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Memories from Martin
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Name: Martin
Age: 63
Location: Maryland, USA
Counties: Dublin, 1973 and the West of Ireland, 1998

Memory: My wife (she who completes me) and I vacationed in Ireland in 1998. We had such a grand time in there. I also had stopped in Dublin three times back in the 70's when returning from engineering trips. My dear wife Barbara had never been to Ireland. When we went together this time, we rented a car to drive around in. During our stay, we used bed and Breakfast places and took bus tours out of the main cities, mostly in the West of Ireland. That was because both Barbara's and my people were from those areas. Our daughter is doing a genealogy search but hadn't gotten to specifics in Ireland so we didn't actually have anyone specific to see. The roads are a bit narrow and the semi tractor-trailers are scary stuff to be near. On one bus trip we took on the Dingle peninsula, the driver hit a poor sheep and knocked the bloody little thing right off the mountain road into a ravine. The bus driver didn't skip a beat of his verbal dissertation while driving long! I thought that was pretty good concentration! There is this holy mountain of St. Patrick in county Mayo called "Croagh Patrick". It is a great pilgrimage that people come from all over the world to do. St. Patrick was supposed to have fasted for forty days and forty nights on its summit. They say that the normal person can climb it in two hours up and one hour down. It took me three hours up and two and a half hours down with a bloody lot of praying in between!!! The week before I did my climb, some old duffer about my age fell off the mountain, broke his jaw in two places and his leg. They had to have a mountain rescue team in a helicopter get him off the ledge he fell too. Barbara was really upset with me when I finally got back down late in the day. I had taken enough water with me for the climb but had given half of it away to a man and his wife (same last name as my Mom, Casey) that had not prepared well. I saw five young men doing the climb in their bare feet. That was the traditional way in the old days. Their feet were in really rough shape. The last 1000 feet are the toughest and is where most people give up and turn back. At that point, my legs felt like solid wood and hurt something fierce. However, I was determined to complete the trek, which I eventually did. It was the most difficult thing I've done since military boot camp, when I was 18 years old. I am 63 years old now and I'm sure glad I did this climb before I got any older!!! The cities of Galway and Adaire were my favorites. My mother used to have a saying, "That person was fatter than a Connemara pig!"Do you know, I never saw one pig in the whole of Connemara!!! We did see the Kylemore Abbey there that was so lovely it hurt to look it, nestled in the mountains with a beautiful lake right in front of it. The "Rock of Cashel" a seat of power for the Church and ancient Kings, was a beautiful place also, very striking. The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula were grand. We did bus tours of both places. Alas, the day we went to the cliffs of Moore, the weather was socked in with an Atlantic gale. We could hardly stand upright and the fog and rain made it impossible to see anything. Fortunately, most days were just gloriously beautiful. I wanted to stay and just FAX in my resignation back to my boss in the States but Barbara wouldn't let me! The lovely Irish people looked like my family and seemed to think like me, so that I felt a grand "communion" with them, if you will... It was an unforgettable trip. We plan to go back and do the eastern coast. It became much too difficult to see everything in one trip. Our daughter Elizabeth may possibly have traced our families to a specific town by then.

Let me end my tale with this little story... My mother and I were separated when I was but 4 years old. It was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me. I found her again when I was 60 years old and she was 76, here in the States. Now for the "spiritual" part. The very first time I ever set foot in Ireland, I lay me down on the ground, prostrated in the form of a cross. As the good Lord who made us all is my witness, I heard the sound of my mother's heart, just as I had when I lay upon her breast as a wee child... And on returning to the USA, I set out to search for her anew! We were united within a month of my trip. Ireland is special to me beyond words.

Martin (a child of the Gael.)

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