My delightful summer in Ireland has begun! I arrived on Sunday morning, managed to collect a rental car and drive it safely for 2+ hours to the farm near the town of New Ross, Ireland that I consider my second home. On the way I spent more than a week in my old home town of Scituate Massachusetts. (I’ll tell you about that in my next post.) Most of my week in Scituate was spent in unseasonably cold, wet weather and I seem to have brought it with me. This morning the sun is shining but I’ve been very chilled during my first two days in Ireland.
I have rented a small cottage for the summer. This building, which may date to the 1600s, was the kitchen on the old farm. The highlight is the chimney wall. As is the entire building, the wall is made of local stone but it’s the enormous chimney that is so remarkable. I can literally stand in the fireplace. To the left I’ve found the remains of the ancient bread oven. When the present owners restored this building and made it a rental cottage they had a loft built over the kitchen which is where I sleep. I climb a steep staircase to a room where even I (at 5’ tall) can stand only in the center. I crawl into a very comfortable queen size bed and there I’ve been sleeping very well. I’ll post pictures of the cottage below.
Last year I spent six weeks on this ancient farm. While I was here I made three new friends. Susan, the mistress of Fruit Hill, has always been kind and accommodating to me. We have emailed often, beginning before we’d ever met. Susan works very hard to maintain her three rental cottages and an enormous, ancient house which is her family’s home.
My other Irish friends are Mary, a horticulturalist who is on the staff at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Garden and Arboretum, and her colleague Jerry, also on the staff at JFK. They were much more than helpful to me last year when I spent many days at JFK Arboretum. I was delighted to find Mary there yesterday and to quickly catch up with her. I’d lost her email address after I left last summer and the letter I wrote to her never reached her so we have plenty of catching up to do. I was happy to find Jerry there today. All three of my Irish friends are a fine examples of the friendliness of the Irish people.
There are many reasons why I love Ireland: the beauty of the landscape, all rolling green hills here in the Southeast; nature’s care for this cool northern island, shown by the lush plants, both wild and domesticated, which grow and bloom everywhere; the mildness of the weather – no 97 degree days for me this summer! But most of all I come here for the kindness of the Irish people, from clerks in the supermarket to the guides at every tourist site to my new friends who became my friends almost instantly. I am very happy to return to Ireland.
Now, some news: last week while in Scituate I was able to spend time with my grandsons who are now young men in their mid-20s, and with two of my step-sons who live in Maine and Rhode Island. I rarely see my family because I’ve moved south so I really enjoyed being with them. While I was there my grandson, Chris, proposed to his lady, Amanda, and she accepted! There’ll be a wedding to work into my plans for next year. And yesterday, my step-daughter, Patti, became a grandmother for the second time, when her son’s wife, Jenna, gave birth to a baby girl literally in their Honda in the parking lot of the hospital. I’ve already seen a photo of beautiful baby Clare. She’s going to be just a gorgeous as her big brother Aaron, who is just now turning two.
My plan for connecting to the Internet is being foiled by the two foot thick stone walls of my cottage. One project for today is finding a way to make my hot-spot work here. I’m able to receive email on my phone, so I hope you will write to me while I solve this problem.
Please travel with me (vicariously) through the next three months in emerald Ireland. It’s going to be fun!
Some photos of my little ancient cottage, my home for the summer ahead.