Mom was probably 88 when my sister and I decided to take her on a trip she always wanted to experience: Ireland. Susan had driven the countryside before but this would be pure adventure for Mum and me. In fact, we titled our vacation: The Queen Mum and the Two Princesses Go Green. We trusted our luck, our love for each other, and—ok— a wee bit of little people thrown in for good measure.
For two weeks, we drove wherever the wind pushed us. We had reservations for the first night only at a lovely B&B somewhere south of Shannon and before crossing over the mountain into the Dingle peninsula. After that, it was point the car and go. Mom would giggle with each bump in the road, exclaim over the “sheepies” in each field, and routinely say as we entered each village, "There must be an ordinance that they paint their houses.” To be sure, each village was crisp in color and cleanliness. But after the 100th or so village, we finally stopped to get petrol and asked the attendant about an ordinance.
"Nope. No ordinance.”
“See, Mom. No ordinance.”
Didn’t register. By village 101 and Mom’s exclamation, “There must be an ordinance,” we both shouted: “There is no ordinance!!”. Sigh. We gave up.
Killarney, Kenmare and Bantry. Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. Dublin (but a night) and back west to Westport where we ventured into the Burren, Galway, and backroads with standing stones, church ruins and more sheepies.
The music pub was our great delight—sitting in a tiny smoke-filled room with fiddle, pipe and drum playing for hours while Mum nursed her 7-Up, Susan her Jameson and me my Guinness. We left reeking of tobacco which we abhor but also clutching precious memories of a village given to song and dance.
No matter where we ventured—whether the castle of the pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley and her ship The White Seahorse, or the Iron Age ruins in the Ceide Fields of County Mayo, hospitality, kindness and generosity abounded. And with a name like Eileen, I found myself on beauty shops, billboards, want ads, and newspaper columns.
Thanks for letting me ramble. Memories are God’s way of giving us roses in winter. May this day find you creating memories with luck love, and perhaps the leprechauns.