As it turned out, I did such an amazing job on the upcoming trip, that I succumbed to my inner desire and I asked to join them. My father-in-law, Pat, graciously accepted me on their trip, though I really feel he had little to no choice.
Pat has been to home many times since The O'Rourke's emigrated to Canada 1967, with 3 little
B and B host, Lila just knows how to do it right. She is a treasure.
On different days we traveled from home to home, and I got a glimpse of the road trip yet to come. Pat knew his way around. Derek was the driver and we had been loaned a GPS from our now favourite cousin. It was like having a sexy irish tramp with a brogue guiding us around. Soon it became evident that there were too many cooks in the front seat. From where I sat, quietly, I was watching Derek navigate the left side of the road, the GPS falling off the dashboard and my Da-in-law guiding Derek circa 1956. Both were challenged by right vs left. We always seemed to arrive at our destination without any spats.
Our hosts at each home were amazingly welcoming and many family
We saw the home in which Pat had grown up, as it is still the home of the eldest O'Rourke brother, Leo. Leo's has pigeons so some of our visit was in the coop in the back garden. The pigeons have been a hobby since Leo was 6 years old. It was wonderful to see a passion that lasted some 80 years.
Leo has sired a large group of wonderful people and we enjoyed our night with them immensely.
|And more O'Rourke's and the Farrell's|
So many O'Rourke's so little time.
|Father/Son and Grandson Tattoos. Missing Kevin|
What a great day.
We did some sight seeing in a small town called Clonakilty. We happened on to a beach the likes of which I have not seen. I sent photos and texts home remarking that we were frolicking at Inchydoney. Bridget has since renamed it Itchy Donkey, but refuses to believe we frolick.
Following Kinsale, we traveled further west, and stopped in Killarney. I wanted to sing, but Derek reminded me that it was not Christmas here and that I sing very poorly. We took a car ferry and then drove through the Burren. It seemed like an Irish wasteland, until the flowers are noticed growing within the rocks. Finally we found our bed and breakfast in County Clare. This small town, with a population of about 15 people and one intersection seemed at first site to have little to offer beyond a few stores and pubs and this amazing B and B, the Ballyvaughan Lodge.
However Ballyvaughan's claim to fame is its whisky bar. I had had a full day and night and after our gravy dinner, I wanted to head back to our home away from home. I was, however, dragged to this whisky bar. I was convinced because the barkeep made the "Best Irish Coffee in Town". We saw pictures of Steven Spielberg and the actress I like to call "1 of the Desperate Housewives". Derek's Da was very familiar with the Irish Whisky. Derek not so much, as he "doesn't like hard liquor". He was convinced of it's benefits. I stumbled and dragged the 2 of them back to the quaint Ballyvaughan Lodge as now, after my Irish coffee, I was an alert drunk.
|Breakfast - Ballyvaughan Lodge|
This is where my father in law gave me my favourite memory. "Where is the next pub" he asked, to which Derek replied "It's 1 in the morning and you are 80. The next pub is in your bed".
|Where's the Next Pub|
Ballyvaughan is close to the Cliffs of Moher. We took a ferryboat under the cliffs. It was a cold, rainy day, but I was fully, yet embarrassingly dressed for it. Neither Derek nor Pat acknowledged that I belonged with them. I found this confusing because not only was a dressed in green, I was sporting the red rubber boots I found at the back of an army surplus store in a dodgy part of Dublin. I know they were really proud of me.
|Red Boot Diaries|
|Under the Cliffs of Moher|
Shopping here was a mad search for perfume made locally, as I purchase a new scent with any trip.. After the trip, I am reminded of the good times every time I smell my new scent. I was excited beyond belief to find out that there was a perfumerie that we could visit AND TOUR, on our way to Galway. It was difficult to convince my road trippers that this would be time well spent. Derek stopped at a chocolate factory instead, knowing that I would be satisfied with this compromise. Whenever I smell chocolate now, I flash back to Ireland, as well as all the other millions of places I have stuffed my face.
|On the boats again|
Galway was a nice surprise as we had not seen this cool city before. After much circling and back- tracking around and around the one-way streets, Derek could stop for a brief moment so that we could find and check into our hotel. Off he went to find the Car-park. Pat and I dragged our suitcases across the cobblestones and dragged them up the front steps of the Skeffington Arms. It was with pleasure and delight when we saw the faces at the reception desk as Mr and Mrs O'Rourke checked in. My father-in-law, my sugar daddy, the man who cheered me through my first Guinness.
|A half pint of Guinness, done|
|Where's the music?|
|Derek and his Da|
It was honestly, the best trip I have ever taken.