Irish Family

Fantastic! That is the word that sums up our 2-week visit to Dublin, North Wales and England. It was more than we could have ever imagined.

The hospitality was out of this world. Another word used by Europeans – “spectacular” or “terrific!”

The virtue of hospitality, in itself, is not just about appearances. It seems to have a higher value. Everywhere we went we were asked how we were, and then if we would like tea or coffee, or if we needed anything.
People were so friendly and helpful. The history was incredible. The structure of the buildings was so beautiful. But in their antiquity, we noticed that even the best hotels would not be tolerated in the states. We seem to want everything in perfect order, neat and tidy.

The Europeans put their energy into what really matters: people opposed to perfection.
In Dublin we contacted an uncle of Paul’s whom we had never met. Their welcoming us into their home, with no notice really, was unbelievable.
We were so excited to meet new relatives and first cousins. On very short notice, Aunt Kay put together the most thoughtful meal of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
Our dishes were presented so beautifully!

Later that night their kitchen was transformed into an art studio where Uncle Gabriel taught 8 students. He toggled back and forth from the studio to the sitting room, making sure that his guests were all okay. We found out what a talented artist he was (which we got to bring a painting home with us! woo-hoo!), owning his own gallery right on River Liffy next to O’Connell bridge, for 15 years!

Our visit lasted for hours, as we enjoyed the newness of long-lost relatives.

We got a personal tour through the streets of Dublin and were shown where Paul’s Mom grew up. We hiked through Glendalough, a monastery built in the Wicklow Mountains.

During our hike we stopped for tea and cookies and enjoyed the magnificence around us.
We hung out in Kimmage where Paul’s Dad grew up, visiting with three elderly neighbors who knew him well as a young lad.
Benny still rides his bike every day!

We shed a tear when we left our relatives. Not knowing if we’d ever see them again was a sobering thought.

What did we learn about European hospitality?

These people were taught how to be hospitable. It didn’t just happen by chance. It has made me re-evaluate exactly what I am teaching my children. I am excited to be home, now, and to share our experiences with them!

Stay tuned for some of my upcoming “Myth-Busters” of entertaining!

(Photos: (top) cross at Glendalough, downtown Dublin on Grafton Street, Uncle Gabriel and Paul, me and Aunt Kay, Aunt Kay’s yummy meal, tea and cookies, (bottom two) Benny)

This is the receipt that we found in Paul’s Mom’s purse. We tracked down his Dad’s family home by looking up this address, dated back to 1954! It was quite an adventure, to say the least.

15 comments on “Irish Family”

  1. What a wonderful trip! I love what you discovered about hospitality in Europe. What a great experience!

  2. 1954?!? Wow, what a find!

    It sounds like you had an amazing and fabulous trip. Welcome home!

  3. Hi Sandy,
    What a tremendous blessing, to meet distant relatives in a distant land. Few of us are ever afforded such an opportunity. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Gorgeous pictures!

  4. Sure missed you, Sandy! SO glad your trip was wonderful. How incredible to meet those relatives! Can’t wait to hear more about the hospitality.

  5. Oh, thank you for sharing your adventures! I have never been to Europe and would love to visit some day- especially Ireland!
    That is amazing that you were able to track down your husband’s dad’s family home by a 1954 receipt! Wow!

    I love that you are all about hospitality. :) I say this, knowing that I do not have a natural gift for it, since I’m fairly shy by nature. But I would love to develop this trait more…so I’ll be visiting you often! :)

  6. Oh Boy! It looks like it was so much fun! I hope you will share a photo of the painting your new relatives gave you. I look forward to hearing more!

  7. Sandy, you are so right about the Europeans. I had the pleasure of staying over in Italy back in the 90’s for 3 months & it was one of the best experiences of my life. Talk about friendly, down-to-earth people. They were so welcoming & generous, inviting us into their homes. They have a much better understanding of the good life than we do.

    What a great story of meeting your hubby’s family. Ireland must be so beautiful. Matt Lauer of the Today Show was there today in his whirlwind tour!

    Southern Hospitality

  8. Thanks for your nice comment. I love reading about your trip-how wonderful! I look forward to hearing more. I’ll be back to read your blog often.

  9. thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your blog looks very fun. I will have to come back and spend more time. All that entertaining! I can’t wait to see all your table settings.
    Congrats on your book.

  10. Thanks Sandy for the kinds words – stupid me, I accidentally left a comment intended for you on my post – you can tell I’m an amateur when it comes to this blogging thing. Anyway, lovely site and hope you had a great trip. Will be back often to visit.


  11. Now we know where Mr Paul gets his cycling obsession from! Neat trip and awesome photos. You should write a book about Ireland similar to Liz Higgs’ book about the Scottish Lowlands!

  12. Oh, that sounds so wonderful. Hospitality is certainly something you have to work and be aware of. I found Ireland very gracious as well. I look forward to going back. (Thanks for stopping by)

  13. Welcome home Sandy!
    Can’t imagine all that you’ve seen and done and experienced! Looking forward to hearing all about it.
    My girlfriend and her husband spent time in Bosnia and she was amazed at the hours those people will spend visiting with one another over coffee each day. Such a part of their culture. We are so fast-paced, that we forget to slow down and invest in others.

  14. It sounds like quite an awesome experience! Being an at-home mom with 3 under the age of 5, I love to travel via blogs!! he he
    Thanks for sharing this!

  15. It sounds absolutely wonderful! How fortunate you are. I look forward to reading more of your travels.

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