Ireland as a teenager, met my husband in Kerry(boyfriend at the time), and lived there for years, (illegally) until I got pregnant and had to go back to the States to get medical care.  I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.  Bachelors like Paddy are a dime a dozen there, I wish I'd let my husband remain one!  LOL! kidding.

mrccgoody said...

You're back!  I'm so glad you're back... Patiently waiting for more wonderful stories and pictures, thank you very much!

mrccgoody said...

You're back!  I'm so glad you're back... Patiently waiting for more wonderful stories and pictures, thank you very much!

halfmoonunder said...

I've never been to Ireland, but it certainly sounds magical with all those leprauchans and poets wandering about!
I'm glad you had a great trip. Please keep the pictures coming!

Maryanne


http://journals.aol.com/halfmoonunder/DarkSideoftheMoon
http://journals.aol.com/globetrotter2u/Myfeelingsarereal/

quroboros said...

What a great story.  In this country, we'd barely even take notice of such a person.  How wonderful that you got to meet him.  ¤Holly

haikulike said...

All... beautifully rendered.