Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ireland Homecoming - # 2 St Patrick's Day 2008 - Foxford

I left off my Ireland Homecoming story a while ago with the following paragraph.
We arrive on top of the hill after a fifteen minute drive. The door opens and I see my 94 year old Aunt Maggie. It's a very emotional reunion. She's crying, my niece is crying and I'm crying and we are hugging each other and all talking at the same time about the miracle that brought us back together........To be continued.........

Here is the 2nd chapter.....

It's two day later and I have made the acquaintance of just a few of my relatives and they have planned the main reunion at the Mayfly Hotel Restaurant in Foxford. It's St. Patrick's Day about 7 pm and I enter to see the large banner hanging welcoming us back to Ireland. My Cousin Tony made the banner to welcome us back home. The last time my mother was in Ireland was 1932 and here we were in Ireland for the first time making the trip my mother always wanted to make. We were carrying out her dream of going home and seeing her sister and family. It was an overwhelming moment.

To be continued.....

Slowly relatives began to trickle in and introductions were made and we tried to make connections, fill in the missing links and become acquainted with our family. Relatives were there from Ireland, England, Hungary and America and others were there in spirit from Canada and Australia. After everyone arrived I started off with a little introduction to who we were and how the evening came about. I gave thanks to Aunt Maggie for here requests to Cousin Sharon to find the lost relatives in America. I gave thanks to Sharon's tireless spirit of tracking us and our cousins the Gavin's down. Sharon's dad Tony spoke and gave us the history, Sharon read a moving poem she wrote and had us all crying. She thanked my niece for her persistence if finding our other cousins the Gavin's in the U.S. Cousin Seamus spoke and also gave us some historical context of the Irish emigration and our families experience of it and presented flowers to Sharon for making this happen. My daughter Sofia played "Danny Boy" and "Amazing Grace" on her flute with some assistance from her cousin Georgi.

So after the speeches we ate, drank, the kids played and we talked and had a great craic. Aunt Maggie and Cousin Marie played all night with the seven kids.

One of the highlights of the evening was my Aunt Maggie singing many Irish songs for us. Her rendition of a "Mother's Love" had me crying and thinking about my mother.I never in my wildest imagination expected to find my family and be reunited. It was the greatest night of my life or as my Aunt Maggie would say, "It was Mighty". A truly miraculous St. Patrick's Day. What a welcome home. I'll forever be grateful to Aunt Maggie and Cousin Sharon and my Cousin Tony for making this happen. This night and this reunion was also the greatest gift I could ever give my daughter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My dear cousin John,

We were all so nervous, not knowing what to expect or indeed what you in turn expected... You came to Ireland with a heart as big as the mountain your Mammy was born on. We are so blessed to have you as part of our lives and I thank God for making it happen. You are a mighty man John Duffy and I know your Mammy would be so, so proud of you.xxxx