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Yesterday, I took a tour of the Irish countryside and met a bunch of family that I don’t remember meeting before.

First, we went to church in the church that Seamus and Caroline were married in. The parish was hosting its first communion, so it was quite interesting!  I was surprised by the fact that it is not the same exact mass we have in the US. A few words were different and some of the prayers were things I never heard of before!

Then, Seamus showed me the boarding school he attended for five years, St. Patrick’s. After, we drove to Clare’s house in County Cavan, Seamus’ sister, and I met her husband and four boys, my second cousins. I also met my Grandma’s sister, Lily. We ate lunch and headed to see Lily’s house. I saw a picture of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather as well as many other pictures.

Then, we went to meet my Pop-Pop’s sister-in-law, Mary McHugh. We spoke for a bit and then moved on to see the school that my Pop-Pop attended. We could not see his house because the road was too narrow and it was raining too much to walk. Just another reason to come back!  Then, we drove by the area that my Grandma used to live, but couldn’t get down there because her road was also too narrow for a car.

Then, we went and met Seamus’ brother, John, and his family – his sons are also my second cousins.  We then went back to Clare’s house for dinner and tea (yes, I’m becoming quite Irish). Afterwards, we stopped by Seamus’ sister, Anne, and met her and her two daughters (also my second cousins). Then we headed back to Seamus’ house and watched a few home movies.

It was really nice to meet all the relatives I have heard my grandparents, aunts & uncles talk so much about.  I can finally put faces to the names!  Now, all I have to do is start laying the groundwork for the next Family Reunion in Lietrim!

This morning, I woke up at 7:00 AM and went to my Great Aunt’s convent. She took me via taxi to the airport. We spoke for another 3 hours, bought tea, and she brought sandwiches for us to eat. It was really nice to see her one more time.

I enjoyed my time in Ireland immensely and yesterday was probably my favorite day. It was nice to meet all the people I’ve only heard about and see some of the places my grandparents lived. It’s important to learn about my Irish heritage and I hope I can bring my brother over here soon to show him. I know that I definitely have a better appreciation for being Irish after my four days here!

Note: This post was originally published on May 14, 2012 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe…Again” which chronicled my post-graduation trip across Europe.

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