When you are out in the countryside in Ireland, exploring seems like the most interesting activity to do. I mean there are castle ruins, empty fields, and abandoned (maybe even haunted) mansions around every corner! I guess not much has changed from when I was ten years old exploring the forests and open fields of Ireland.
Following my uncle Paul and cousin Kaila, we unknowingly went to what the locals consider the most haunted place around, Woodlawn House. The estate was built in the 18th century and is now quite damaged due to a fire and vandalism. It is also privately owned, which we did not realize upon entering. We crawled through the partially collapsed wall and explored floor by floor before being escorted off the property. Yikes! It turned out to not be much of a big deal once the security guard realized we were not causing any harm to the property.
We drove over to Loughrea where the majority of the family visiting Ireland were staying. Still full from a full Irish breakfast and not quite hungry for lunch, we stopped in at The Hungry Bookworm for tea and scones. This adorable library setting cafe served the best lemon curd scone I have ever tasted. I still have not had one quite like it since then. Mike, my cousin Kaila and I walked over to The Carmelite Abbey, which dates back to the 1300’s and happens to be one of my favorite places in Loughrea. I saw the most beautiful sunset behind The Abbey when I was last there. To no surprise, Mike managed to let a staff member show him inside the old abbey when it was closed.
The Hungry Bookworm, Loughrea, Co. Galway
After walking around the town, we parted ways to get ready for Granny Uniacke’s big 90th birthday dinner at the Meadow Court and celebration at The Gate Lodge. My dad must have been excited for Mike and I to announce our engagement that evening, because he kept asking me when we were going to do it. Towards the end of the evening my dad started spreading the word for all the family to go inside the bar. I ended up stuck behind the crowd, so Mike called for one of my uncles to get me to the stage. Mike made the announcement short and sweet. There was a loud cheer with lots of applause. It is very rare that so many are all in the same place at the same time. So, it was special to be able to share this significant moment of my life with such a large majority of my dad’s side of the family.
(The photos below are from my cousin Barry Fitzgerald)
Mike, Thomas, Granny, Me
You know you have a big family when you still have to sit at the kid’s table when you’re nearly twenty-five…