Friday, August 19, 2011

The Girl Goes Traveling

My daughter, Brenna, left for a well deserved vacation recently. One of her friends from high school lives in New England and that’s where she decided to go for a long visit.

I drove her to the airport. On the way, I warned her, then gave The Mom Lecture. She listened with good grace and patience. She’s old enough now that it doesn’t offend her, but understands it means that I love her. I even asked if she had a jacket! Of course she did. I raised her to be responsible and independent and she certainly is. That’s wonderful but it means I don’t have too many chances to be Mommy any more. 

When we got to the airport I went in with her to make sure everything was okay with the ticket. That was the story anyway. The truth is: I just wanted to actually see her off on this new adventure. I saw her first breath, I saw her off to kindergarten, middle school, high school and college. I’ve seen her grow and change and blossom into this intelligent, beautiful young woman. Sometimes it just amazes me.

When I was hugging her goodbye at the security entrance, I had an intense flashback to when she was a baby. I loved holding her and kissing her sweet little baby head. It feels like I just blinked and here she is, all grown up and going off alone on an airplane. 

I wasn’t going to cry, but of course I did. Silly of me really. I know she’ll be back. Her car is here! Just kidding. Her family, friends and roots are here also. That's a powerful magnet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Last Night and Goodbye

What a great time we’ve had here in Gleann Colmcille. We’ve learned some Irish language, made some friends, and had a wonderful experience at Oideas Gael. Thanks so much to Siobhan Ni Churraighin and Liam O Cuinneagain! They really do wonderful work, helping people like me and Fear na Cheoil learn more about Irish culture in a deep and meaningful way. Go raith maith agat, y’all. (Sorry, you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.)

The last evening in Gleann, we had dinner with The Belfast Lasses, Manuel and Cathy, all from my husband’s level a haon (one) class. They rented a two bedroom cottage right by the campus. Dinner was delicious; we had wine and conversation, most of it in Beurla (English) about Gaeilge.

Manuel takes a picture of Rick, taking a picture.

Good food, good friends, good evening.

We drank a dram of whiskey and walked up to join the festivities in the rest of the village. Fear na Cheoil stopped off at Roarty’s Pub to play in the session there and the rest of us walked up to the Halla na Mhuire (St. Mary’s Hall) for the Ceilimhor (big dance). The Lasses and Manuel decided it was too bright and busy for them and went back to Roarty’s. I stayed and did a couple of ceili dances and a waltz. I don’t have a clue what dances I did. The MC was calling and giving the directions all in Irish.

Rose and her partner step through the Slieve Luchra set.
Back at Roarty’s, The Lasses had saved me a seat. There were so many people in there it was difficult to get to the bar and say, “Ba maith liom pionta Guinness, le do thoil.” (I would like a pint of Guinness, please.) We talked and drank and played Harold’s bodhran and before you know it the lights were blinking last call and it was time to go back to the house. A look at my watch told me it was three am. 

Helen tries out Harold's bodhran.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to Margaret Cunningham at Teach Gleann Dobhar and went to the final meeting at Oideas Gael.
Our housemates, Mert, Elisabeth, Paula and some guy I don't know.

Under sunny skies, we sang some Irish songs, ending with Mo Ghille Mar, then the set dance class did one figure of the Slieve Luchra set, I think. It was fun to see the President dance. She looked like she was really enjoying it.

The Irish President (blonde hair, black blouse) cuts a rug, uh, parking lot.

It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but with email and facebook, we won’t lose touch. If we can go back next year, we might just fly in through Belfast. We know some people there.

Michelle, Ruth and me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rossan Point

The last walk we took from Oideas Gael was around the coast to Rossan Point. We were mostly looking for wildlife. Tony pointed out a stream the otters use to wash the salt water out of their fur. Sadly, none of them showed up while we were crossing the stream. Mostly what we saw were nesting sea birds and a lone seal. But we did see something on this walk that we had not seen all week. Sunshine!

I can’t believe how blue the water was and how white the wave caps were.

The walk wasn’t quite as difficult as the hike up to Glen Head on the first day.

That's Glen Head, waaay over there with the tower on top.

I really enjoyed the time I spent tramping around Gleann Colmcille. It’s going to be really hard to leave tomorrow. But, I’m not going to think about that now. Tonight, we have dinner with the Belfast Lasses and the final Ceilimhor. After this walk, I hope I can hold up for at least a dance or two!