My newest project is that I’m applying for Irish citizenship, my paternal grandparents having come over from “the old country” (Limavady, Northern Ireland, #potatofamine).

Last night I thought to check the mean temp in, say, Galway: 60 F IN THE SUMMERTIME. Apparently it also rains literally ALL THE TIME.

Then I’m sorry to say I checked Is There Amazon in Ireland?

Then, this is what humans are reduced to when push comes to shove, I inquired: What do people eat in Ireland?

What came up was a photo of a giant tray of what I thought at first were fat stalks of pink asparagus but instead transpired to be PICKLED PIGS’ FEET (aka crubeens). The other thing they eat over there is Irish soda bread.

Next, fresh figs, nectarines, and plums being at the height of their season here in Southern Cal, I googled What kinds of fruit grow in Ireland?

December: apples. January: apples. February: apples. March: apples. April: apples. Then they get various kinds of berries for a few months, then back to apples.

It’s been well into the 90s here in Pasadena for the last couple of weeks, so the thought of a brisk walk in a drizzling rain, clad in a stout Irish knit sweater of water-repellent sheep’s wool actually sounds quite inviting.

All kidding aside, I’m quite hearty and have been trained since birth to “do without,” plus Ireland strikes me from the poetry and landscape to be beyond beautiful and in PROFOUND accord with my psyche and heart. I was over there once, in my drinking years, and stayed for a week with a bunch of other people in a stone cottage in Spiddal.

I was also supposed to have spent six weeks in Ireland this summer! I had a room booked at the Mercy International House in Dublin, then a month at a private-cottage hermitage at Glendalough Abbey in the Wicklow Mountains.

Naturally, that plan got scotched, no pun intended.

So Ireland has been much on my mind.

Let me know if you have a castle over there with an isolated turret in which you would like to install a resident artist.

22 Replies to “DREAMS OF IRELAND”

  1. May I suggest a wonderful, informative podcast on Ireland by Irish? https://www.theirishpassport.com

    The Irish Passport- Naomi O’Leary and Tim Mc Inerney are the brave and talented hosts. So much to learn about present day troubles and historic ones. If you are interested in genealogy, the Library of Ireland opened their records to include many generations documented baptisms and marriages. FYI- some names are in Latin, or Latinish as there wasn’t an exact translation for some modern names. It’s easy to figure out.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Oh that’s grand, Marge, thank you, esp as history, culture and politics are the areas where I always fall most short, and instead am generally wandering about weeping over a leaf or a flower and barely know what continent I’m on. I’m not even kidding I had to look at a map the other day and was like, Oh wow, Ireland is an ISLAND. I go by whether I like the poetry, literature, and pictures of the landscape. Of course my beloved grandparents came over on the boat and Nana had a brogue all her life and ate oatmeal for breakfast every single day of her life and baked delicious bread. But she was gone by the time I was 21 and even though I spent some of the happiest, most idyllic days of my life as a child mooning about the house and grounds of their place on Rye Beach, NH, I never much asked her, or maybe she disliked talking, about the “old country”…I’d give anything to be able to ask her a million questions now. My little sister is fascinated by genealogy and has dug up all kinds of interesting stuff about our forbears..of course I would feel obligated and would want to educate myself more deeply re Ireland’s history, culture, geography, traditions before I visited. So this podcast could be v helpful and I thank you–

  2. Heather:

    Twinkle Dad here … The “Irish Dream” is alive and well in the Twinkle household. We’re looking at making a move to Ireland, too; we’ve pretty much given up hope on the US in the wake of #Trumpkinhead/Wormwood (Putin would make a good Screwtape, dontchathink?). Unfortunately, while we both have *great* grandparents who hailed from Ireland, all the grandparents were US-born; so, citizenship will be a bit more involved for us.

    FWIW, Irish Soda Bread is to DIE for (SO good warm in the morning) with a nice hot cup of coffee (Irish or not). And apples aren’t the only fruit that you can grow in Ireland; peaches, plums and pears will grow there (though, may require a greenhouse in some areas).

    To prepare for your migration, if you haven’t already read it, check out Donald Grant’s “White Goats and Black Bees” (https://www.amazon.com/Donald-Grant/dp/0385065221/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=white+goats+and+black+bees&qid=1598465837&sr=8-1). Wonderful book!

    We love your blog, love your books, love your Instagram posts — love, love, love them. You’re the best!

    TD & TM

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Hello Twinkle Dad!! So nice to hear from you. Yes, I have partaken of and myself cooked Irish soda bread–which IS delicious! Recently, reading Niall Williams’ novel This Is Happiness (highly recommended), I came across the phrase “boiled cake” (how Irish is that?) so followed that up and found a recipe for Old-Fashioned Boiled Raisin Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting that also sounds like a scrumptious accompaniment to a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. White Goats and Black Bees sounds totally up my alley and as it is not to be found in my local library I have ordered a used copy! Speaking of memoirs about buying a run-down place in an unfamiliar part of the world and trying to make a go of it–Dispatched from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta I absolutely loved. So glad you and TM dig my IG posts and books…feeling my way as usual. Am not contemplating a full-on migration to Ireland–but who knows? Especially as I inch toward “retirement” or let’s put it baldly and say death…I love and am grateful for the land of my birth, and have a terrible time leaving ANYTHING OR ANYBODY–even places/people I don’t like or that don’t like me…anyway, it’s fun to “put it out there”–just saying something out loud has a strange kind of power. All the best to you both, thank you, thank you!

  3. Oh sign me up. The humidity in St Louis today is unreal. Plus it is so hot. Six of my great grand parents came from Ireland. Is that enough? I like rain and apples and I remember eating pigs’ feet when I was small. My Grandpa Grady (Owen) liked them.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Oh man what a great name, Grandpa Grady Owen, and of course he liked pigs feet! I probably would, too, if I tried them. I seem to remember in the divey Boston bars I drank at back in the 70s/80s that they possibly had them for sale in a jar behind the bar…or maybe it was pickled eggs…Irish working-class type joints…Anyhoo, it is baking hot here in LA though at least not humid–though I sympathize, having been through many an East Coast dripping-with-moisture heat wave back in NE–hope it cools down and esp fun since we’ve been cooped up with COVID this year to dream a bit of travel…

  4. Interesting post! My ancestors come not from Ireland, but from the small European country of Lithuania. I have never visited Lithuania nor do I have any plans to in the near future. If I were to visit Lithuania, there would be several places I would definitely want to visit: 1. The Hill of Crosses, a hill filled with thousands of crosses placed there by pilgrims. 2. The Divine Mercy Shrine. Located in the country’s capital, Vilnius, the shrine contains the original Divine Mercy image. (https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/the-original-image-of-divine-mercy-its-not-where-you-might-think-70393) 3. Our Lady of Silvua Basilica. On the site of the approved apparition of Our Lady of Silvua.

    I’m sorry that your trip was cancelled. God willing, I hope that you will be able to visit Ireland another time.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Beautiful, Pio Frassati–it seems I’d be able to travel freely to Lithuania with an Irish passport and would surely love to visit the Hill of Crosses (which I have at least heard of), and the other pilgrimage sites as well. Also Lithuania is home to one of my heroes, modern-day martyr under Communism Servant of God Adele Dirsyte. I will surely aim to get over to Ireland, COVID willing, sometime in the not too far distant future…thank you and blessings to you!

  5. You better be joking about the citizenship part of your Irish post! Pasadena needs you. But on the other hand, you’d work wonders with apples. And FYI, the Solas Bride in Kildare has hermitages. . . the Brigidine Sisters run it.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha Mary Lea C, you will be the first person with whom I consult re travel to Ireland–have looked up Solas Bhride–those cozy round hermitages! Have added to list and now I know where Kildare is located as well. Thank you! We must walk as soon as the temp drops below 90. Hope you’re well!

  6. Hi Heather, I have followed you since you gave your testimony for Magnificat. I also like your blogs and articles in The Magnificat. I wanted to tell about another blog I follow and the writer is from Oregon but has lived in Ireland for years with her husband. She gives retreats and is a Third Order Benedictine Oblate. You might like to get in touch with her. The Blog is Abbey of the Arts. I think you will like her very much. God bless you always!
    Paulette Renaudin – I have been in Magnificat for 35 years, started a Chapter with 5 friends years ago and was on the Central Service Team for 7 years. May you be abundantly blessed! Good luck in your new endeavor!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thank you Paulette, yes another friend pointed out Christine Painter on FB–very beautiful, and I will file away for possible future communication! I, too, am on the road to Oblateship, here in Southern California…good to be reminded the Benedictines are of course in Ireland as well…I so appreciate the support–may you be abundantly blessed, and your work, as well.

  7. Jamie O'Halloran Whitmarsh says: Reply

    Oh, Heather, you will love being here. Speaking of fruit, rhubarb! Spring through Fall. The Irish berries are fantastic. I’ve yet to see pigs feet at the butcher’s. The fruits of the sea and rivers are sublime.

    Better than the above are the people–kindest and friendliest.

    Looking forward to your visit!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Jamie, hello! Yes, way more important are the people–plus what would come up google if someone asked What do people in the US eat? Junk food, MacDonalds, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell…as you know, the piece was tongue in cheek. “Fruits of the sea and rivers”…what a beautiful phrase…Anyway, we will be in touch, keeping my eye on the travel restrictions and I, too, look forward to my visit! Thank you as always for your generosity and kindness–Irish to the core!

  8. You will LOVE the apples on this side of the pond! Much better than the steroid-fed balloons you get in the States! Beyond that, Ireland is the European headquarters of quite a few Fortune 500 companies because of the good tax rates. So you won’t exactly be in the back of beyond. Ane even beyonder than that: you’ll be in the EU and I can come see you on Ryan Air!!!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Barbara! Yes, I keep hearing that the apples over there are splendid! And how lovely would that be to visit together? The dox I need to apply are trickling in–I will keep you all posted! And thank you so much for the pre-welcome. Blessings to you–

      1. Have I mentioned the orchard? That’s where the donkeys are grazing among the apple and pear trees. Oh, and the blackberry brambles. Jam making is the near future.

        1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

          Ha yes I believe the words orchard…donkeys…blackberries have crossed my radar! Along with river–a word that is deeply compelling! Thank you, Jamie–love to you and Oughterard! I just found out I also have forbears from Sixmilebridge in County Clare…

  9. Soda bread and potato farls are wonderful.
    If you do go, don’t neglect Derry; a great city (though badly treated, and now at the mercy of the hash that is brexit) on the doorstep of Donegal. There is a great Italian restaurant called Spaghetti Junction in the heart of the bogside, near the beautiful St Columba’s Church, Long Tower. Good things in a troubled place.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Kevin, my most immediate Irish forbears (paternal grandparents) are actually from Northern Ireland–Limavady, my grandfather by way of Glasgow–and my friend Patrick’s father was born in Donegal so he already has an Irish passport, went over last year to visit, and fell in love with Donegal–at any rate, a couple of my siblings are poking around on ancestry.com and making contact. County Clare is also back there somewhere. Thanks for the Derry shout-out and Spaghetti Junction and St. Columba’s Church, Long Tower tips. Will add to file. Have looked up potato farls and am now all set for an Ulster fry-up! The Southern Cal gluten-free cold-pressed sorrel juice crowd–of which I am proudly NOT A PART–would have a coronary at the very thought!

  10. When you obtain your Irish Citizenship, you may have an Irish passport that serves as an EU passport as well. My paternal grandmother was born, a British subject, in Belfast, just as your paternal grandparents were born as British subjects. But, the Irish Republic claimed the north in the days when our ancestrors were born. (It still may.) And, in virtue of that claim and out of a rational consistency, the Republic claimed all born in the North as Irish citizens. I secured the irish passport some time ago (ten years?), and matters since then may have altered legal tradition sufficiently that you won’t become an EU citizen. That would be a pity. When I showed my new Irish passport to a colleague who was a Dutch visitor, he complimented me: “Frank, now even the French can’t kick you out!”

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Frank, I can barely sort it out–even today N Ireland uses pounds and the Republic uses euros..but as far as I can figure, my citizenship will allow me to have the EU passport. “Anyone born outside Ireland whose grandmother or grandfather, but not his or her parents, were born in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) may become an Irish citizen by registering in the Irish Foreign Births Register (FBR) at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin or at the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate” etc. Anyway I know it’s a great passport to have–still waiting for the marriage cert of my grandparents and then I can send in my app…


Discover more from HEATHER KING

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading