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Ireland Day 16: There's Goodness In It

rain 63 °F

Note: It is just under a year since our last entry. When we came home we got back to our regular, day-to-day lives, and it was hard to blog. However, we wanted to finish our blog so that we could use it as a photo album, and so that we could use it to show other people our trip.

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We ate a delicious breakfast, including Mary Kathleen's treacle bread and coconut bread. It was a beautiful rainy day, and we spent most of the morning and afternoon visiting with the Morans in front of the cozy turf fire.
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We did make one outing, to Claremorris. We wanted to buy one last gift: a Mayo jersey for Aubrey. Attracta had made some calls to track down small sizes. We were not able to find one in a baby size, but we found one that was sized for a three-year-old. Thankfully, going to Claremorris gave us the opportunity to try the best chipper in Mayo (according to a recent poll): Val's. Adrian and Fr. Eugene worked there as teenagers, and Val talked with us about them when we told him we knew them. The chips were absolutely delicious: ever since, we have often wished we could eat Val's chips again.
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Jillian, who does Irish dance, gave a demonstration of her skills.
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Daniel, imitating his cousin Robbie. Apparently, when Daniel's family all visited together in 2003, Robbie was fascinated by the turf fire. Catherine and Mary Kathleen had Daniel recreate the way Robbie sat waiting for the fire to start.
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Some views of the cloudy and rainy weather outside. It was wonderfully warm and cozy within.
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We spent some time playing cards and talking with everyone. It was a wonderful day, and we were happy we had the chance to return to Kilkelly after our first visit. Later that night, we sat by the fire with Attracta and Mary Kathleen. Mary Kathleen started feeling sick, and got up for a moment. Shortly after we heard a yell, and Attracta went to help her. A moment later, Attracta called to us to come help. Mary Kathleen had fallen. Marie came down to the house, and we did everything we could to help Attracta and Marie. Mary Kathleen seemed to be feeling a little bit stronger after a while. Although it was scary, we were glad there were people in the house to help her.

Posted by danielcatherine 22:18 Archived in Ireland Tagged marie chips mayo turf jillian kilkelly mary_kathleen attracta ciaran val's claremorris Comments (0)

Ireland Day 7: Knock, Turlough, and Westport

overcast 66 °F

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Our day started with breakfast: Catherine's treacle bread was delicious!
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After breakfast, we went to Knock for Mass with Mary Kathleen, and did a little shopping for souvenirs. It was a very pleasant morning. On our way back to Kilkelly we stopped to see Mary Kathleen's husband John's grave. Catherine never met John, but Daniel knew him eleven years ago when he went to college in Ireland.
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The graveyard is named for St. Celsius, who Kilkelly is also named for. There is a monument to Irish people buried far away right next to John's grave.
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We stopped to visit Michelle (Mary Kathleen's daughter-in-law, Ciarán's wife) and their children. Ciarán's house has a nice view of the fields nearby.
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Then we went to a late lunch at Attracta's house, where we saw Attracta's husband Michael and their daughter Ciara. Ciara is planning to be a math teacher, so we had a nice talk with her about teaching. We also watched some Gaelic football, which Catherine had not seen before.
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Old family pictures on Mary Kathleen's table.
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When we put "Achill Island" in our GPS, it took us to this tiny road. The GPS directions voice said "you are on the fastest route" right as we turned here.
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We stopped to see a ruined church and round tower in Turlough. Daniel had been here before with his grandparents and John and Mary Kathleen. It is a beautiful tower, and very impressively preserved. Incidentally, the city of Turlock in California is named after Turlough, Co. Mayo: the founder of Turlock was from Turlough.
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Stopped for a late dinner in Westport and tried a beer called Mescan. Mescan was the name of St. Patrick's personal brewer, and the brewery makes their beer at the foot of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain where St. Patrick fasted for forty days and forty nights. The beer was good. We got to Achill Island very late, and almost got lost finding the place with directions telling us to go "past the green boat" and "down the boreen."

Posted by danielcatherine 11:34 Archived in Ireland Tagged tower dinner lunch mary michael michelle kathleen ciaran's knock westport ciara attracta turlough achill mescan croagh_patrick round_tower Comments (1)

Ireland Day 6: Baking Lessons and Other Adventures

semi-overcast 65 °F

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We started the day with a delicious breakfast at Mary Kathleen's house. It was Catherine's first time trying Mary Kathleen's delicious and (literally) world famous treacle bread. Daniel had tried to bring some to her last time he was here, but it fell on the floor of his apartment in Galway and never made it to Catherine. Thus, she waited ten years to try it. It was delicious, and in fact Catherine asked Mary Kathleen to teach her how to make it.
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Jake, Attracta's dog.
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Views from Mary Kathleen's house: it's a beautiful place and we loved staying there.
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We went on a morning walk with Mary Kathleen and her daughter Marie. We had Marie's dog and Attracta's dog with us. Apparently there are still several cows there on the farm, which Ciaran (Mary Kathleen's son) takes care of. They are beef cattle, but Mary Kathleen likes to think of them more as pets.
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Our walk brought us to Marie's house, where we had tea and bread and jam, and ham and cheese if we wanted it. It was a nice little stop along the walk.
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We walked up towards the bog land where the family gets the turf they use for fires, and snacked on wild bilberries along the way. They tasted like blueberries, but they were more tart and smaller.
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Catherine talking with Mary Kathleen during the walk.
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Snowy and Molly, Mary Kathleen's pet donkeys. Marie gave Catherine a bowl of carrots to feed them.
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Attracta, Mary Kathleen, Catherine, Róisín (Mary Kathleen's granddaughter), and Rose (Mary Kathleen's daughter, Róisín's mother.
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Daniel, Mary Kathleen, Catherine, Róisín, and Rose.
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Mary Kathleen, Daniel, Róisín.
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In looking through old family photos, we found this one of John Caulfield Senior. This is Mary Kathleen's great grandfather, and Daniel's great great great grandfather. Catherine felt that his "smile" was similar to Daniel's.
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Mary Kathleen and Daniel imitating their ancestor.
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Mary Kathleen showed us the church in the village of Aghamore, where Daniel's great great grandparents regularly went to Mass, and where his great grandfather Dominic would have grown up going.
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The graves of John and Margaret Caulfield, who were Daniel's great great grandparents and Mary Kathleen's grandparents.
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Some more views of the Aghamore graveyard.
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Daniel driving and talking with Mary Kathleen.
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Knock Shrine, the old parish church. This is where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1879, and it is a huge shrine that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. Today there was a rededication for the newer basilica, which was first opened forty years ago. The Archbishop of Boston, Seán Cardinal O'Malley, was celebrating a Mass along with three other bishops. There was also a large delegation from Boston present, and most local people, hearing our American accents, presumed we were from Boston.
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The new (or forty year old) basilica at Knock. Some pictures show the Mass going on for the rededication. There is also a new mosaic above the altar, which is beautiful. This seems to have been added within the last year, and Mary Kathleen was quite proud of it.
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The grave of Monsignor James Horan, who was pastor at Knock and raised money for the airport. The airport is a great benefit to the community in County Mayo, and several of Daniel's cousins work there, and Mary Kathleen has a high opinion of the Monsignor.
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Mary Kathleen's daughter Martina, Martina's daughter Sorcha, Mary Kathleen, Catherine, and Daniel. Martina could only stay for a minute, but we were glad that we were able to meet her. Sorcha wasn't born when Daniel was here last, so it was nice meeting her as well.
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Stopped at Marie's house again to see the garden. She has a beautifully decorated garden with little figurines and other cute items. Most of Mary Kathleen's children live on the same property: Attracta lives just south of her along the road, and Marie, Liam, and Ciarán live along a small driveway. Rose and Martina live in nearby towns, and Sean is currently working in England and living with his uncle. It is very nice for Mary Kathleen to have her children and grandchildren so close to her.
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The back of Mary Kathleen's old house.
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Baking lesson! Catherine learned how to make Mary Kathleen's delicious treacle bread. We can't wait to make it at home. It is incredibly delicious, and, according to Mary Kathleen, has a lot of health benefits.
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Liam's daughters, Shannon and Caitlyn, were the judges for Catherine's treacle bread making. Shannon gave her 84 1/2, and Caitlyn gave her 61!
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Catherine's first treacle "cake." Waiting for breakfast tomorrow!
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A cozy turf fire, a cup of tea, and a nice conversation to finish off a fun and busy day.

Posted by danielcatherine 12:03 Archived in Ireland Tagged tea family smile marie graves cozy shannon martina turf baking knock mary_kathleen attracta aghamore caulfield scowl sorcha caitlyn bogs bilberries Comments (1)

Ireland Day 5: Onward to Mayo

rain 60 °F

First, a note to our readers: we couldn't get a solid internet connection in Achill Island, and in Kilkelly we were up visiting so late with family/friends. We are thus several days behind, but we will be updating regularly now.

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The famine pier and wall in Mountcharles. These were projects that the Quakers set up as a famine relief scheme. The local people built them and got paid for it, somewhat relieving the Famine.

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Some beautiful views of our drive through Co. Sligo on our way to Mayo.

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We saw a ruined Round Tower, which had clearly been broken at some point in its history.

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We stopped for gas and before we left we got a couple rolls of candies that aren't widely available in the United States.

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We arrived just in time for lunch at Daniel's cousin's house. Mary Kathleen, who is Daniel's grandpa's first cousin (thus Daniel's first cousin twice removed), had made us a very nice lunch and visited with us for some time. Her daughter, Attracta, came over as well. Catherine felt like Mary Kathleen reminded her a great deal of Daniel's grandpa, Tom. It was a wonderful lunch and we had a great time. We then went on to Daniel's friend Adrian's house. Adrian lives in Knock, the same village where there is a huge Marian shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1879. Adrian made us a "traditional" Irish dinner of Pakistani curry, but not before tricking Catherine into thinking that Irish people traditionally eat a single boiled potato each on Fridays. We visited with Adrian and his family in their thatched-roof cottage. His brother, Fr. Eugene, came by as well, as did his sister Barbara's boyfriend Johnny. Eugene and Johnny are fixing up the house across the road for Barbara to live in. We had a very nice visit, talking about politics and current events and everything else imaginable. While we were visiting, news of the coup in Turkey came on. This was very much in line with Daniel and Adrian's interests, and so we stayed until almost 2 AM watching the coverage and analyzing the situation.
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Daniel, Catherine, Mikal, and Adrian.

Posted by danielcatherine 15:54 Archived in Ireland Tagged turkey adrian thatch donegal mikal mayo coup knock sligo kilkelly mary_kathleen attracta Comments (0)

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