I've been fortunate enough to have visited Ireland multiple times since our marriage. It's a beautiful place, which I wish I could have enjoyed more. Unfortunately, my fist visit coincided with the early stages of my pregnancy, (I turned all 40 shades of green!), and during my last visit I was blessed with a horrible dose of flu and slept through Christmas Day. I'm sure my in-laws were wondering what was wrong with me, until my poor father-in-law caught a horrible dose on his last visit to California and was sick for most of his trip. Some luck of the Irish!
Anyway, my ancestry is Irish as well, although I'm fifth generation American on the Irish side, (and 15th on my English side), so I'm about as American as apple pie. Whenever I'm in Ireland people always ask where I'm from, expecting me to say which county in Ireland, so when I answer Stockton, California they don't quite know what to say. It seems that most Americans have some Irish ancestral story of some kind or another and that's what they're expecting from me.
The one funny story about that is that when my husband had his visa approved and received his green card his mother pleaded with him to stay in Ireland, "Why can't you just marry a nice girl from Mayo?" she said to him. Well, you guessed it, my ancestral county just happens to be Mayo!
I'm glad to say that quilting is becoming very popular in Ireland now. When I first visited in 1997 I brought a ton of fat quarters for some quilting friends. At that time there were no quilting stores in the country and all of the fabric stores had mostly wool and cotton fabrics that weren't appropriate for quilting. What they did have was low quality and very dated. If you wanted to go fabric shopping you had to go to the England or the US.
Now I understand that there are several good shops and the Irish quilting scene is coming on strong. A new magazine called "Irish Quilting" is available even here in the states and although the styles seem a bit dated to me, the fact that the art form has become popular is a sign of great things to come. I look forward to doing some fabric shopping on my next visit.
In the meantime, in honor of St. Patrick's Day I hope you enjoy these photos of my husband's childhood home, and have a very Happy St. Patrick's Day.
"Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig daoibh go léir! "
(" The Blessings of St. Patrick's Day to you all! ")