'One Great Irish Spot': Not Exactly What You're Expecting

For many people, Ireland evokes images of thatched cottages, warm smiles and pints of Guinness. I won't dispute these images, because I've seen each of these things in abundance in my visits. For others, certain areas of Ireland denote Irishness, and would be considered a "Great Irish Spot." There are many, many places I could choose to fit this bill. For me, places like The Burren, or Glendalough ,or The Giants Causeway are perfect examples of the scenic beauty that is Ireland, and each of them would be considered a "Great Irish Spot." 


Or other places, like my favorite pub in Dublin (O'Donoghue's, in case you're wondering), or Ennis (for the music, of course), and other such places would be other shining stars in my personal Great Irish Spots. But it is not these places, great as they are, that I think of when I think about a Great Irish Spot…and you might be surprised when you hear where mine is.

Many years ago, when I was a little girl, I used to love to visit my Granny. We would sit at her kitchen table, have a cup of tea (mine with more milk than tea), and talk. It was here, in her kitchen, that I learned about my Irish roots, and our family that still lived across the sea. She told me about when our portion of the Foley family came over, and how my Uncle Edward's red hair came from his grandfather who lived in Cork. She had so many stories…some sad, but many more happy…about life and family, and how our Irishness had always been something that played a large role in these things. 

Her eyes carried the light of the past within them, as she told me each story, and it is this light…this passion…that brought me to where I am today. 

Her love and passion sparked that same flame within me, and the more I delve into my studies of Irish history and literature, the more enflamed my soul becomes for these things. I have gained much joy in my studies, and I owe that joy to my Granny. 

So, while I do have many tangible places that are Great Irish Spots, for me, the greatest Irish Spot I've ever found is at Granny's kitchen table, as she brought joy to my life every time she sang to me her own song of Ireland. 

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Tags: St. Patrick's Day

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on March 18, 2014 at 6:49am

Very nice!  I really enjoyed this little piece.

Comment by Jim Curley on March 18, 2014 at 9:32am
A great Irish spot and beautifully written. The memories your heart must contain.

Comment by Joe Gannon on March 18, 2014 at 4:11pm

Very nicely done, Bean. You've given an example that helps explain the interest of many millions of other Irish descent people around the world in their roots, and in the country itself.

And after so many years of visiting, I'm now often amazed at how many times I can recognize the locaton of a Irish photo. I believe your top photo is traveling west into the town of Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Somewhere I believe I have a similar photo from the year my wife and I stayed just up the road from there in Newquay.

Comment by Jean Sullivan Cardinal on March 19, 2014 at 12:06pm

Beautifully written!

Comment by Bean Sáirséil on March 19, 2014 at 8:20pm
Thank you all. Writing this actually made me cry...I miss my Granny.
Joe, yes, that photo is from Ballyvaughn. I spent a week there in 2008...that photo is not mine, but the rest of them are mine. My photo of the signs in Ballyvaughn didn't come out as well because it was dusk. But it's a very recognisable intersection! :)

Comment by Joe Gannon on March 19, 2014 at 9:30pm

We always take a bunch of pics of sign posts while we are over there to put into the photo album we make when we get home. It's nice way to bring up memories of the places you visited when you were then.


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