Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Yankee comes to Cavan...


It's been almost a month since I posted, and since that month included 3 weeks that I wasn't in school and was to poor to travel, not too much happened. On the 18th and 19th of December, the American kids that were in my program all left. I knew it was going to be hard, and of course I got a cold that week so I had an excuse to stay in bed. On Tuesday night however, I was invited to a Christmas party of an Irish friend and had a fabulous time with her friends and some mulled wine. That Saturday, after a long day at the most boring job I've had yet, I took the bus to Cavan to see Anne Clarke and Bonnie and the gang.

Christmas Eve entailed Mass, hot whiskey, and bed. I was exhausted from work, and the boys (Paul13, Niall 12) were ready to sleep so that they could wake up to presents. Christmas morning was full of presents and a delicious breakfast. The rest of Christmas day was spent with visitors stopping by and eating Anne's delicious food.  The traditional food to eat on Christmas here is Turkey, so I finally got a healthy dose of Turkey (we only got a little bit on Thanksgiving). I also tried Christmas cake (awful) and Christmas pudding (worse), they just are not for me.

The trifle, however, was delicious. 
All sorts of relatives stopped by that day, I think everyone came to Anne's because I was there so it became the meeting place. We sat around and chatted, here are some pictures of the ladies.

From left to right: Aisling (daughter of Mary), Eleanor (daughter of Lizzie), Maeve (Mary), Ruth (Lizzie) and Anne Marie (Mary). Anne Marie lives in Dublin and has been kind enough to feed my college student stomach a couple of times.

 From left to right: Anne, my lovely hostess, who houses me and feeds me whenever I want to come, Maeve, Ruth, Anne Marie, Aisling, Eleanor, and of course Bonnie.
Monday we visited some more family houses, I met Jimmy (brother of Anne, Mary, and Lizzie) and his family. We made dinner (which is eaten in the late afternoon) and relaxed for the night. 

Tuesday was a day of adventure! It took a little coaxing to have Bonnie come with us because she had a cold, but in the end she came and we went to see where Grandma grew up!

First we stopped and the church she was baptised at, which you can see has had a bit of work done since. Then we stopped at the graves on Jane and John (my grandmother's mother and stepfather). 
This is the view from the grave (not too shabby)

We then continued on to Grandma Theresa's house, which is no longer standing, it's really just a field. However, across the road from where Grandma and her siblings grew up, a man named Willie Lyons (sp?) lives. He and his family were close to the Reynolds/Downeys growing up. He gave me this picture of Grandma and his brother, Francis. Bonnie and Willie were adamant on telling me how much I look like Grandma. 
I want that dress. 

We got to spend a while chatting with Willie. There is a great mystery in the family about what happened to my grandmother's father Michael Reynolds. He died before Grandma was born in August 1927, he was under 40, and the only records that would've helped were burned in a church fire years ago. Apparently, no one who was around then and is still around now has any idea what killed him. The search for answers continues, some of my more distant family members are very interested. 

After we had a chat with Willie, we stopped by his nephew's house and had a cup of tea. I got to have a lovely chat with his 8 year-old daughter who thoroughly enjoyed trying to copy my accent. I didn't want to stop hanging out with Wonderful Rachel, but it was time to head back to Cavan.

That evening, James (Anne's husband) had a party to go to for his Uncle Arthur's 90th birthday. We all went and had a pretty good time. This man is very popular, he decided that one retirement group was not enough, so he joined two to go on twice the adventures. Of course, at least half of each retirement group came to the party (in a pub) and the place was pretty rockin. It was a very good party. Wednesday, it was back to Dublin to celebrate New Years!

No extravagent plans for me on New Years, I decided to stay in and watch the New Years specials on television. I bought myself a bottle of cheap champagne that barely made it to midnight and relaxed after an 8 hour shift (my last apparently). It was a wonderful way to watch the London fireworks, and I do not regret the choice one bit! Since then, my time has been full of writing papers and reading. Class resumes on Monday and I have to find a new job!

That's all for now, folks. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years, wherever you were. I'm sure I'll post after my birthday, so look for a new post then. 

Love to you all!

P.S. Here's a picture of Bonnie and I.