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Sister Mary Janela Macks Trip To Ireland March 1975

  We went to O'Hara Airport, Chicago at 1:30 p.m. got our luggage checked and our seats. Went through check. Beautiful day, Left Chicago a few minutes late but Pilot thought he could make the time up. New York had low ceiling so we were an hour late in landing. We sat over Empire State Bldg. waiting our turn to enter a runway. We had to go through Customs and check again. Mary Louise caused the machine to buzz so had to go into a booth and be frisked. No one knows what caused it.

Our flight left Kennedy late and in rain, a little turbulence enroute. We had dinner at 10 p.m. Movie followed but our group slept through most of it. It began to get light around 2:30 a.m. our time. We arrived in Shannon, Ireland at 8:30 a.m. but 3:30 a.m. our time. We had coffee and orange juice on the plane. Bank didn't open until 9:00 a.m. so Mary Louise and Maurie took care of the rented car first.

After our money exchange we went to car and drove to Newmarket on Fergus for ten o'clock Mass. Beautiful Church very modern in structure. We thought we were in Ennis at the time. We then drove to Ennis. We went to Walnut House for coffee, which was good, but better left unsaid anything else. (wouldn't recommend). We had dinner at the Queen's Hotel.

We left Ennis and drove to LissayCasey. We visited with Mike Meaney's mother and sister Mrs. Irene Brown. Met Berny Meaney just leaving there. Kelly's had directed us to Brown's but we went a little too far. Mr. Breen took me over. (The people are very accommodating.) We all had a nice visit. We met Mr. Brown and his brother Tom, also little Bridget. We went to Fanny O'Dea's who was recommended to have the best eggnog in all Ireland. It was two o'clock and on Sundays they have to close from 2-4 o'clock. They were getting all the men out so we got no eggnog.

We drove to Killrush and tried to locate a guesthouse. Several were renovating and painting getting ready for the tourist trade later. We were recommended to go to Green Acres near Doonaha. Mr. and Mrs. McGrath and children Josephine 10 and ? 7 yrs. were the occupants of a beautiful country home. There were four bedrooms. Very friendly people, nice clean rooms, central heating and a cheery fireplace. On March 24th we got up at 8 a.m. (people usually rise about that time - take life leisurely.) Had a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, soda bread and coffee. After taking a few pictures of the Shannon we left and drove to Kilkee.

Then we took the coast road in County Clare to Blackhead. We saw the milk carts, the baby lambs, rock fences, rock cliffs, the Cliff of Moher and O'Brien Castle.

Along Galway Bay we stopped at Sean Conway's. Sean and his wife Annie Scanlon Conway were home. Bernie, the son was helping a neighbor build a garage. We had tea and fresh soda bread and jelly there. They had sons working in England and two daughters married and living there. They have a beautiful site for their home. After leaving there we stopped at a cemetery but grave dates were more recent than the ones we were looking to find. In older cemeteries the dates and names are gone.

I was also looking for Tessie O'Connor's brother who lives in that vicinity. We drove on toward Ballyvaugh. We stopped at Michael O'Connor. He and his son lived there. The older man was of a family of 13. He said his descendants went back to Burke also. He had four sisters living in America but wasn't the one we were seeking. We stopped at another Cemetery but the dates and names could not be made out. Many of them were slabs of a soft material lying right on the ground.
We stopped at an Abbey in Clarinbridge and bought several gifts. Then we stopped at Paddy Burke's for smoked salmon, hot apple pie with whipped cream, and our first Irish coffee. Then we headed toward Lougheea. We had several miles of new pavement like home and American road signs. Most of the roads are narrow and the streets in some of the towns were also. Then we went to Eyrecourt, to find a place to stay, but not open yet to tourist trade. We went to Birr and stayed at the town house of J.J. Montague. We went to a lounge for sandwiches and had oxtail soup at the Thrilberry Tree. We went back to the home and sat around the fireplace and watched T.V. and visited. Our beds had 6 blankets doubled and a hot water bottle in the bed. Slept well. The lady had come from England just 6 mo. before and had two nieces living with her who attended school close by. The girl's names were Colette and Orla. On the 25th we got up at 7:30 so we could leave around 9. Our breakfast was egg, bacon and soda bread, white bread and coffee.

We headed for Dublin. We saw our first train outside of Dublin. There were only 14 or 15 short cars. We saw a Hanrahan sigh in Naas near Dublin. We went to St. Patrick's Hospital in Dublin where there are 400 mental patients. Dr. Tom Hansen was with a patient so we had to wait a half hour to see him. He was glad to see someone from Waterloo. We went downtown on a double-decked bus with Tom and went to Bewley's Oriental Cafe for dinner. Then we went across the street to Brown Thomas and Co. to shop. Then we went over to Trinity College library to see the Book of Kells. We then went back to St. Patrick's after 3 hrs. as Tom had to go to work.

We left Dublin and drove to BlackRock, Laoghaire, Greystones, Bray, and Newtown Mount Kennedy to Ashford looking for Mrs. Kelly. Mary Lou went into Bel Air Hotel but first impressions weren't good so we drove to Wickford and decided to stay at the Grand Hotel and it really was grand - our first real central heading. We saw racetracks near Dublin. During afternoon we saw Holly and Palm trees. We had steak and baked potato for dinner and I had 7-Up.

March 26th after a good night's rest we awakened to find it raining. It started as a fine mist but ended in a good rain. We had a good breakfast of toast (our first) went to Rathnew, Rathdrum, and up to Laragh and to Glendalough, where St. Kevin's Church which was built around the 11th and 12th centuries is located. The Pillar is located there also. We returned via Laragh to Rathdrum and Woodbridge, an 8-mile stretch of exquisite mountain beauty that encompasses the lovely vale of Avoca and Thomas Moore's immortalized poem "Meeting of the Waters". Thomas Moore was Ireland's national poet in 1807. The two rivers were Avonmore and Avonbeg. Then we drove to Arklow, Inch, Gorey, and Ferns where there was a beautiful modern Church and next to it a home with a thatched roof.

Coming into Enniscorthy we crossed a bridge but was delayed as a Guinness Beer truck and another large truck had trouble meeting. After 20 minutes or so we were able to get past but the Guinness truck was in a position that he was going to have difficulty getting out. We went through New Ross near where the John F. Kennedy Park is located, and the Kennedy Estate is not too far distant but we didn't take that side trip.

We saw a large quarry, paper mills, fertilizer plant and other industries in this region. We met many large trucks that we hadn't seen before. We saw mountains as we came down. There were snow flurries at Glendalough, and also in Castel that evening. We got to Waterford between 1 and 2 p.m. We had dinner at the Mackey's Cafe. Then we went into a crystal store near by where I got a catalog for $5 for Dr. Thornton (Dr. asked me to get him a catalog. He reimbursed, so did Sue), and a few gifts. It was still raining. We left Waterford about 3 p.m.

We went to Piltown, Carrick On Suir, and to Clonmel. There were two window signs within three blocks, Mack's Cleaners but we couldn't stop to get a picture which I regretted. We got into Cashel about 5 p.m. We located Mrs. Foley's Home called Rathard Lodge - a beautiful home. We sat around a fireplace in living room to get warm. We went down to The Chef Cafe for lunch - had goulash soup. We also saw sings in Clonmel for Brennan Market. In Cashel we saw a sign J. Noonan - butcher we were told, but the store was closed. (That was mother's maiden name.)

Some interesting items: Road up - means road torn up, being repaired. In our country road construction. Half thirteen - half past 12. We had seen more wire fences, conifer trees. We saw several bread trucks in Gorey with Brennan Bakery on them. Many stucco houses - bright colored or at least the trim would be. We met a couple from near San Francisco, Calif. She had aunts near Galway, Hannaon and ?. They had been in Ireland for a week and were going home Sunday also.

Mrs. Foley served us tea and biscuits (what cookies are called in Ireland. Chips are French fries) before going to bed. I had a hot water bottle and the heat had been on in my room for a couple hours but still it was cold. Next morning I froze from 5:30 until after 7 when the heat came on. Radiator is like a waffle iron on its side the length of the radiator heated by electricity. The fireplace burned wood and peat. On March 27 I woke up to sheep bleating, a calf bawling. Cashel Tower wouldn't be opened until 10:30 a.m. Stores were only open for half day yesterday. We are to have breakfast at 9 a.m. Mrs. Foley had beautiful home - wall to wall carpeting in rooms - first really hot water outside of hotel. Rooms are heated only when guests arrive. A lot of antiques.

Sun is out beautiful today. Cars park on either side of the streets no matter which direction one is going just so there's a place to park. Have seen a lot of Brennan names, Horan, O'Connor, Conway, O'Dea, Keough, etc. After a hearty breakfast at Mrs. Foley's of toast, bacon, sausage, egg, and coffee we left there. We stopped downtown to do some shopping. I got some things for the grandnieces and nephews. Before leaving Foley's Mr. Foley told me about his breeding of the parrots or parakeets and the crossing of the different colors. It was very cold. Maurie had to take a thick layer of frost from his windshield. They told him to use half an Irish potato. It did the trick but left a lot of goo on the windshield that Maurie had to wash off. We went up to the Rock of Cashel. It was snowing and sleeting while we were there.

From Cashel we went to Tipperary and three miles North to Solehead where Grandpa Noonan was born and baptized. There is only a Church and cemetery left there. We found Ryans and Mahoneys but no Noonans on the tombstones. I took a picture of Church and Cemetery. On way there we took a picture of Mr. Hogan and his milk cart. Mary Louise promised to send him a picture which she did and he wrote to thank her. Men wear dress suits for all kinds of work. From Solehead we drove to Cahir and had lunch at ?, a very lovely place. From Cahir we went to Michelstown where Mary Louise went to a Bank. We saw a Flea Market there so took a picture. We then went to Fermay and Watergrasshill and finally reached Cork. The streets were narrow and traffic very heavy. Stores would be closed all day Good Friday. We tried to find Mrs. Garret's Place on Glasshen Road and did but she wasn't home. We came back down the hill and inquired of a Policeman of a place to go. He told us to go through two or three lights and then we would come to one not working and to turn left there, but we never came to one not working. We finally decided to go out from the city as the traffic was so bad.

We came to the Sunset Ridge Motel. Mary Louise inquired and the prices were reasonable. We were only two miles from Blarney also so we decided to stay. We had nice rooms, heat until 2:30 a.m. turned off until 6:30 a.m. private bath and toilet and room heated. We took a bus from in front of the Motel downtown to shop at 5:30 p.m. It stops at the Bus Barn in middle of the shopping district. Everyone was buying for Good Friday and goodies for Easter. We took bus back after a couple of hours. It was sleeting and snowing some. We had dinner, steak, potato, onion rings, bread, and Irish coffee.

After dinner I called T.J. Meaney (Mike Meaney's brother). He is a contractor in Cork. He and his wife came over at 10:30 p.m. and stayed an hour. They have four children - three girls 11-9-? And a boy 2 yrs. old. They treated me to Sherry before they left. We had an enjoyable visit. Earlier in the evening after our dinner I met a couple from England Mr. and Mrs. Kemp. She is Nora and from near Dublin. They had their grandson and granddaughter with them. The children's parents are teachers. They have four living children and one dead. Mr. and Mrs. Kemp treated me to Sherry. Needless to say I slept well that night. It is the custom for everyone to offer to treat.

We got up at 7 the 28th and had breakfast at 8 - scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice and grapefruit. We left Sunset Ridge in a snowstorm at 9 a.m. and drove to Blarney Castle 2 mi. away. We left our car in the parking lot and climbed up to the Castle and took some pictures. Kathy and the others climbed the 18 steps to the top to kiss the stone. I relied on the others to transfer some of their blarney. It was cold and windy. We drove from there to Macroon and up to Ballymakecry and Ballyvournery and to Coulea - show was on the ground. There were many mountains and was along water most of the way - beautiful scenery. We went to Kilgarvan and Cleady. We stopped in Kenmare to inquire the way to the Weaver Shop where Kathy got a sweater and I got material for a jumper. Mr. Shea owns the shop and weaves right there. We had asked about a restroom in the town and were told they didn't open until ten o'clock but they were kind enough to let us use the one in the store. Most of the stores and restaurants were closed for Good Friday.

We went on to Blackwater, Sneems, Ardmore, and Caberdaniel and had lunch in Cahirgivern. Everything was closed but a girl got us sandwiches she fixed herself and Crisps (potato chips) from a store next door of which she had a key. We went on to Cahircivein, Glenbeigh and to Killorglin. Sun would shine and then snow and sleet into Killarney and went on the jaunting cart around the Lakes which took 45 min. I thought I would have a harder time getting into the Cart. It was a cold breezy ride. The horse was afraid of trucks but not of cars.

We then drove to Tralee and began looking for a B and B place to stay for the night. We went to Horan's Hotel but it didn't look inviting. Brennan was on a window for something. We finally found a guesthouse called Kinard run by Mrs. Scannell. We went to the Hotel to eat dinner as everything else was closed. We had a wonderful night there. Homes were much better in this area. Very mountainous and a lot of holly and laurel. The mosses are gorgeous. Expressions you hear: look handily to right; - just 200 yds. up the road;- just follow the cowpath. We got up at 7:30 and had breakfast at 8 a.m. consisting of sausage, bacon almost like ham, orange juice, toast, marmalade, and coffee. Mrs. Scannell told us the Irish are very impatient, will pound on table if not served immediately. We had seen this.

We stopped down at Hilliards and Mary Louise got a vase to be sent home and some other gifts. I had to get bulbs for my camera. We left Tralee and drove to Listowel, Tarber, and Askerston and on to Limerick. We saw a boat at Foyne's. We had a view of the Shannon river part of the way. We checked in at Limerick Inn and put our things in our rooms. We then drove to Ennis and had dinner at the Queen's Hotel. Stewed steak, onions, hard rolls (extra), cabbage and carrots.

We left after dinner and drove to Kilfenora and went through the Cemetery. A Burke and several MaNamaras are buried there. We inquire at the shop for a Jack O'Dea. We were told he lived back 4 or 5 miles on the Kilfernora Road from Ennis but he had passed the Oil Station about 15 min. earlier so they knew he wasn't home. Could be they said around 40 years old. We came back through Ennistimon to Ennis. Grandmother Catherine O'Dea Mack's brother Patrick O'Dea lived with Jack O'Dea in 1954 or 55 when Father Keller (son of Margaret Conway Keller) was in Ireland. Patrick was in his nineties then so we knew he would be deceased we thought Jack could tell us where Patrick was buried and we would no doubt be able to find the rest of the Clan. I was sorry afterwards we didn't go talk to the rest of Jack's family.

We went back to Limerick and found out that the first Mass we could attend would be Easter morning at 8 o'clock. We rested at the Limerick Inn, which was beautiful. We dressed and went to Bunratty Castle at 8 p.m. We went to Gift Shop and looked around. We went to the Castle to pick up our banquet tickets. Through someone's error in the Office our names were not down. Forty-one had not appeared for the 6 o'clock dinner so we were told to wait. Luckily a party of six cancelled so got in. We climbed many steps up a narrow staircase. We were given a hot claret with cinnamon and lemon. It was delicious. We stood around a warm fire. A history of Bunratty Castle was given. Then we were escorted down to the Banquet Hall where more wine was given us. We went to out table about 125 of us. Brightly colored bibs were tied around our necks.

First course: Soup, that we drank from the bowl. Bread was broken off from a loaf by each one. A king and his spouse was chosen to taste everything first before it was serve to the rest of us. We had no silver except a saber (knife).
Second course was spare ribs - finger bowls were provided. Wine was passed again. Then we had Capon (chicken) beans and carrots and a tossed salad.
Next course was strawberry shortcake. A fork was given with this. A spoon was given.
There was singing all during the meal, 9 or 10 girls, a harpist and a violinist. A young fellow was put in the dungeon and he was released after singing a song.
Lastly we went down to another floor for coffee. We got home at 11:30 p.m.
(Sister Mary Janela Mack, March 1975)

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