Saturday 28 April 2007


My young man and I recently spent a manic seven days in Ireland catching up with old friends and making new ones. Ireland is a strange, schizophrenic and beautiful place, peopled by a strange, schizophrenic and beautiful population.

To give you a flavour of the trip our first hotel room had no wardrobe, cupboards or drawers. The worst of minimalist married to the maddest of trend mania. What weird person thought “I know, let’s be innovative and provide nowhere to store the weary travellers’ clothes”? At first we were horrified but then we became seduced by the charm of the people and could forgive them anything, even a minimalist hotel room.

We stayed in Letterkenny, County Donegal that I now nominate the party capital of the world. We expected it to be a small village. Wrong!! It is a buzzing, thriving town with massive inward investment. Big business likes party animals, and that they surely are that.

As a retirement project I am researching our family histories. The Irish side of both our families is troublesome to uncover because of the sketchy preservation of records in Ireland, so while we were there we decided to visit Belfast to meet up with cousins who my young man had either never met before or had not seen for 40 odd year.

At short notice they gathered together and fed us a feast of family history. We had a great gathering, which turned into, by our standards, a pretty big and glorious piss up. We didn’t get to bed until the back of 0100, which, for us, is like sleep deprivation. It seemed pretty normal to them!

We parted with much sadness and promises to keep in touch and maybe even visit, a promise that I know will be kept. We already plan to take a short side trip to see them again when we go to Enniskillen in a few weeks time.

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