IRELAND — Day 1
That’s right. I’m in Ireland. No baseball here. Sorry to disappoint. Why Ireland? Because my girlfriend Jona recently discovered that she has family here, and they’ve paid our way to come visit. It’s a long story, one that I won’t get into here (in part because it’s kind of personal), so I’ll just say that a few weeks ago Jona got an unexpected phone call from a distant aunt in Ireland and learned that she has two half-brothers and a half-sister from her late father’s second marriage. (Crazy, no?) So we’re here, staying with the aunt (Joan) and her husband (Seamus…pronounced “SHAY-muss”) approximately seven miles from the heart of Dublin. This is first time I’ve been to Ireland; Jona was here once before, a few decades ago, and doesn’t remember much.
That’s the background.
As for the trip itself, we flew out of Newark Airport at 7pm on Monday, December 22nd. Because of the time change–five hours later in Ireland–it was 7am the next morning when we landed. Joan and Seamus picked us up at the airport and drove us back to their place. Jona and I had a quick bite, then took a four-hour nap, then hung around the house, and finally headed out with Joan. It was 4pm, and it was already starting to get dark when I took the following photo of the house from across the street:
We got on a double-decker bus, rode into Dublin, and started walking:
Joan dropped us off at Trinity College where Jona met her uncle William for the first time ever. (William and her father were brothers.) He took us to Bewley’s Cafe–a spot where Jona’s father used to hang out–and filled her in some of the family’s history, including the fact that her father had another son…with an Indian woman…which meant Jona has a THIRD half-brother!
William then took us to The Dawson Lounge (which bills itself as “Possibly the smallest pub in the world”) and walked us past the mayor’s house…
…and dropped us off in a bustling shopping district. Jona and I wandered into shops and malls…
…and then met up with her first cousin Shane (Joan’s son) whom she’d only met twice before. Shane treated us to drinks at another well-known pub called Kehoe’s. Here I am with Jona out in front:
Then we took a taxi home. It’s now 1:30am here. Jona just learned she has a fourth half-brother (named Jonah!) who was put up for adoption as a baby and is now believed to be living in America. (I just learned the Yankees got Teixiera. Ugh!) We’re exhausted, mentally and physically, and we have a big day tomorrow, although I’m not yet sure what it consists of. Our whole trip is gonna be less than a week. I’ll try to blog again tomorrow…