Well, I’m writing this post on my phone as my tablet does not seem to want to hook up to the internet. This will be an adventure and I’m sure there will be many spelling mistakes, but bere with me.
While travelling around in the car we have been listening to the Ray D’Arcy show in the afternoons on RTE1 here. Last week he was at a few places in the midwest. One of them was the oldest pub in Ireland, aparently, ..so a few nights ago while in Galway we took an evening roadtrip to Athlone and went to the pub. After the pub we walked over the Shannon river and I tossed in a few pebbles from home.
Yesteraday on our way down to our lodgings in Kerry, we went to the Portumna Workhouse center. I didnt know what to expect but I’m glad we went.
This place was a real workhouse at one time and the folks there are restoring it and making sure the story of theses places are not lost. These stories need to be brought to light.
For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you know this trip is about putting old ghosts to rest and honoring my ancestors. I have done that during the 7 weeks, solo part of this trip. I did not expect it to happen during this 3 week roadtrip with a friend.
I have 6 days left of my Epic Irish Odyssey, and just the other day was thinking about my time here. The dreaming and planning of this trip. Things I wanted to do, but never happened. I thought things would go one way, but they went the other way. I thought of frustrations I felt when what I had planned never happened.
As I was feeling this frustration last week it’s like someone had put their had on my shoulder and let me know it was ok I had honored my ansestors it was all right. I also knew that the ansestors will take me to where I am meant to be, and the workhouse in Portumna was one of them.
We arrived when it was drizzling and parked in front of a 2 story building. We walked inside and a tour was just about to start. We have been so lucky this way.
The tour guide was a personable local gentleman named Pat and he did a great job telling the story of this workhouse. You need to put this place on your itinerary if you come to Ireland.
Pat took us out into the yard of this place and while others were listening I had to step away because I was feeling. I dont know what I was feeling but it was as if I was meant to come here and I once again felt the presence of my ansestors. I have mentioned how this had happened in other places, but not all places I have visited.
This was a powerful moment. I have given up trying to figure this out and have come to believe what many have told me…” Ireland will take you where you are supposed to be” and here is a perfect example of that. As I stood in the complex, of a site, where such suffering in such desperate times happened, I felt a connection I cannot explain. But it is something I needed to honor, so I stood back from the tour and was just there in the present, feeling something
Of course I felt anger, outrage, and this place does have a feel about it, but this was something different. What I felt was at a much deeper level, and dare I say it was strength I felt. Strength of my ansestors and their tenacity to survive, and those genes have been handed down to me to help me survive what I did. And I felt a pressnce of an ansestor while I stood in the courtyard. I may never know who it was, but I will honor their story. Once again I wonder if this is my DNA remembering.
After the tour we had tea and then went and looked at an exhibition called “Irish Faminr Exhibition Dark Shadows ” it is a series of sculptures made from 5000 big oak. Do Google this, it is a power and moving exhibit.
I fly back home in 6 days. It’s hard for me to believe my Epic Irish Odyssey is almost over, but it will never really be over. I came to this land because it called to me since I was a small child. I hope to get back many times. This land has fed my soul in ways I could never imagine. It had helped me connect to myself, given me strength and has nourished me. This land and people I have met have all been amazing gifts. Who would have thought one of these gifts would be found in a workhouse.