From Chris’s Diary …
“You cannot just expect to turn up in a town in Ireland and run into your long lost relatives, that only happens in the movies. Ireland’s small, but it’s not that small! You cannot substitute genealogy research for that much dumb luck.” This is Alex, my German friend speaking. It’s Wednesday and we’re catching up over a lunch in Davy Byrnes.
“Alex, let me explain something to you about a force called “Irish Magnetism”. You cannot throw a sod of turf on this Isle or abroad without knockin’ at least one long lost member of your family in some way, shape or form. When the Irish were created, we were bound together by invisible green thread, that’s why when my friend Gaz was driving through the middle of Australia and stopped for petrol, the girl who served him turned out to be his second cousin from Finglas. It’s physics, biological, whatever, Irish relatives are like racing pigeons, we’re unnaturally drawn back to the place where we came from and those who came from that spot!” I replied, waving my bruschetta in the air and in the process, dropping bits of chopped tomato and garlic into an elderly woman’s grey curled hair beside me. She didn’t notice, so I kept quiet.
“Irish people are coming back to Ireland from all over the world for The Gathering, you can’t just tell them to wander down to their families birth place and expect their long-lost relatives to be waiting there with open arms and yellow ribbons tied around oak tree’s? Surely you agree there has to be planning and research done to make the connection?” He insisted.
“Some planning but, it’s not everything. Right Alex, I’m going to prove to you that Irish people are physically, spiritually and preternaturally bound to each other and no law on this planet or any other can interfere with it. If I go to my Tribes hometown literally called Joyce Country on the Galway/Mayo border and I don’t meet a long lost relative without using the church village records or any Thom’s Directory, I won’t even use technology, then I will do a naked lap of the duck pond in Stephens Green. But if I win, then you have to dress up for the Viking Battle re-enactment on the 9th of June in Clontarf seafront. You won’t be wearing a beard or brandishing a sword like the other vikings , no… I will. You will be my horse for the duration of the re-enactment.” I threw down my napkin and ordered two Middleton’s from the barman.
“You’re crazy.” Alex laughed. “I wouldn’t be the first in my family line to be called that and I won’t be the last…” I confessed, handing him a glass full of amber as I raised mine. “Do we have a deal?” I asked. “We do, good luck, you’re gonna need it! Prost!” He toasted. “I don’t need luck love”, I replied dropping my half of the bill. “I’m Irish, born lucky.”
Read on in part 2: Genealogy Adventure: A Joyce’s Return to the Homeland – Day 1: Into the West
*Photograph by leapleg