Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Golden Days of Summer

A few weeks ago I responded to Carly regarding her inspiration about a "Family Album". She asked what summer means to each of us, and to take a picture and submit it along with an essay.  

I have been thinking, as my time zooms closer, and I have concluded that summer certainly has meant different things at particular times of my life.  Those of ya'll who know me understand how much I love a "theme" and can run with it.  

I was reminiscing about back when I was a kid.  When you woke up each morning and had no clue what was in store for you in another 10 years.  You awoke to all job to go to, no mate  or lack of to worry about.  Life was so simple,  and at the time you didn't realize it.  

It's summer.  It is the 1960's.  There are kids everywhere.  Everywhere. On bikes, on skates, playing kick ball, making up gangs of all girls or all boys, building tree houses, playing Tarzan in the jungles of the rail road track, catching fire flies, rounding up enough people to play tag, statue, base ball, play marbles (I must have been the last generation to play marbles), hide and seek, and to dodge cars in the street. These were the elements of the summers of the 60's. 

Then it was 1963, I think.  The year the pool opened.  My Dad was a very strong swimmer.  Back in his day, he almost made it across the English channel.  He did make it to New Jersey once swimming across the accident, he caught the current.  He made it his life's purpose to teach us kids to swim and not just to swim, but to swim well and some of us swam well  enough to be champions.  

This is the pool when it opened.  I'm the girl.  The boys are my pesky brothers (three of us born with in two years of each other...) and the baseball kid, the tiniest looking lovingly at his older siblings, P. 

And my Dad, looking young and happy.  

I  sometimes dream of my Dad being at his prime of life, as in this picture.

These were some of the best summers of my life.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Life Goes On

Now that I have finished the Irish Chronicles I now get back to the everyday life adventures that are going on.    My Sister Omega, her husband, Joe and myself went to the Cincinnati Reds baseball game last night.  They were playing Pittsburgh, and the Reds lost.  That was a bummer, but we had a great time anyway. 

Omega's husband was given these great tickets, which included access to the Club House and seats above home plate.  I was blown away.   One foul ball came whirling at us at about 100 miles per hour.  All these seats at the game, and the ball is heading right at my head! 

This has happened to me before, when I was with my brother Pat.  He had to deflect the ball while holding a beer!  The result was he jammed his thumb, saved his sister, and did not spill a drop of beer.  

The same thing happened, almost.  The guy behind us reached out and knocked the ball down, it landed on the stairs and bounced to the front row where it was immediately picked up.  Such a big deal!  Wish we had gotten it!  

We went over to Omega's house afterwards and listened to an Irish band called the Saw Doctors.  We sang along with "N-17"...."oh I wish I were on the N-17!  Stone walls and the grass is green. Traveling along with just my thoughts and dreams."  Joe sang loudest of all!  

They are going to be performing in Indianapolis on August 17th....hmmmmmm, what do you say Chef Grace?  

Friday, June 25, 2004

Taking our Leave

We left Ireland as we entered, in the rainbow making rain, on the Blue Coach.  We left Blooms Hotel and made the short journey to the bus stops in front of Trinity College.  As we were waiting, a bloke approached us and asked if we were headed to the airport.  We nodded and answered in the affirmative. "Well, not at this stop ye won't!" he informed us. Once again we were saved by the kindness and affable nature of the Irish.

We were given typical Irish directions, "Walk down the street until you come to the green shop with the pretty flowers sitting next to the Paddy parlor , turn right and continue about a half block and there you should be!"

Off we went again.  It was actually very close  Unfortuntely, the Blue Coach was rounding the corner in front of O'Neills Pub heading away from us.  Not to worry, a new one arrives every 15 minutes. Our tiny group of two grew as the time went by.  We were engaged in a nice conversation with a young man who was going on a holiday to Spain.  We watched the people walk in that swift determined and no nonsense style that made me understand why there are so very few over weight people in Ireland.

I missed it already and I had yet to leave.

It began to rain with fat drops plopping on my upturned face as I looked skyward. I backed up against the high rock wall that bordered the sidewalk.  The ivy growing on the opposite side spilt over the top making a natural unbrella.

I took this last picture of Joe on the streets of Dublin in the soft Irish rain, the lad going to Spain behind him, and across the street, O'Neills Pub.

The rain mixed with the tears running down my face. 

The Stiffy by the Liffey

When walking along the streets in Dublin, one must always be on the look out not to get in the way of the hustle and bustle of the crowds on the sidewalks.  I could never get the hang of everything being on the left side vrs the right.  It seemed we were always going against the current, but I feel it was just our American habit of yielding  to the right.  It was particulaly harrowing when preparing to cross the street!!  Thank goodness jay walking was just not accepted.  The crowds would calmly wait on the sidewalk for the lights to change.  The pedestrian signals were especially important and would begin a countdown for the "okay" to cross.  It would begin at 45 seconds and then proceed all the way to "GO!" and the masses would begin to cross as one.  It was very cool. I tried to get a picture but was knocked aside.

There were statues everywhere commemorating everything from a very busty Molly Malone to a bullet ridden angel (bottom left). The center of O'Connell Street is lined with many of them, including the Spire fo Dublin, which is a 300+ foot stainless steel pillar which is called The Stiffy by the Liffey...I love that about the Irish.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Pursuit of the Perfect Pub

And then it was Noon.  That means, the pubs opened!

Which one is the best in Ireland?  We have not enough time to visit each and every one.  We needed more time that just seven days.

Our first pub was The Goat.  Then O'Neill's, then Stirrups, then.....oh, the list is soooooooo long!  I can not choose just one.  It is impossible.

Queens Hotel in Ennis.  Sally Long's in Galway.  Danny's in Broadford.

The Vat.

The Spanish Arch Hotel.........

Sightseeing in Dublin

The next morning I awoke to find that Joe had found his way home.  Hurray!  We got ourselves together and visited the restaurant for the celebrated Irish breakfast.  It was overwhelming wonderful, as always.  It begins with cereal, toast, fruit,  juice and yogurt.  Then you advance to the buffet for eggs, sausage, bacon (that is nothing like our whimpy substitute), black/blood pudding, potatoes, more fruit, more toast, and scones.  Finished off with the most delicious coffee I have ever guzzled, I mean swallowed.

Off to see the sights. From the top left, clock wise....foot bridge over the River Liffey and the wonderful boardwalk that runs next to parts of the river.  Early morning shot on a beautiful day.

A child feeding the pigeons in St. Stephens Green, the most beautiful and manicured public garden nestled close to Trinity College.  The garden has a enclosed area for a childrens playground, many sculptures and fountains.  A delightful refuge from the noisy Dublin traffic.

Cobblestone street around  the Temple Bar area awash in the soft morning light.

Trinity College where we took a walking tour of the college.  We were suppose to sign up to take a walking tour of Dublin, but somehow we got mixed up and did not realize it until too late!  The tour was well worth the hour we spent learning the history of the  Protestant college, begun in the early 1500's.  Our tour guide was a professor and a student at the illustrious institution.  He had excellent dry wit and a droll delivery that kept Joe and I in stiches.

The famous Central Bank is situated in an area that is  very limited for  parking...virtually non-existent.  This dapper gent  in top hat and tails makes sure that everyone is in the right spot at the right time. I could never seem to get a picture of his front!

Elvis lives and he is on the streets of Dublin.  I spotted him numerous times, usually in upper windows gazing down on the bustling streets.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Off of Dame Street

That is how we ended up a day earlier in Dublin that we anticipated.  The car rental place took the car back but not any of our money did they give back!  We did get a ride to the Airport where we (once again) hopped on the Blue Coach and rode to the old part of Dublin, the downtown area.  We disembarked in front of Trinity college and then walked around in circles, dragging our luggage looking for Bloom Hotel.

I had made the reservation from the pay phone at the airport. Yes they did have rooms (dance of joy), yes it was affordable, (jump for joy) and an Irish breakfast was included (tears of joy)...but, "We are in the midst of Temple Bar. It does get a little noisy at night.".  Even though my Aunt Kitty had warned us about even visiting Temple Bar, Dublin's Left Bank, it sounded intriguing.  More so now that even the front desk reservations found it necessary to forewarn us.

Walking around the narrow cobblestone streets between the bank and the River Liffey we came across a street sign that said, "Blooms Hotel".  And as if a miracle had happened there it was in all its yellow glory, about a half a block from Trinity college!

We checked into our room.  Two single beds, a 13 inch black and white TV, a desk and one chair.  The room was very warm, so we pried open the window to let in the Irish air. We were pleased to find that the view, if you craned your neck and stuck your head out the window, included the Plaza of the Central Bank.  In the middle of the Plaza was a golden globe, representing the world I would think.

We wasted little time in the room, and ran down to experience the night life of Dublin in the infamous Temple Bar area.

We went right into the hotel bar, called The Vat and immediately began to meet an assortment of characters. We  were drinking pints of Guinness and my favorite Smithwicks, and began to  purchase rounds for each other.  We were swapping stories about our roots in Ireland, and theirs in the States.  It was so much fun! 

So much fun that when I finally made it into the lift to return to the room, I had lost Joe.  I had also forgotten to settle up with the bar! 

My first night in downtown Dublin, and I was already had turned into one of the depraved degenerates that Aunt Kitty had warned me about.

P.S.  That is me in the middle in the pink.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

To Dublin

We leave Galway and head east to Dublin on the N6.  This route is not direct, but travels in a zig zag path to arrive at our destination.  We passed through so many quaint towns with the lyrical names that define Ireland.  It was in  Ballinasloe that the above picture was taken.  An innocent Brinks type truck delivering or transporting money to the bank accompanied by ten armed guards (can you see the guns!).  Its not easy being a bank robber in Ireland!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Weather report: A Bright Day with Sunny Spells

The next day we walked to downtown Galway and continued to shop and compare pubs.  Interesting fact, the pubs do not open until noon!  Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

The day was indeed sunny with lots and lots of tourists to share the narrow streets.  The charming quality was highlighted by the abundance of street entertainers and musicians.   

I caved and  gave Joe a reprieve...we headed back to Dublin to turn in the car, cut our tour short and just hang out in the old part of Dublin around Trinity College known as Temple Bar.  

We were warned by my Aunt Kitty to steer clear of this area.  It is a known magnetic for derelict enthusiasts (reportedly from England)  who end up puking in the streets at all hours.


Spanish Arches on a Rainbow making Day

Jumping off the bus we headed into the bustling charming merchant center of the town.  This particular area of the downtown has been closed to traffic!  The narrow streets were jam packed with delightful shops and pubs.  This was at one time the major port of trade for the Spanish in Ireland, hence the remaining ancient structure known as the Spanish Arches on the bay directly down from the Claddagh bridge.

This is where Joe and I commenced to serious shopping.  Keeping a tradition that has been in my family for three generations, I purchased a Claddagh ring for Bridget at the famous Fallers Jewelers on Williamsgate Street.  Strangely enough, I took my Claddagh ring off for inspection to determine if it had been purchased at Fallers (each is stamped with the jewelers special seal) and it broke at the connection of the hands to the heart.  "This is an omen to purchase a new one" the sales person solemnly told me.  No, my Mom gave it to me 30 years ago. I will have it repaired.  You do not mess with tradition.

Joe and I continued in our quest for the most perfect pub in Ireland and had several contenders in Galway.  I like the Sally Long Pub. A biker hang out!  I loved the mural on the wall depicting the last supper with Elvis, David Bowie, Axel Rose, Prince...just to name a few.  We tasted our first Mickie Finn!  Butterscotch schnapps.  Wonderful.  

The Spanish Hotel Bar was too good to be true.  We ate dinner there and Joe experienced scones for the first time! His remark was, "I'd jump over two tomato's to get to that scone."  

For the first and only time while in Ireland, we called it an early night and crashed after our long day in the mist, the dews and the rainbow making showers of Ireland


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

City of the Tribes

We arrived in Galway around 2pm and quickly found alongside the N-6, The Ryan Hotel.  A mere 49 Euro apiece we could have a room (two double beds)! a large color tv, modern facilities, (i.e., lots of hot water for the shower), and a telephone.  We went back out into the parking lot to confer.  Joe was shaking his head at the expense. "But, an Irish breakfast is included!" I informed him. He threw up his arms, "Well, why didn't you say so!"  Actually I think he saw the little red vehicle sitting there waiting for him to take the wheel again, and the Irish breakfast enabled him to save face.  

Why do they call elevators lifts in Ireland?  I'll tell you why, because they are tiny!  Joe and I in an area that is no larger than a small closet with our luggage made me laugh.  No wonder the Europeans are all so slender! If they are claustrophobic they must take the stairs.  To take the lift, they must be thin.  

We decided to go into Galway City for the remainder of the day.  The public transport stop was directly across the street from the hotel.  We joined the group of people huddled under the shelter waiting for the bus.  It was still raining the way it does in Ireland, which means a heavy mist that at times is more heavy than others.  A mother walking her son home from school ducked under the shelter and speaking together in Irish, put on additional outerwear.  I was fascinated by the language.  At first, I thought I just could not grasp their accents, but then I realized it was Irish!  Musical and mysterious. 

Have I mentioned yet how friendly and nice most people are in Ireland?  Everyone with the exception of one barmaid were wonderful to us. Several times a day I had to rely on the kindness of strangers.  "Is this the bus downtown?", "Is this the way to Shop Street?", "What is the name of the bus to take us to....fill in the blank."  "How do I arrive at O'callaghansmill ?"(they laughed at this but still told us how). "Am I on the right road to the cliffs?" "Please, what is the telephone code for the states...Dublin...?"  They were wonderfully patient with us. 

All day long of being rained on, risking our lives and the lives of others by driving the small roads in the Burren, and almost hitting a cow we were on our way into the magical city of Galway,also know as the City of the Tribes.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Missing the Dolmen

Leaving Ballyvaughan we headed back into the area of Co. Clare known as the Burren. The picture above is one from a post card.  I was unable to get Joe to pull over once he had a bead on Galway and the knowledge that once he got there he would not be driving again for at least 24 hours.  There was no stopping him.

We began the journey with a trip to Corkscrew Hill on the Kinvara road. Once we were on the mountain, there was no turning back!  If anyone has been into the mountains of Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky and not on an interstate, you will understand what it was like climbing up the side of the mountain and down the other side.  A lot of S curves, trees hugging the road, and stone fences holding up the hillside so it would not plunge onto the roadway.  At one curve (I swear this) there is a driveway and a car inching their way out onto the N-67 from the left! "Look Out!" I alerted Joe.  "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," he muttered in his new found Irish accent. 

Nothing could shake him very much after the mountain drive (and the cows), but stopping the vehicle was out of the question so I had to do with mentally making notes of the country side as it side past.  

The Burren....the hated Cromwell condemned this "inhospitable" landscape as having "not enough wood to hang a man, not enough water to drown him, not enough clay to cover his corpse."  

The name Burren means great rock.  And there is pleanty of it.  As far as eye can see.  The rock and stone fences of Kentucky pale and look like childs play compared to the magnificent structures that line the roadway and the fields between Ballyvaughan and Kinvara.  Enormous structures that are beautiful and astounding.

As we drove through, the travel guide was in the suitcase.  I had no idea what I was seeing.  It was just .......unbelievable.  Moon like, lunar like white rock spread out as far as the eye could see.  Following the road, the Atlantic ocean at times would appear in the picture as the back drop for this perplexing landscape.

What we missed, because we did not know to look for it, was the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen.  A structure that dates to 2500 BC.  It is an ancient monument that is common in this area of Ireland.  I assume because of the availability of the limestone slabs.  It has been referred to as a launching pad for a stone age missile. It actually is a grave that the Neolithic people built as a tribute to their dead.  The only thing similar that I can compare it to is Stonehenge in England.  

I wish I could have seen it.  It would have been well worth the effort to force Joe over.  I doubt there would have been a pub about for a pint though.  

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The N-67 to Galway

Leaving the Cliffs of Moher, we traveled the N-67 to make our way to Galway.  My sister, Omega, said that Galway is not to be missed if at all possible.  The trip was eventful!  First of all N-67, though it may appear to be a major artery on the map, is a two lane narrow twisty turny romp and in some cases, travels along side the Atlantic coast.  At some points the land next to the byway is held in place by six foot rock fences that line the N-67!  Over these fences creep woody vines and tree branches that actually brush up against the car if you get too close.  Too close?  For anyone not aquatinted with cars in Ireland, the driver is sitting in the right side of the vehicle.  The typical Irish car is a standard shift.  For the entire first day, Joe would reach towards the right to shift, utter the mother of all curses "FOOT!" and then reach to the left for the gear shift on the floor next to me.  He thought he was burning out the clutch at many points in this trip and I was grateful that the smell of grinding gears was displaced by the smell of cattle.  

We shared the road at one point with the cattle.  I saw this gent on the roadway, dressed in long overcoat, knee-high boots, with a staff and the Irish cap.  I thought to myself (because I knew not to talk to Joe and break his concentration except when I would have to shout out some warning)! "what in the world?" and then I saw the cattle, moseying along in the middle of N-67.  I screamed "COW," Joe down shifted.  We made it around the cow parade and even got a nod from the farmer!

We entered into the town of Ballyvaghan.  Even though it was still raining off and on, the town looked inviting.  We pulled off to the side of the road and parked.  (I will for the rest of my life envision Joe kissing the ground as he exits the car, even though theoretically he never did this.)  

We were soaked from the trip to the Cliffs.  We wandered down the streets and found a small cafe that was just opening for lunch, around noon.  I had a most marvelous vegetable soup that was made with a celery and cream base. While Joe had a nerve calming pint.

We headed back out and on to the area in Ireland known as the Burren.



Friday, June 11, 2004

Joe's thoughts about Ireland

"If ever asked 'what driving is like in Ireland?', tell them after driving two days I came to the Cliffs of Moher (in the rain).  A decision had to be made - jump from the cliffs, or drive back to Dublin on the other coast. The attendant on duty had me by the arm before I could get over the rock fence.  Good thing thought, Mary probably would have sold my guitars for about half what they are worth.  Gotta learn how to play the Irish whistle which I bought.  Love makes you do 'strange' things!"

Note Joe wrote in my travel journal the morning after the trip to the Cliffs.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Cliffs at Last!

Spent the night at the B&B.  I think.  Joe carried me back to the room!  The B&B's are so cool and informal.  Only bad thing is that they wanted cash, Euro's, and I wanted to save our Euro's for...well, the obvious, the pubs!  The breakfast was wonderful.  I had no idea that sausage could taste like this.  No filler at all, just wonderful unadulterated pork.  Joe liked the blood pudding, not me.  

We ate with a silent Japanese couple.  I believe it was a son and his Mama-san.  Joe left the table before I, because I was savoring the robust coffee and lingering over the last drops. Joe is not a coffee drinker.  It was then that the son began to talk to me.  He was so polite and spoke to me in a sideways manner, not making direct eye contact and very soft spoken with carefully pronounced English.  He is an engineer with Honda visiting from London.  They were going to the Cliffs.  They left the dining area before me and as she exited she bowed to me several times.  

The luck of the Irish faded this day.  It was raining and it was a cold dreary rain.  The trip to the Cliffs was harrowing due to the rain slick roadways and sharing the way with the tour buses. The rain itself was harsh and rushed into your rain gear and slapped your face!  On the wet whipping wind was decorated with tiny white flowers.  At first I thought it was snow!  But upon closer examination I decided it was wild flowers from the trees.  

The cliffs themselves were magnificent, breathtaking and no amount of gray rain would diminish their majesty.  Look at the picture....up on the top left cliff in the middle of the pic. You can just make out cattle.  Yes, they are like ants.    

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

60 Pubs in Ennis

Reaching the main road it is a short trip to Ennis.  Arriving in the city limits we find a B&B and head into town on foot.   

It was a fairy tale town.  The intimate old shops line the streets in a colorful display of the best in food, crafts and pubs. It had the feel of a medieval town under the shadow of the 13th century friary.  The narrow and twisted streets snaked their way towards the town center where a music festival was winding down for the evening.  The luck of the Irish!  We had arrived during the most famous and best musical festival of traditional music, the Fleadh Nua.  People were everywhere, spilling onto the small tunnel passageways that linked the narrow one way streets.  It was a celebration that involved dancing, drinking and making merry!  

We immediately found a pub to stumble into.  We were squeezed into places at the bar and immediately made to feel part of the celebration.  Ten or so musicians, ending their day together sat around a long table making music.  I could not believe our good fortune.  The musicians would finish one song and begin another.  They would sit and drink and be quite for a moment and then one of them would pick up their instrument and begin anew.  The rest falling in or just listening.  

It was traditional and at times so sad I felt tears falling down my cheeks.  

Then it would change and become a foot stomping ruckus free for all with the whole pub taking part with singing the lyrics.

Not knowing the words did not keep me from singing that night.  

The pub was called Brogans.  The town was called Ennis.  The music was called mystical.      

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

The way to Ennis

We head down the lane towards the larger road that will lead us to Ennis.

The light in Ireland is different. It is soft and translucent. The sheer glowing greenishness of the surrounding countryside holds you in a moist caress. One does not need sunglasses. The roadway gives way to the fields that stretch towards the horizon. Scattered are low trees that are in full bloom of white flowers. Yellow bushes dot the scenery sometimes in concentrations of a brilliant masterpiece. Violet flowers hang from trees as if ornaments. Lone tulip like red flowers stand alongside the roadway.

Everything is different and everything is magical. Fairies could be hiding in this beauty.

I gaze out the car window and cannot find words to express what I am feeling. Is it possible to be part of a collective consciousness that my ancestry has provided me? I do not feel like a stranger, I do not feel like a visitor.

I feel as if I have come home.

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.


Saturday, June 5, 2004

The trip of a Lifetime

I have returned from the land of the gentle rain.  I have so much to tell that it is hard to know where to begin.  I shall just jump right in with the most magical parts.

My mother asked that I travel to O'callaghansmill in County Clare.  This is the home of her mother's people, the McGraths.  She told me that on the wall of the pub was a photo of her Uncle Thom.  He was a member of the Hurling team that was the national champion in 1913.  She wondered if is still was there.

We somehow found O'callaghansmill. It was not easy. Far off the main road, in the middle of the most beautiful country side imaginable.  We stopped in a pub called Danny's in Broadford Sunday afternoon.  Not realizing there was a major soccer match being played that afternoon, the entire focus of the pub was on the match.  We found two kind souls who took interest in the Americans who would venture into a dark pub miles and miles off the tourist path.  We were pointed in the right direction and after a shared pint, we were off again.

Another half hour of harrowing driving on the left side of the road on the most narrow of narrow country roads, we stumbled upon a pub atop a hill, Mill Tavern.  This was it!

We entered and found another group, this one much smaller, watching the same important soccer match (Ireland vrs. England?). The bar maid was very kind and intervened for us by gently asking one of the men about the McGraths.

He knew of the family, my family who left so long ago.  He gave her directions for us to find the old family farm house.  Then on second thought he had another plan for us.............