Whelmed…under and over

After all we were doing a Family History Tour…well sort of.. Actually it was a bit of an excuse to go see Ireland and Scotland. Anyway there is a Family History Museum a couple of hundred metres up the road from where we’re staying so we ventured out into the unpredictable weather.

Just before we arrived at the Irish Emmigration Museum (EPIC), our attention was drawn to a collection of statues by the river. We investigated. The story told of 1500 tenants of the Mahon Estate setting out to walk the 165km in May 1847, in the middle of the grate famine, to the Dublin Docks to make their way to Canada. Few made it. The little shoes did us in. We tuned away and headed quietly across the road to the museum, struggling to regather our composure.

I had decided to book a genealogist for an hour. That was a little underwhelming. I should have been way more specific and probably have focussed on more recent times. Even if ‘Tagney’ is a rare name we haven’t seemed to really have made our mark. Investigations continue. Sue decided to explore the Museum hoping to discover some titbits concerning her research. She too was underwhelmed. Apparently a very good overall introduction to the plight of the Irish Emmigrant but not quite what she was looking for.

Next Chester Beatty Museum. This guy was quite the collector and it was very nice of him to leave the collection to the people of Ireland. We explored the gallery entitled ‘Arts of the Book’ with exquisite examples of manuscripts, scrolls and books from East and South East Asia, Islam, Europe and the West. It was fabulously curated and we had to drag ourselves away and agreed coffee was in order.

We needed to rest so back to the hotel we went but came across the ‘Hags with the Bags’ and decided to dilly-dally some. Any excuse to just sit down.

Twice we had been told, by locals, of the Cobblestone Pub where we would find genuine Irish music and atmosphere. It was a twenty-five minute walk. We were up for it.

The entrance was initially blocked by burley men who had already indulged in a Guinness or two but the atmosphere was convivial and we felt very welcomed. Firstly the only seat we could get was in the corner well away from the musians who were basically their for their own pleasure and the audience was just a nice touch. The decision was made and I followed Sue while she demonstrated her Moses-like skill and parted the crowd and we found ourselves in a prime spot and stood and watched and reveled in genuine Irish entertainment.

Five nights in Dublin and it was time to move on. We picked up the car from the airport and headed south. The Wicklow Mountains National Park was beautiful and then we headed for Glendalough, Ireland’s most important monastic site and stunningly beautiful. It was truly awesome.

From the exceptional beauty of the Irish landscape we were about to experience the exceptional hospitality of the Irish people. Next stop Ballon, Co Carlow.

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