November 29, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Orla and Fr. Eoghan in the beehive hut

Orla and Fr. Eoghan in the beehive hut

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So a month has passed since the last update to this site. As usual, I will claim the excuse that we’ve been busy. And so, indeed, we have – a lot has happened. We had a trip to Ireland, an emancipation, and Thanksgiving.
At the beginning of the month, on Tuesday, I communicated to my boss my decision to resign from my job but, alas, we weren’t able to agree on terms. So there I was, stuck at work. However, all was not completely depressing. After all, I was starting vacation the next day…
On Wednesday Jenn and I took Orla to the doctor’s office to make sure her ears were not infected or blocked up (they weren’t) and the next day, Thursday 6th, Orla and I took an Amtrak train down to the city. We stopped off for a fancy lunch, and then continued to the airport from whence we flew to Ireland. The flight was relatively uneventful and, after renting a car, we found ourselves at my sister Mary’s house where Orla was excited to see her cousins Eimear and Cliodhna again.
I showed her around Clontarf, where I grew up. She thought the Rose Garden at St. Anne’s Park was particularly delightful, and demanded to be brought back day after day so she could take photographs of her favourite examples.
On Saturday I brought her up into the Dublin Mountains, and to Johnny Fox’s pub, the highest pub in Ireland, where we were joined by Dave and Solenn for lunch. Ever the adventuress, Orla was keen to try the Alligator she saw on the menu. Unfortunately, the kitchen was out of all varieties of the family Alligatoridae, so she had to settle for frogs legs ! The two girls had fun together while Dave and I caught up, but then after an all too brief lunch we had to head back home.
Next on the agenda was a sleepover for Orla with Caitriona and Tim, while I had a few well needed beers with Frank, Peter and Cathal in the bar at Clontarf Castle. The next morning when I met up with Orla I saw that her cousin had given her a makeover, complete with ruby red nail polish. (I guess it’s just the start…)
Sunday afternoon saw the event that was the main reason for our trip, a family party for Fr. Eoghan. There was a great crowd of us, with almost all the families represented, and after lunch we were regaled with stories, poetry and songs. It was a splendid occasion, and all the better a get-together for being a celebration rather than a sad occasion. (Indeed, Orla asked earlier that morning if the occasion was Fr. Eoghan’s funeral !)
Monday saw us take it easy, with a trip out to Howth Summit and dinner with Ann and Tom, with the highlight of the trip for Orla being Tuesday’s trip to Kildare. We picked up Fr. Eoghan on the way and drove down to the National Stud. There, we enjoyed a stroll through the Japanese Gardens, meandering along the path of life, before having a tour of the Stud Farm. Orla was keen to see some foals, so our next stop was to Eimear’s farm where we were treated to a viewing of the foals by her assistant, Beverly. Needless to say, Orla fell in love with at least one of the foals and was keen to buy one. I was finally able to dissuade her by promising that when she reaches her mid-teens she can come to work on the farm for the summer.
Wednesday saw us joining Ciaran, who treated us to a fabulous helicopter tour of the city. We had kept our plans a secret from Jenn, in case she would freak out too much, but afterwards Orla was able to tell her what a wonderful time we had, and how she loved flying in helicopters far more than airplanes. Her only regret was that we couldn’t fly back to New York in a chopper !
The Kildare and helicopter episodes would have been the highlights of the trip for Orla, if she hadn’t arranged to go on a shopping expedition on Wednesday afternoon with Caitriona.
After we had lunch at The Shelbourne (where we were, unfortunately, too early for Afternoon Tea with scones and clotted cream !) I wisely adjourned to a local hostelry with a good book, while the two intrepid shoppers ventured off. If I hadn’t previously realised it, it would have been clear on their return that Orla has inherited her GrandMa Cole’s shopping genes ! She and Caitriona had a very successful outing, judging by the bags and parcels they returned with. Indeed, we had to buy another suitcase to carry Orla’s various purchases back to the US. And it must be said that they weren’t all clothes for herself; she made a point of picking up toys for Eoghan and The Conallator.
And then it was Thursday and time for our return to the US. Again we had a safe and uneventful crossing, reaching home again after a long day, and joining Jenn and the two boys.
That Friday and over the weekend we read about Citigroup laying off 50,000 employees, so it was no surprise when on Monday I returned to work to be informed by my boss that, unfortunately, I was one of the chosen not-so-few. I managed to maintain my sang-froid, and managed to disguise my jubilation until I passed the good news to Jenn. What a great end to the vacation !
The next two weeks passed quickly, interrupted by a quick trip to the Plaza to join Barbara, Kane and Seamus on the occasion of a lunch at which she was honoured as on of the Irish American Business 100.
With the change in the weather Jenn and I and the kids all picked up colds that we fought with varying degrees of success, but fortunately we had all recovered by Thursday in time for our Thanksgiving Dinner. We did our usual two turkeys, the “slow” one not being as good as the “fast” one this year, and we had a wonderful time with Sue and Beth, and Seamus, Ivana, Gaelan, Barbara and Kane. The conversation was sparking, as usual, and a good time was had by all. We followed dinner with a movie before the guests headed back to the city.