We were sorry to leave our campground with its view of the Rock and St. Mary's Abbey out the window of Homer. We really enjoyed the owner, Sean, who sat and talked with us at length, and the small size of the place. Our only neighbors were a friendly Dutch couple.
I wanted to stop in the town of Abbyleix, on the road to Dublin. My mother's family on her father's side came here back in the 18th century. I visited the town 21 years ago and found the family home, "The Hill", with the help of several people in town. I asked first at a news agent who sent me to the town librarian, Cathleen, who, believe it or not, was expecting me when I arrived. She told me about a guy named Paddy Mulhall. He was quite a character and practically ran the town. Not only was he the publican of Morrisey's, he was the Estate Agent, Insurance Agent, Auctioneer and Funeral Director. When we stopped in at Morrisey's, they all knew him of course, and told us he had died 5 years ago. I managed to find a photo of him online.
It was wonderful to find that the town hadn't changed as much as I had expected. We found Morrisey's right away, and then the Church of Ireland where I had searched for and found family graves so long ago.
I even managed to remember where the house was. It's greatly changed from the 19th century photograph my mother had but it was still fun to see it again. It was originally a stone house but has now been plastered over and painted. The enclosed front porch is an add-on. The stables out back are now used as garages and storage space. Funny thing about the name, it's hardly a hill, more of a mound, which is why it was easy to find again.
The Hill, 2010
Chuck ordered a glass of Guinness and I ordered a glass of Smithwick. We were driving on, after all. I give Chuck credit for being able to order the less manly glass rather than a pint. The bartender was impossible to comprehend but we were able to understand a few words here and there from the guy on the stool next to us. Later, Johnny walked in and the bartender said something like "hi'a Johnny, pint?" then grabbed a glass and headed straight for a particular draught. We did manage to find out that Morrisey's is 375 years old.
This is the other side of the bar; it doubles as a small grocery with cereal, beans, candy, and small bottles of 7-Up and other sodas.
The Main Street
We're now comfortably ensconced at our Dublin campground, Camac Valley Tourist Caravan & Camping Park, €25. It's wonderful, has free WiFi and we seem to have our very own private backyard.
Chuck, enjoying the intermittent sunshine.
Two shorten the road. ~ Irish proverb