Today is the end of our third day in Ireland. The weather has sometimes been beautiful and sometimes rain and wind. I guess it’s what you expect in Ireland.
Our driver Pat takes such good care of us. Mom’s knees are worse that ever since we got here. Maybe the weather. Maybe long periods of sitting. Maybe both. But walking even small distances has become very difficult. Anthony takes one side an I take the other and we get the job done. Pat called ahead to all the hotels to ask for ground floor rooms is possible. He shows us hidden fascinating sites down small side roads. He knows so many facts and dates, it makes our travel so much better. Instead of 4 hours of travel, he breaks it with short trips off the beaten path.
Everyone is gets along so well. No drama about money or itinerary or anything really. We have walkie talkies and I relay all Pat’s Fun Facts back to Dave’s car and anyone traveling with him. We jump from van to car all day long. We have to be careful not to forget anyone. Today for instance, Evan decided to join us in the van after lunch. Pat didn’t know and started pulling away, Dave pulled out too, since he was following Pat. Poor Evan had to run after the van, yelling WAIT FOR ME!!
All the boys are great with helping Mom and it takes the pressure off me. If you follow my Face Book you would see that Paula’s oldest son Ian uses his knee to lift her into the van. He cracks us all up. All four boys have a different sense of humor so I’m never sure where our conversations are going next.
Traveling with four boys is a whole new experience for me. They just fart away in the van. When we all moan and hold our noses, one of them cheerfully claims the fart. It’s like they are proud of the stink level. They even congratulate each other for especially stinky ones. I had to demand a two minute warning to open all the windows and get good air circulation before they let a bomb gone off.
I keep thinking how much Daddy would have loved all this. We went into Durty Nellie’s today for lunch. It’s the oldest pub in Ireland and goes back to the 1600s. I remember exactly where we sat last time we were there. I remember us laughing an drinking until the jet lag caught up with us. Another time I was there with my Aunt Dolores and Paula too. My aunt and Mommy told stories from their childhood and surprised each other sharing obscure memories. And Daddy. He would just smile and smile. I can feel him everywhere.
Dad, this one’s for you. A pint of Guinness. A steaming bowl of vegetable soup with brown bread. A drive thru Connemara and along Galway Bay. Tomorrow, Knock and a request for a Mass for you and then the family in Donegal.
As we drove along Galway Bay, I had the impulse to play the song on my iPhone. I guess I really never really listened to the words. I did today.

“Galway Bay”
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland,

Then maybe at the closin’ of your day

You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh

And see the sun go down on Galway Bay.

[And if there’s to be a life in the hereafter —

And somehow I’m sure there’s going to be —

I will ask my God to let me make my heaven

In that dear land across the Irish sea.
Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream

And the women in the meadows making hay,

To sit beside the turf fire in the cabin

And watch the barefoot gossoons at their play.
For the breezes blowin’ across the sea from Ireland

Are perfumed by the heather as they blow.

And the women in the upland diggin’ praties

Speak a language that the strangers do not know.
For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way.

They scorned us just for bein’ what we are.

But they might as well go chasin’ after moon beams

Or light a penny candle from a star.
And if there’s to be a life in the hereafter —

And somehow I’m sure there’s going to be —

I will ask my God to let me make my heaven,

In that dear land across the Irish sea.]

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