Connecting with the ancient, Sarah’s kin and a traditional Irish breakfast (again)

On September 5, we left the bustle of Dublin for Ballybay to the North in County Monaghan. After picking up our car at the airport, which we now fondly refer to as “the bending over experience”, Nic braved the steering wheel portion of the car while Sarah navigated the roads and frequently squeaked out “Ditch! Ditch!”, waving her hands wildly about her head as Nic practiced some of the useful words we picked up in the city. Needless to say, we made it not only to Ballybay, but also had a fascinating stopover in Brú na Bóinne to visit a 5000 year old tomb called Newgrange.  That is older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge! Wild.

Upon arrival in Ballybay, we quickly located our charming (it’s not a cliché here) Ardmore Guest House in the main part of town, thoughtfully named The Square. As we waited for the proprietor to return, Nic spied a woman crossing the street looking at us expectantly. This would be Sarah’s second cousin, Therese. She suggested that we just drive the car around the corner to the house where she would be waiting for us and, just as quickly, darted back across the street and disappeared around the corner. After what seemed to be a never ending stream of traffic, we just decided to jump out and run after her. We quickly rounded the corner and located her mother Sally McAviney’s beautiful home where we were immediately brought to the table for a home-cooked meal of chicken, carrots, potatoes and “sauce”. Sarah knew instantly that these had to be her father’s people. While the winds and rains stormed outside, we tucked in with a glass of wine and a family history lesson.

While Nic studied the wines of Australia with Therese’s husband Tom, Sarah sat on the couch with her 87 year old cousin Sally (born Sarah as well) and went through a very old well worn wallpaper book filled with photographs of the old family farm in Toome.

For more photos check out our Flickr page!


7 Responses to Connecting with the ancient, Sarah’s kin and a traditional Irish breakfast (again)

  1. Asimina says:

    So exciting! I wish I was there to meet the fam with you!

  2. Terra says:

    I got all choked up reading the bit about Sarah’s first moments with family — so, so sweet. Thanks for the posts, ladies. (And Sarah, all is well here!).

  3. Kaatje says:

    Sarah, It looks and sounds incredible. What a great place to spend your birthday. Thanks for sharing:) I have showed Mieke the pictures too. She wants to come and visit you right now!

  4. Jonathan says:

    I wish I was a tiny fly along for the ride, but the blog will have to do. Keep the great pictures and stories coming. Oh Happy Birthday Sarah- raise a glass!


  5. Michelle Benjamin says:

    What is that stone structure at the bottom of the page? I couldn’t tell if it was a hobbit’s home or some type of storage.

    • nomadstable says:

      that is exactly what i thought as well and our tour guide looked like he lived in it.
      but it is an old ice house for the adjacent farm! cool huh?
      i have discovered that the locals don’t find it as humorous as i do when they speak of Shires and i cant stop referencing Lord of the Rings.

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