Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Voyage to Ireland

My mother used to take my sister and me to Ireland every summer for a month or so. For us, it was a shining time in the middle of a long vacation. For her, it was a chance to see her parents, to see her aunts and cousins and college friends.

The trips tailed off, although my sister and I still go from time to time. I brought my husband, then my fiance, so he could meet the auld ones and see the country I adored. We brought our daughter when she was four.

We just returned from another voyage. This time my sister and I brought our mother, except she wouldn't be visiting cousins or friends, nor anyone else for that matter, ever again. It was, for her, the last voyage.

Our first stop was to Dean's Grange, where we buried her with her parents in a quiet corner near the wall. Next we went to the Avoca Weavers for lunch, and if you ever are in Dublin, do make certain that you have a meal there. The food is organic, and it is sublime. We had duck breast salad, white wine, and a miraculous dessert called "Eton Mess." (There is meringue and whipped cream and fresh raspberries involved, and it is nearly a religious experience.)

Eton Mess. Ours was bigger and messier and more delicious, I'll bet.

After that we drove on to Glendalough in Wicklow, where St. Kevin won sainthood by casting the woman who tempted him into the lake. You can read more about that episode here, in the form of poetry.

St. Kevin's church, Glendalough

Our mother took us to Glendalough many times, and it seemed the perfect place to scatter a few of her ashes. Of course we hadn't taken the wind into account, and we didn't want to get mom blown back in our faces. We carefully faced away from the lake and the wind, and her dear body now is comingled with that glory.

The next day we had a service in a wee church known as St. Nahi's. If you sneeze you'd miss it, and too bad if you do, because there are tapestries down by the Yeats sisters there, as well as a font that baptized the Duke of Wellington and Robert Emmett. 

Then on to St. Helens', now the  part of the Radissson BLU, and they gave us the most wonderful lunch overlooking their lovely gardens. The sun, for a wonder, came out and the children ran about in the hedgerows and mazes. We drank wine and tea and ate chicken and stuffing sandwiches. We chatted and laughed and wept, under a bright blue sky streaked with long clouds.

The rest of our trip was spent at tea and supper with cousins and aunts, much like our mother would have done. My daughter loved it. When we drove to the airport our last morning, she begged and begged me for "just one more day." Exactly as I used to do, forty years earlier.


west_2552 said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us, Alison. What a fitting farewell for your mom. So nice that she was able to take you annually during your summer vacations. Sounds like Genna had a wonderful time, too! Now, get me some of that Eton Mess!

LW said...

That was just beautiful, Alison. Thank you so much for sharing the trip, your thoughts, the place, and your memories of past journies as well.

Christine Murray said...

Great post! I live half an hour from St. Helen's. Glad you have such happy memories of Ireland :)

Dwight Okita said...

I like how you took us on your journey to scatter your mother's ashes. (The Eton Mess looks yummy. The messier the better.) When my own mother passed away a few years ago, I thought a lot about where to scatter her ashes. Finally I decided to scatter them in the baseball field that I can see from the 14th floor of my building. It's pretty and peaceful there.

Catherine Noble said...

What a beautiful send off for your Mum! Thank you for sharing such an intimate event with us; I've got a wee tear in my eye!