It has been an exciting journey, getting to know my birthfather Jack, and many of my McAuliffe relatives. I’ve loved learning about my Irish heritage–St. Patrick’s Day is definitely a high holiday to me! If you’ve been following along here on my blog, you may remember that I am a reunited adoptee, and did not grow up with Jack. (Yes, I went so far as to make the shamrock a permanent part of my life with a tattoo!) Recently, to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from Boston College, she and I made a trip to England and Ireland. We had a great time in both places, but I especially loved the Emerald Isle. I felt completely drawn to my homeland. I loved the accents and the topography, the architecture and the Wild Atlantic Way. We didn’t have a lot of time, and just touched on a few towns as we made a Southern circle from Dublin; there is so much more to explore there.
High on my list of places to visit was the little town of Newmarket, in County Cork. This is where the McAuliffe family hails from originally. It’s not a tourist destination, and Ali and I spent a bright sunny morning there, in search of the family herald and traipsing around the cemetery. We were directed by the town butcher to the herald, which is right in front of the tiny town hall. I love the mermaids on the ancient McAuliffe symbol–I have always felt a call to the ocean. Maybe this is one reason why…it’s in my blood! (Like beer!)
We found many McAuliffes in the town cemetery, which was high on a hill overlooking Newmarket. Unfortunately, we missed a July family reunion of McAuliffes from all around the world. Someday Ali and I will have to make it back and visit with these distant relations. Everyone is so warm and friendly. And Jack tells me the phrase “getting corked” comes from those who hail from County Cork… apparently there’s a bit of rowdiness in our roots.
High on our list of favorite stops, Ali and I loved the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher. The narrow roads leading there took us through tiny towns and traffic jams due to sheep crossing. Meanwhile, I had a quite a core workout driving down “Corkscrew Road” from the cliffs as we made our way to County Galway. In Galway, we had a wonderful meal at a traditional thatched roof pub, Powers Tavern. The *best* lamb stew I have ever enjoyed, and a pint of course.
We never made it to Northern Ireland, and my homeland continues to beckon. I know I’ll be back. Sláinte!