There’s one thing you can say about Adairville. You don’t have too much time to get bored with the weather because you can have spring weather one day and winter weather the next. On Wednesday, the 12th, I came into town and practically the whole wall of brick had fallen off the side of the Feed Mill wall. Speculation was that the wind had caused it, but it was one strange sight.
Signs of spring are beginning to show. I’ve seen Danny Finch and Jimmy Laurent working on the downtown park square. I’m beginning to notice buds showing up on trees. My favorite time of the year. It reminds me of a new beginning, a new awakening. I pray that this will be both for Adairville.
Sorrow seems to continue to plague our citizens. Our prayers go out this week to Cody Yell’s family. We express our love and sorrow to this family. I saw him just a couple of weeks ago at the BP. He was always such a friendly and polite young man. We chatted that morning while pumping gas and he told me how much he liked his new job in Franklin and how he was trying to learn all the different jobs so he would be more valuable to the company. I remember thinking how refreshing to hear a young person having that vision. Penny, you did good raising that boy. We also ask prayers for the family of Joann Smith. She has been sick for some time and she will be missed. I will miss seeing her sitting on that front porch. Too many of our young and old have left us wondering why. That answer is one that we will have one day and until then, we must trust in the Lord holding us in His arms until we have our answer. Mrs. Long, mother of Tina Joyce, also passed away and Conner Edwards, the young man also in the wreck. Continue to keep all these in your prayers.
There is a sale sign out at The Country Angel. We have such a jewel in this shop. I can’t imagine ever going out of town to get a wedding, baby or any other gift. Nancy has such good taste and always has some beautiful things and her prices are competitive with any shop around. I urge you to Shop Local. Remember these merchants are the ones that support our town, our school and our churches.
REMINDER: CLEAN UP YOUR PROPERTIES
Hope everyone had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day on Monday. Sarah Shoulders has been to Ireland, so I asked her to share her journey with us this week. “So, top of the morning to ya”
Dream….. Dream, Dream, Dream….and so I did. All my life I have wanted to see Ireland. The home of my ancestors, the land of leprechauns and amazing thatched roofs. It was a dream that came into reality the spring of 2008. My cousin, Walt, his wife Pam, Grady, his mom Gena, Whitney, my daughter, my Dad, James Whit and myself assembled in Atlanta for the overnight flight to Dublin Ireland.
The drive into Dublin passes by a bronze memorial to the famine the country endured from 1845-49. A stalk reminder of just one of the hardships these proud people endured. Dublin is a “new” looking city in many ways with the number of major company’s lured there with incentives to help the economy. This has in turn, brought an influx of young people from many other countries seeking work. It was not unusual to have wait-staff while dining have an accent from Slovakia or Ukraine. Our trip took us south on a clockwise route heading west into County Kildare.
Our first stop out of Dublin was the Irish National Stud Farm in Tully, County Kildare. Being from Kentucky the stud fees for the horses were, of course, not surprising. They were magnificent animals that were cared for by a staff of practically one-to-one. On the grounds adjacent to the farm was the Japanese Garden. Construction started in 1906-1910 on the garden. It now has reached a full blown lush garden with the Bridge of Life and the Tea Room as its focal point. It was a cool crisp morning walking the grounds and gardens which made for a perfect introduction to the country side of Ireland.
Stopping next in Kilkenny, we saw our first big castle. It is 8 centuries old and had been in the same family for 600 years. The city is now caretaker of the castle and it is open for tours. Walking the courtyard gives you a sense of how intimidating this building could be and what it represented for the commoners.
It was a nippy, windy day which is typical weather for March. We are walking the winding streets and I hear someone shouting “Sarah!” I didn’t flatter myself thinking someone was meaning me. We toured a museum showing the influence of sheep and wool to the local residents. As we were crossing the street to board our bus, up walks a former co-worker from TN that said she had seen me earlier and called my name.(Hmm, guess I wasn’t nuts after all!). Amber was just winding up an 8-day car trip traveling the opposite direction we were traveling. Small world!
On to Waterford………After hearing of Waterford Crystal all my life, it was breathtaking to see how it is made. Some of the examples of what was made of glass took us by surprise. The crystal grandfather clock, which was full size, was one of them. The small amphitheater gave a movie presentation of their history leaving you with a profound appreciation for the art form that it truly is. After much oohing and ahhing, my pocketbook allowed me the purchase of a Christmas ornament.
Just up the road from the town of Waterford was my second kiss of the trip. Over the years, in our traveling, I have managed to find something or someone to have my picture with while kissing them. In Kilkenny at the castle there were men’s faces protruding from the building, so it got a kiss. Now, my moment had arrived! The Blarney Castle! Now, anyone who knows me knows that I really didn’t need to waste my time with this, but since we were already there………They don’t make it easy on you, though. You must walk to the 4th story of the tower, lay on your back, and slide off a pillar of stone until you are doing a back bend, with people holding your legs to keep you stable and then and ONLY then you are given permission to kiss the Blarney Stone. The castle, located in County Cork, was built in 1210. The surrounding grounds have extensive gardens to walk through and enjoy at your leisure. This was one of the places we found sweaters galore from which to choose. By now it was time to do a little retail therapy after all this history.
Next was the Ring of Kerry drive! Ocean, river, mountain and rolling hills all in a 110 mile drive. This is one of the most famous, scenic drives in the world. At one particular stop for a photo op, very few people got off the bus due to the tremendous winds that were funneling through the pass. It was truly like being on a wind ride where the air supports you. If you did not lean extremely forward it blew you over. This was a very strange feeling indeed. The Ring of Kerry peninsula is just what you expect to see in Ireland. The stone fences on lush, rolling, blue-green grass, the sheep in the round-a-bout(who always have the right of way!) the cliffs and the shear harshness of the landscape. This is where the movie Moby Dick was filmed. That same afternoon we drove up to Muckross House.
We were suppose to ride in a horse-drawn carriage from town out to Muckross, but the ever present rain decided to put in another appearance in a big way, so it was by bus that we approached the estate. On both sides of the highway for miles before you approached the house, were wild rhododendrons. When Anna, our guide, told us they had to kill them out occasionally just to control them, I thought of all the effort back here in trying to cultivate one to thrive. Seems the climate is perfect for them and they more than thrive. They spoke of them like the kudzu of Ireland. Built in 1843, it is a 65 room Victorian home with the gardens being declared one of the “Greatest Gardens of the World”. The gardens at Muckross House had made good use of the native plants. It had beautiful views from anywhere outside the home. This home carries you back to the 1930’s-1940 in a grand manner. It also has 3 traditional working farms on the premises. It actually could be a comfortable home to live in, if I didn’t have to clean it or heat it!
The next highlight for me was driving into Adare. This hamlet has the largest concentration of thatched roofs in Ireland. This is what I came to see and I was not disappointed. To me, this was Ireland. House after house nestled together with the perfectly groomed thatched roofs. Surprisingly, the men who care and repair them live in Australia. Think about that house call if your roof is leaking. They come back every so many years and service them. Sadly, they will soon be a thing of the past due to the expense involved.
After leaving, Adare we crossed the River Shannon on our way to Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this is where we learned the meaning of a warm welcome. The entrance to the castle had a hole in the roof which was pointed out to us as we stood below. Later, up on the 3rd floor we were shown the board that slid back and hot oil was poured over unwelcomed visitors below. I guess the meaning of “warm welcome” has changed over the years. The name means bottom or end of the river, which is where the castle sits. Dark and haunting, this was one of the more dreary interiors we visited.
Music, Celtic dancing and food were the highlight of our night in Galway. One of the top Bodhran players entertained us with award-winning drumming as three teenage girls danced traditional Celtic dance for us. It seemed they floated off the floor. It was a very enjoyable evening with all the Guinness you could soak up with lively happy music. The heavily embroidered jumpers the girls wore were of special interest to me since I love handwork of any kind. There were hours and hours of work in the jumpers. Just like the years of practice by the drummer. It all made for great night enjoyed by our entire group.
On Easter Sunday we drove down a single lane road to a family weaver business outside of Donegal. They worked the looms for us to see how their family had produced these fabrics and materials for generations. Yes, I made a few purchases here also. The sweaters, the yarn and the workmanship were unsurpassed. It was educational and entertaining. Donegal is also the home of William Butler Yeats, one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets.
We then passed over the border into Northern Ireland to visit the Belleek Pottery factory. Belleek Pottery is known throughout the world for it one of a kind appearance. It is located in County Fermanagh. Since 1857 this pottery has been made from the ashy-clay found in the area. It produces a creamy white pottery that is painted with tiny shamrocks as accent. This was my souvenir coffee mug that I always buy on our trips, which I promptly broke after I returned home! I just keep it turned with the big, gaping hole to the back and no one notices!
Leaving North Ireland we returned to Dublin with a stop at the church and cemetery where Yeats is buried. The height of the crosses in the cemetery made you feel as if you walking in a forest of monuments. Upon returning to Dublin we met up with my pen-pal of 28 years from the UK. Chris and Tony Eagles met us for the remaining 2 days we spent in Dublin. We walked the streets of Dublin, loving all the flower vendors on the many corners. Window shopped at antique stores, bought a pipe from Peterson’s of Dublin and strolled the grounds at Trinity University. We ate pub food which was slightly different than I had expected. The choices were piled one on top of another, not side by side. This made for a rather “different” looking entrée’, to say the least. We also learned that potatoes could be served three different ways in one meal!
We left Ireland knowing that we had experienced something special. Especially for my dad, it was the last trip we took together. He absolutely loved Ireland and the gigantic green leprechaun hat he bought and wore to church the very next Sunday. As for the home of my ancestors, I found out they are from England, not Ireland. Story of my life………