If only it could rain like this in California in January. I was ill-prepared for the weather when I stepped out of the Dublin airport late yesterday morning. The rain was coming down in buckets and the cold penetrated my skin underneath my light sweater. I was only wearing a t-shirt under the sweater and my umbrella was packed away in my suitcase. What a difference between the warm, sunny weather I left in Ukiah. The the biggest shock of all was the air temperature — 45 degrees. It literally felt like a cold January rainstorm in Northern California, when it used to rain in California. I expected the rain, but not the cold. I had checked the Dublin weather before I left and it had been in the low sixties.
My flight was uneventful except that they somehow did not have me on the list to receive a vegetarian meal. Luckily, they had an extra one. I sat next to a French lady traveling to her home in Paris who barely spoke the entire trip. I managed to get a few hours sleep which is pretty good for me as I always have trouble sleeping on planes. I still have jet lag today as I only slept about four hours my first night in Dublin.
It’s Sunday and five days before I leave for Ireland. I still don’t have a complete itinerary, but I know most of the places I will be. When I arrive I will at least have a familiar face to greet me. Earlier this week I contacted the taxi driver we hired two years ago when I visited Ireland two years ago. His name is Tony and he was perfect for us. He drove us to Newgrange, then to Malahide Castle and Howth a small town just north of Dublin. He took us to his favorite fish and chips restaurant, a small take out joint where they didn’t even write down your order. I don’t usually eat meat or fish, but I made an exception and it was delicious.
On our last sight seeing day in Ireland he took us to the Dublin Cemetery, the Botanical Gardens and his favorite watering hole or pub — John Kavanaugh’s. We saw the graves of the Irish martyrs — Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Tom Clarke who were executed by the British after the Easter rising in 1916, an event which is said to have turned public opinion against the British and for Irish independence.
I’m glad I’m arriving Saturday morning to a familiar face. I’ll be tired after the 10-hour flight. He has already suggested I check out Croke Park in Dublin a venue where Gaelic Football and Hurling are played — two ancient Irish sports. He must have sensed I’m a sports fan. I may even check out a hurling match when I’m there.
In three weeks I’m leaving for Ireland for my first solo trip ever. I will be going to Ireland to meet long lost relatives, to research my genealogy and to have some fun. My last trip to Ireland two years ago was a blast but I went with four friends and it was a compromise every day. I wanted to do a lot of genealogy, but it was nearly impossible with four others and one car. Let’s face it, not everyone is interested in my family history.
I often wonder why I focus more on my father’s family than I do my mother’s side. I think part of has to do with my name — O’Rourke — one of the Irish clans from long ago. From as far back as I can remember people would ask me if I was Irish. Duh. Also, my father died when I was young and I was estranged from my O’Rourke relatives for 40 years. It was only in 2006, with the help of the Internet (it was before social media) that I was able to contact my Uncle Denny or Dennis O’Rourke. Uncle Denny was a Catholic priest when I was a child and 40 years later I found out he was married with two high school-aged children. One of his daughters, my cousin Katie, was interested in her family genealogy and told me the O’Rourkes were from a tiny town in County Down called Rostrevor. Continue reading “Getting ready for my solo adventure”→