Day 3: All’s well that ends well
Missed how all this started? Read part 1 Genealogy Adventure: A Joyce’s Return to the Homeland – The Bet, part 2 Genealogy Adventure: A Joyce’s Return to the Homeland – Day 1: Into the West and part 3 Genealogy Adventure: A Joyce’s Return to the Homeland – Day 2: The Delphi Experience.
Over a long breakfast, Stephen rallies my spirits with a “St. Crispins Day” speech. He knows I was downhearted from our lack of findings the last few days, so he suggests driving north towards Clare Island to further the scope of our search. The drive takes us past Croke Patrick, through Louisburgh and down the west coast to Crossinsky Strand, known by the local surfers as Cross Beach. I know his game; he’s been dying to get me back into a wetsuit since kayaking yesterday. I oblige him. The water is cold and we rent two boards off a cheery surfer dude with a truck full of surfing gear. He tells us where the safest place is to surf, Stephen listens, I disregard this and head for the big waves. The first wave hits me and I feel like my ear canal has been surgically removed. Stephen’s a natural. Webbed feet, that one. I paddle further out to sea and lie on my board wondering if I could reach Inishturk Island on the surf board. The lifeguard motions for us to come in. I don’t tell Stephen about the twenty quid I gave the lifeguard an hour earlier and our secret hand signals. “It’s a shame, I was just getting into it…” Stephen says, disappointed. “ Yeah, me too!” I say winking at the lifeguard. Our hands are purple at this stage but a hot cup of tea soon puts us right again.
We drive for an hour looping back towards the R335 hoping to get a glimpse of the Aillemore megalithic tomb. We get to the site expecting to find a Newgrange-like type of structure built by my ancestors through sheer might and will and I’m craning my neck over a pile of stone to get a better look, when Stephen points and draws my gaze downwards.
The pile of rocks IS the Megalithic tomb. I feel like the kid who got fruit for Christmas.
After a bath, I spend an hour running around Delphi asking anyone I met if they knew any local Joyce’s. A Latvian Mountaineer asked me if that was a fish. It might as well be, I replied. A big wet one.
Stephen is at the bar and Corina has told him about a great trad session from six to nine in a pub down the road called The Carraig Bar in Leenane. He’s mad for some Irish tunes and I agree to go. I can pen a tune about how Irelands long lost daughter comes home to find all her relatives have split and left her on her todd. I could call it: “Forget me not, you absent lot.” Can you hear the Ilin pipes?
The sun is setting in Killary Harbour and The Carraig pubs ample windows are flooded with a sepia glow. The scene warms my heart instantly. The trad band, consisting of a squeeze box, tin whistle and a bodhran, is in full swing and two local women get up to set dance. The bar is packed and as the locals finish their work for the day, they trickle in. I order drinks for us and chat with a local called Tony. Stephen finds a pair stools right beside the bar facing the band where two tourist have left and we claim them. I’m starting to relax and a French lady asks Stephen to take a picture of her and her husband either side of what I presume to be a local man of about ninety years old with a Paddy cap and a mischievous grin. He’s propping up the bar where it meets the wall and it looks like, from where I’m sitting, the pub was built around him. The French couple speak perfect English and ask him what his name is. He doesn’t understand being Gaeltor and having leaving cert Irish, I interject, “Cad is ainm duit?” He winks and replies “Paddy Joyce”. Paddy Joyce. Paddy Joyce. God bless you Paddy Joyce. “ PADDY JOYCE! Is mise Chris Joyce! Chris Seoige! Mo clan amach Gaillimh anseo! Ta tu Joyce agus is mise Joyce, mo dheathair d’aois!” I cried kissing him and jumping up and down. Stephen and French couple think I have just contracted Tourettes Syndrome along with my happy new friend. I try to explain to Paddy Joyce through my now exhausted stock of standard issue Irish, that I had a bet with a friend in Dublin I wouldn’t find another Joyce relative from my clan here. He says his Joyce stock goes right back to the clan of old Joyce Country. He says he’s always been here and he always will be. Then he says something I don’t understand. “ Aithníonn ciaróg, ciaróg eile.” I get him to write it down and tell him I’ll google it when I get back to Dublin. Stephen takes a photo of us together and after an hour we head back to the hotel for a triumphant dinner. I have the duck in a tip o’ the hat to my bet with Alex and afterward, ring him in Dublin and inform him he must forfeit his dignity and be my steed for the battle re-enactment on the 9th of June in Clontarf. I have Stephen confirm this fact and ask Alex to google what Paddy Joyce said in the bar. He struggles through the Fadas and eventually finds the meaning.
“One cockroach recognizes another cockroach.” He reads aloud. Irish Magnetism. Even cockroaches understand it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Alex.