No, this won’t be the shortest blog post ever.
I have roots there, and my grandmother told me stories and sang me revolutionary songs. If she were still here, she would say, “The bones of your ancestors call to you.” I have enough spirituality left that I get that.
I’ve never been there, and, yeah, that’s a shock. You see, granny believed in reunion, unusual for someone with Northern Ireland roots. However, she was born before there was an Irish Republic, before there was a Northern Ireland. She elicited a youthful promise from me that I wouldn’t ever go until Ireland was reunified.
She’s been dead for forty-three years. Do I dare?
Knowing Where You Come From
A year or so after my father died, I decided I needed to know more about the Scottish part of me. I took three weeks off work, spent a week in London, and two weeks driving the Scottish countryside, from Edinburgh to Dundee to Inverness, around Loch Ness (sadly, Nessie eluded me), and back to Edinburgh.
When I stepped off the plane from London to Edinburgh onto the tarmac, the bones of my Scottish ancestors said, “You’re home.” And I felt it.
Outside Inverness at the museum for the Battle of Culloden, I walked the Moor of Culloden, among the cairns erected for the dead, and I saw familiar names. This battle, family legend goes, was the source of the first Duncans to come to Virginia. They wanted to escape retribution from an English king.
My two weeks there were oddly comforting, as if I’d brought a part of my father home. When I boarded the plane to go back to the states, I felt as if I were leaving home.
My Mysterious Other Half
I grew up acknowledging and celebrating my Scottish ancestry but not my Irish. I’m not sure why, other than my grandmother and, hence, my mother never talked about it much. Even the stories my grandmother told me were “fairy tales.” I learned later there were immigration issues involved, and they wanted no attention drawn to themselves.
I don’t even know what piqued my interest in my Irish ancestry. Perhaps it was a woman who remarked I had an Irish face, or a man from Aer Lingus who gave me a potted shamrock because, he said, I need a bit of Ireland in my life.
And so, Ireland has called to me for several years now, and I need to go. What’s stopped me, you ask. Certainly not a forty-three year old promise. (Well, maybe a little; no one wants to get haunted by her angry grandmother.) I think it’s because once I get there, I’ll feel at home.
And I won’t want to leave.
Okay, what’s the place where you’d live but have never been to before? Let me know in the comments.