- Stay for a week in a thatched-roof cottage near Waterford, where Vikings set foot
- Watch Irish Sea fishers catch seafood to replenish what you’re eating for lunch
- Imagine impish fairies hiding outside your door, coating the postcards you’re sending home with magical whimsy
- Breathe in the smell of wild flowers, the bog, and pervasive, mystifying mist
It Has A Book . . .
- Take a copy of your family memoir, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, to the Mayor of Kells. Have faith that “A book always finds its own readers”
- Look at stone ruins, graves and gates adorned with Celtic art, and the refuge to which monks fled from a bloody Viking raid to pen what’s now known as The Book of Kells
- Deposit a copy of your book for reference at Trinity College Library, Dublin, resting place of the original manuscript
- Hope that, along with an explanatory letter, your book will be cataloged as a legitimate addition to the long and quaint path of Kells memorabilia
- Search out Ireland’s soul. Pick up a rental car at Dublin Airport early Saturday and count on luck to survive driving on the left side into the city.
- Stop at a central café to ‘people watch’; read the daily paper to get a handle on the pulse of the times and the place
- After walking around and sightseeing, have a beer at the James Joyce pub. Try to grasp what he was up to with writing Ulysses, The Dubliners and Finnegan’s Wake
- Attend a music-only sung service at Christ Church on Sunday. This Celtic church was erected in the 11th century; the choir dates back 400 years.
- Spend a day motoring out to the Ring of Kerry on the south coast to see magnificent scenery.
- Indulge your Irish genes by telling local people your great-grandparents were poor tenant farmers in Armagh County who emigrated to America in 1850 to find a better existence
- Go to a concert of Irish dancing in the spirit of your grandmother who expected everybody to ‘step around’ fast to do the work of the farm
- Be careful whom you tell your grandparents’ name was Campbell; old clan warfare hatreds still run deep
- Spend what you can on souvenirs, such as linen and lace, and take all the pictures you can to keep your visit alive and help the Irish economy
This blog complicates the mystery of why anyone would write a family memoir entitled A Book of Kells, Growing Up in an Ego Void. (Our surname was Kell and I was a preacher’s kid. There’s some doubt over whether our family originated in a community of ninth century monks).
Margaret Kell Virany, lang & lit lover, Norrie Frye note-taker, journalist, editor, author