I don’t know how people blog on the move / while travelling. Apart from having only limited time to think because you’re so busy moving, there are the technical difficulties to deal with, one of which, I discover, is hitting the right bloody keys. I have written a blog while driving up the M1 but driving north up the M8 towards Arklow is defeating me at the minute, the road is not quite as smooth as it at first appears. It means there’s a lot of red at the end of a sentence which I have to go back and correct, like that one. Yes, it looks alright now, but it didn’t.*
Being on the move for the last three days I thought I’d better take advantage of any writing time that’s available, so, imperfect though it is, that’s what I’m doing. The reason we’re on the move is that it’s home time and we decided to extend the trip for a couple of days at the end of our two weeks in Dunquin and make a first pilgrimage, could that be the word, to the home of my ancestors or half of them at any rate. We’ve been to a place called Macroom in County Cork where 150 years or so ago my great grandfather was a school teacher. The researcher of my ancestry who found this out was very excited, me having been a teacher at one point in my career. I told you a bit about his controversial history in a previous blog so I won’t repeat it here, after all some would say it’s a skeleton you might want to keep in your closet.
On this trip we thought we would visit the place of his birth and life although where he died and was buried we still didn’t know, certainly we couldn’t find his grave on the limited reconnaissance we carried out, i.e. we looked round a couple of cemeteries and couldn’t even find any Galvins let alone ‘my’ Galvin. We met a lot of nice people (and asked about Galvins) whose response ranged from, sorry don’t know of any Galvins round here to, ah yes, there’s Galvins up the hill, second left then second left again etc (needless to say we never found them). In fact the only mention of a Galvin was on this statue in the town square. His name is at the top of the list so he must have been important in the battle for Irish independence. But whether he’s a relative I couldn’t say.
The man in the library was very helpful and said I was the third or fourth person they’d had in in the last week or so asking about the same thing. He gave me a copy of a book (as above photo) they’d produced which will be helpful but it was clear I wasn’t going to be able to use any of this, it being Saturday and places were shut and all the more so, tomorrow being Sunday. In addition, in some cases, the places we needed to go to were either back where we’d come from (Mallow) or out of our way (Cork). We clearly should have planned better and left more time for this part of our holiday if we were serious in wanting to find out more about my family.
A note to our landlady who directed us to the library in Macroom – it burned down two years ago and is located further down the street. She obviously isn’t a big library user. Even so she was very proud of Macroom’s library describing it as a distinctive building and we couldn’t miss it, it being opposite Supavalue. I meant to tell her she was somewhat out-of-date in her intelligence but doubtless she meant well. I came straight out of the relocated library and, with my appetite for books in full flow, found a nice bookshop and bought the latest Michael Connolly / Charlie Parker book which restored my view of the cost of books in Ireland.
We had a meal and a pint, the dogs disgracing themselves in both settings and decided Macroom had probably had enough of us so back to our B&B. We left the next day and made the long drive (when I’m writing first part of this blog) to Arklow, a part of Ireland we didn’t know very well although my aunt (relatives again) was a Mother Superior (great title and one that will impress if you’re Catholic and mean diddly squat if you aren’t) somewhere near here in Wicklow. But by this time we’d had enough of ancestor research so we just enjoyed our country house hotel which was as different as it was possible to be from the previous night’s accommodation. The bed was the same size as last night’s room and the room was nearly as big as the whole B&B. Not sure the photo does it justice but it was the best we could do.
And so after a breakfast as big as the bed, we set off to Dublin and the ferry. No real dramas getting there or the crossing which was as it should be – on the fast ferry and a smooth crossing. As I sat on the ferry contemplating the three hour plus drive home I thought this is nice but I don’t fancy that journey, how can we break it up? Brilliant idea, we’ll stay the night in Liverpool, that’s about half way. Such a brilliant idea that even though I rang up and booked a room for us all, I cancelled it about 3o minutes later, or rather tried to, and would have done if they’d have answered the phone. So straight home and that was the end of our retirement adventure.
So I’m finishing this blog at home with all our usual retirement activities pressing in on me – bills to pay, hedges needing cutting, holiday to be got over, projects to get started on, all that kind of thing. No doubt I’ll keep you informed of all my retirement adventures in future blogs and with maybe a few less organisational challenges than we’ve had in the last couple of weeks, maybe.
*By the way I shouldn’t have complained about the road being too bumpy because now we’ve come to a grinding halt on the motorway with four fire engines blocking the carriageway, so silly me, but at least it’s easier to hit the right keys.