Friday, June 29, 2007


I took a nice trip to Scotland years ago. My friend and I traveled with large backpacks on our backs, took trains and stayed in youth hostels along the way. It was a memorable trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the beautiful Scottish scenery that surrounded us wherever we went.

My most striking memory of the trip was how awestruck I was by the fact that everything was so green - in shades so vivid that they seemed to be unreal. It was a beautiful place and I'd love to mingle with the friendly people and the Highland cows again sometime.

I've always imagined Ireland to be even more beautiful than the Scotland that I knew then. Photography of Ireland (in several volumes that rest on my bookshelves) certainly assures me that it will be. Quaint Irish villages with little thatch-roofed homes, green fields as far as the eye can see, cliff views of the ocean that defy the imagination. I would love to take a long, leisurely trip to the land of my heritage. I even daydream sometimes of living there for a year or so. I had often been saddened to think that my great-great-grandparents, Patrick Tierney and his wife Catherine (Kennedy) Tierney had been forced to leave such a beautiful land. Both had left after spending their childhoods during the famine years.

Imagine my interest when I discovered a letter a couple of years ago written in 1985 by my Great Aunt Mary (McCue) Primiano. Her letter, addressed to my grandparents, described a recent trip she had taken to Ireland by way of France & England.

Of specific interest to me was her description of a short conversation that she had once with her grandmother, "Gran", Catherine (Kennedy) Tierney. It reminded me that the land of Ireland not only has its beauty but a harshness that has made its people strong over the generations.
"We took an overnight trip on the Irish Sea last year. Talk about being a bad sailor. I can get queezy on a ferry and the storm on the Irish Sea darn near did me in.

"I remember asking Gran one time if she ever wanted to go back to Ireland. She laughed and said, 'Never.' After that trip I can now understand why."
Now I know what "Gran", who died on February 4, 1934 in her mid-eighties, would have said if given the chance to go back.

I'll just have to take the trip for her - but I'm sure my stay will be a much more pleasant one than she had.

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