Thursday, March 1, 2012

August 23-24

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Travel Day- first flight out of Des Moines at 7:15am to Newark, NJ.  Tried to read my Angela’s Ashes  book but the flight was pretty bumpy. LOOOONG layover in Newark where I spent time updating our Pettitt Page blog (after 6+ months).  I also felt an earthquake…my first one ever, while waiting in the airport. Kind of crazy! I’m not sure I ever need to experience an earthquake again, and I’m just glad it wasn’t big where I was at so that our travel plans were disrupted. Then Mom and Grandma joined me and we ate some food and got ready to board the plane to Shannon, Ireland. Once on the plane, we waited for maintenance to fix an air conditioner switch problem (for about and hour and a half).  Finally we took off on our way to Ireland!
We made it!  Shannon Airport...time for my mom to drive on the wrong side of the road!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
We arrived in Shannon at about 8am, picked up my bag and went to pick up the rental car. Mom was pretty nervous about driving on the left side of the road…I would be too! She wanted me to navigate, and so we ended up getting a GPS from the rental car people.  We weren’t sure how helpful it would be because most places don’t have actual addresses! Our first stop was to be Adare to check out all some of the old thatched-roof houses.  We picked Adare public car park (parking lot) as our “destination” on the GPS and headed off down the road.  We ended up who knows where in what looked like somebody’s driveway!!! So we picked some place on the GPS in Adare, but on Main Street…and this time we made it there.  Mom’s driving skills were put to the test right away with our first detour down teeny tiny roads with big trucks coming the other direction. Adare was a nice little place.  We took some pictures of the houses with thatched roofs and walked around town for a bit.  Then we headed on to Banagher to find where we were going to stay. We had printed directions from the Shannon airport to Banagher, and also tried the GPS again.  The GPS didn’t always agree with our directions…in fact it thought we weren’t on a road for most of the trip….at this point we are not sure we can rely on this silly GPS!! We made it to Banagher using the printed directions, but then can’t find the house.  Remember, we don’t have an actual address, just a printed picture, some “directions,” and a house name “Glebe House.” We stopped at the Top gas station to ask directions.  The one lady tells us that Cuba Avenue that the house is off of is half of the town…not so much help! We have a number for Sean’s temporary Ireland cell phone, and the other lady at the gas station pulls out her cell phone and dials the number for us.  Sean is in Ballinasloe and says he’ll be right there to lead us to the house.  Shortly he arrived and leads the way.  We would not have found the house without his help! Bonnie and Dee had lunch all made and ready for us. Ham, cabbage, and potatoes. Then Sean takes us to Ballinasloe to pick up a phone for us to have at the Tesco. We went to Ballymana and saw the old Colohan (Colahan) home where Mary Colohan grew up.  She was Great-Grandma Niehouse’s mom. Padraic came down and showed us the little stone house and gave us a tour.  It used to have a thatched roof. It has a tiny little bedroom that the kids slept in and on top of, a fireplace, and another room in the back.  He has an old griddle, pot, kettle, saw, turf cutter, all there as well.  He told us that the fireplace had to be dismantled (literally the mantle taken off) because at one point the government allowed only one functional home on a property and they had their new home next door. Pretty neat stuff! Then we drove down the road toward the bog where they cut the turf and up through Ballinasloe. We drove by Uncle Jack’s old home where mom stayed when she came in her teens.  At this point it is empty and along a much bigger street than it used to be.  Across the street you can still see the water pump that they used to get water each day. Sean drove us back to Banagher and we all crashed…so much travel made us TIRED!

In Adare...we finally found it!

Cathedral in Adare
Thatched-roof houses in Adare
Mom, Grandma and I in front of the Old Colohan home
Inside the Old Colohan home
The bog!

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