Sheep herding in middle of winding road in Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day Contest Entry: Childhood Memories

In Win A Trip to Ireland by Leslie O'MalleyLeave a Comment

Ireland is the place of all the stories of my childhood. It is an intriguing place steeped in history, magic, tradition, and of a deep-feeling, hardy people. My parents were among thousands who left Ireland in the 50’s in search of work and a better life. They met, married and settled in London UK and that’s how I came to be. It is almost cliche to say they were musical and literary but they were, indeed, story tellers. It was always a good time for a song, a poem or a good tale. I knew the pixies lived in my garden and the little people would catch me if I went past the gate. There were kings and queens in my heritage “at home” and I wasn’t to let them down. I had a pagan/ Catholic understanding of right and wrong and if anyone put a curse on me I could get the priest to take it off if I put money in the plate every Sunday. My tongue was regularly checked for black spots which got there from lying, I should be happy to have shoes, and my mother had a small but effective medicine chest… Guinness for looking tired and peaky and whiskey for a cold- even for 5 year olds. It’s a miracle I don’t have a drinking problem! Every St. Patricks Day we got fresh Shamrock sent from Ireland which was pinned to our school uniforms. I was always proud that day as the Italian kids didn’t have any.

I was taken back to Ireland for the first time when I was seven. We went on a big boat and my sisters and I vomited the whole way. But when we got there I thought I’d gone to heaven. It didn’t matter that they had no running water and I had to sleep with 5 of my cousins in a bed. I’d never been on a farm before and I got to pluck chickens and make butter with my aunty. Every night we’d all get together and there would be music and jiggin’. I miss their strong emotional way. It’s true that it’s always raining. The color of the countryside is spectacular. I have not been able to travel around Ireland too much. I would like to see sites such as the Giant’s Causeway and go to the Aran Islands and to return to the Cliffs of Moher. Stories of pirates and smugglers and the spirit world fill my mind. I would love to have a trip to Ireland where I could just explore. There are so many in the clan to visit that there’s not been time for sightseeing. I did see an Irish traffic jam like the one in the photo though. I’d love to have a chance to wander the Isle of EIRE (or tear around the windy roads in a Mini Cooper!) and gather pieces for an Irish story of my own.


Did you grow up in an Irish family, and are motivated to visit part of your family’s roots? All of our Ireland trips are able to be customized to specific cities, towns or villages that you wish to visit. We also provide extra suggested sightseeing, as well as a rental car if needed, and tips for driving in Ireland.

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