Monday, October 17, 2011

"I think we all long for glamour" Linda Lee

The only corner of our house that doesn't have windows or Mirrors!

Our great friends and neighbors, Fiona & Fintan

The beautiful hostess Julie (in silver), with Ian & Jackie (also beautiful :))

Jax & Maryvonne in the lovely antique chairs

Atmosphere shot

The piano man with one of Julie & John's friends singing- it was really good

Last Saturday we went to a party thrown by our friends, Julie & John. They live behind us- just over the wall- and they have 3 boys. The youngest is the same age as our boys, and their 8-year -old is so good with them as well. Unfortunately John's Dad passed away earlier this year.

Before they sell his house, they decided to throw a party to say goodbye to it in style. And did they ever! It was amazing party and it really solidified my notion that there are so many great, nice people here. Thanks Julie & John!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”- Mother Theresa of Calcutta


My Girls

Great to have a night out!

We will miss you Camilla!

Sometimes people come into your life, even for a short time, and they make it better. It's so important that moms have each other as friends, and it seems even more important when you live far from old friends & family.

Thursday night we said goodbye to Camilla, who is on her way to Sydney, Australia. Just last week after a stressful morning, she offered me some very wise and very needed counsel. I am glad to know you Camilla! And best of luck in OZ!

Friday, October 14, 2011

"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. " William Penn

Mildred Marion Abitz Gallagher Butler
September 9, 1922-October 15, 2011

Because of the time difference, I didn't hear of my grandmother's death until the day after. But just that night the boys and I were talking about her and looking at her picture.

In an email to my Dad, I remembered my grandmother. But the one thing that I didn't include was her greatest accomplishment. My Dad. He is the best father and grandfather and I love and admire him so much.

Here are some thoughts from the email:

Grandma used to take us to A&S for our birthday to get new clothes. She would pick me up in her powder blue car (the one I smashed in 1986) and we would look at clothes and try things on and I would come home, very excited and feeling very special.

She always had lots of Juicy Fruit in her bag and she let us go in and take what we wanted.

Sometimes Tricia and I would sleep over at her house. Once I remember I got to go by myself. Grandma and I ate ice cream and watched "The Boy in The Plastic Bubble".

Tricia and I used to go up in her room and go into her scarf drawer. She had millions! We had so much fun playing with them.

When I had a tick in my head in 3rd grade, Grandma picked me up and took me to the Dr. to have it removed.

Tricia and I went to visit her and JB in Florida in High School and we had a lot of laughs between us, and Grandma and JB were very nice, and took us out to dinner every night.

And when I was staying at the White's while Brian was born & Tricia was having her tonsils out, I was upset and didn't want to stay there anymore. I snuck home after school and started really crying. She hugged me for a long time, and said that I could stay at home. Grandpa was there too.

I know that she loved us a lot, and I am glad that she is at peace.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Beautiful Bride and her Dad

The Lovely Maid of Honor, Amy

My Loves

I love this picture!

Tom reading an Irish Blessing at his Goddaughter's Wedding

Molly & Lou

Wedding Party

The Groom brews his own beer!

Some special time with Happy Joan

We were so excited to arrive in Maine for the wedding of our niece, Molly and her fiance, Lou.  Their wedding date was September 10, 2011 (9-10-11!).  Molly and Lou met at their first year at Hamilton College and have been together ever since.  It was lovely to be a part of their wedding day and to spend some great time with Tom's family!

The ceremony was beautiful, and they had a perfect New England day. Our niece Amy, the Maid of Honor, gave a funny, touching speech, as did Lou's brother.  It was really nice to hear all the funny stories about the couple and how much they are loved.  Ann, the Mother of the Bride hosted a beautiful brunch the next day.  We had a fantastic time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

At Trinity College

Molly & Michele - the obligatory Dublin Shot

With Michele after climbing Killiney Hill

Michele in her Cell (another one for my collection!)

My very good friend Michele from New York came to visit this week. She was at a conference in London and added a trip to Dublin to her itinerary. It was so nice to see her and spend some time in person. I loved catching up and showing her where we live.

Michele loved Ireland and thought that it was one of the most beautiful places that she had ever seen. I have to agree. Thanks for coming Michele!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"It doesn’t matter where you go in life, what you do ….. it’s who you have beside you."- Unknown

The Dublin Horse Show 2011

Getting to watch during the short dry spell

Ready to Ride!

What is a Horse show without riding one yourself?

Happy to get on a horse, even in the pouring rain

At the statues in front of the Four Seasons

Miss Mary at our house!

Sort of coincidentally, the last few days have brought us back to some of our earliest experiences in Ireland. Our first few days were spent at the Four Seasons. After weeks of packing and preparing to move in hot, sweaty, New York, I wanted to relax and unwind a little before moving into our temporary apartment. The boys loved the statues outside, and we have pictures of their 2-year-old selves with all of them.

With no car and a bunch of still-foggy heads, we headed over to the Dublin Horse Show on the first weekend we were in the Apartment. It was within walking distance, interesting for the kids, and a great, much needed day out.

Finally, on our third weekend here, we headed to Killarney on the train to visit our good friends Miss Mary and John. They are long time New Yorkers, originally from Kerry and the usually come over for August. We REALLY needed that weekend away and I remember how exited I was to get on the train at Euston Station.

This past weekend, we went to the Horse Show, Visited the Four Seasons and Miss Mary came to our house in Dublin. Really nice time, and lots of good memories.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Where thou art, that is home."- Emily Dickinson

Two years ago today we arrived in Dublin. We are living, learning and loving it here, more than we could have imagined.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy" - George Gershwin

It's not over yet, but the kids are having a great summer. They spend the mornings at camp, and the afternoons playing with friends, or we go to the beach or to a park. Every night they fall into bed exhausted. They are real little kids now. This is the best age! But I think that every year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"They breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin." Ian Paisley on Catholics in 1969

Reverend Ian Paisley in 1969

Yikes! Yesterday was July 12, a day in which some British Loyalists in Northern Ireland celebrate William of Orange's victory over Catholic King James II at the "Battle of the Boyne" in 1690. William, King James' nephew and son-in-law was a Protestant and his victory ensured his place as King William III of England, Scotland and Ireland and restored Protestantism to the throne. His wife Mary, was Catholic King James' daughter (of College of William and Mary fame).

Today, the Orange Order commemorates this day every year with parades and celebrations around Northern Ireland and Scotland. Named for William of Orange and founded in 1795, it seems that this organization and its lodges of members was created in order to protect protestants. Incidentally, the Irish flag is Green, representing the 26 counties, Orange, representing the 6 Northern counties with white in the middle representing peace. It is based on the French flag- early revolutionaries such as Theobald Wolfe Tone (a protestant) and Robert Emmet visited France to learn about how they planned their revolution.

July 12th Parade Banner

The Grand Orange Lodge says:

"In 1795, following the culmination of attacks on Protestants in County Armagh at the Battle of the Diamond, in which Protestants routed those who had attacked them and attempted to burn properties, it was decided to form an organisation which would protect Protestants."

The ILOI says:

"An Orange Association was formed in England in 1688 to assist the Prince of Orange in defence of the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England. The Orange Order, as we know it, was formed by the victorious Protestants after the Battle of the Diamond in 1795.

Its aims were to defend Protestantism, Protestant property and the Constitution."

Earlier this year, Tom and I watched a documentary on BBC about the Orangewomen, the Women of the Orange order. They have their own meetings, hierarchy and lodges- and are able to march in the parades only if invited by the men.

I found a posting on from someone who also saw the same documentary:

"I watched the excellent documentary on BBC NI on Monday evening about the Women's Orange Order in the north.
Still alive and thriving today, their rule book forbids mixed marriages.
Most of the members were 50+, with one exception. A pretty lady whose parents are members of their respective Lodges and so too is she.
I thought I was watching a documentary about the FreeMasons in Dublin with all the pomp and ceremony performed at one stage!!
But I came away thinking how sad that these people oppose Catholics marrying Protestants, given they admitted to mixing well with their neighbours.
I thought we had moved on since the Good Friday Agreement but clearly not when it comes to this bigoted view across the north.
When asked if they would support a rule change relating to mixed marriages, those interviewed gave a definitive 'no'.
Obviously, they are still living back in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
Times have moved on.
The young lady interviewed joked that if she ever decided to marry a Catholic she would have to change her partner's religious beliefs and he would agree to bring up their children as Protestants.
Very sad. Because she could just meet a Catholic she is compatible with and likes. And she wouldn't be allowed marry him because of some silly, historically, bigoted rule."

Mural in Belfast

This year, chaos ensued once again as some republicans rioted and threw petrol bombs injuring police. Although it has been 13 years since the Good Friday Agreement, there are still some people who are very angry that Ireland is divided. Fewer still are so angry that they think that violence is way to go. But I am fascinated by those who celebrate on July 12th. It seems so archaic and irrelevant. It appears that people get caught up in the hierarchy and surround themselves with similar small minded people. Let's face it, there is more than one way to express anger.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"A landscape fossilized, / Its stone-wall patternings / Repeated before our eyes / In the stone walls of Mayo." -- Seamus Heaney

The beautiful West Coast

Another opportunity for driving practice. Big improvements were made.

The Swan boats at Westport House

New York & Dublin friends- and we found them in Westport!

We have to find a playground on all trips

"Can we play that game where you whack the balls?"

Ferry around Killary Fjord

Dolphins followed us almost the whole way!

Instructions for pilgrims

We climbed as far as the Statue of St. Patrick- maybe when they are a little older we will go all the way up to the top

Murrisk Abbey- founded in the 15th Century by Pope Callistus, who I had not heard of before today.

The famine monument near Croagh Patrick. Notice the skeletons.

After our quick trip to Galway in the dead of winter, we promised ourselves that we would come back to the area when the sun sets later than 4:30! This time we based ourselves out of Westport, Mayo. Westport is a cute little Irish town, and the Hotel had a great pool which all of us love when we go away.

The first day we went to Westport House, an old estate that has small amusement park and swan boats, and a little train. It was a great day and coincidentally, we ran into our Irish New York friends who happened to be on a getaway to the west as well.

The second day was very wet, and so we drove down to Leenane and took a cruise around Ireland's only Fjord. It was perfect for a rainy day. The boys loved it and there were Dolphins that followed us the whole way!

We also went up to Croagh Patrick. Also called "the Reek" Croagh Patrick is the mountain that St. Patrick is said to have climbed barefoot in the 5th Century. It is told that he stayed up there and fasted for 40 days and at the end of the fast he threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain killing Corra the she-demon and banishing all the snakes from Ireland. Each year about 20,000 pilgrims clim Croagh Patrick on the third Sunday in July. Many climb barefoot and some have died. We decided not to go all the way up. This year.

We had little issue on the last night, the T man may have had his second migraine. But he is doing great now. My favorite part of these getaways is that we get to spend all the days together away from regular life. It was a great trip.