Florida they say.
We are too. Where in Florida? (we had already met people from the Gainesville area and somewhere on the Panhandle.
On the west coast, Irene Ferguson says.
We are too, says I. We live in Venice.
I live in Englewood, she says. (She’s on Manasota Key…knows Cookie LeRoy)
And then there was Stephani from Washington State…second grade teacher whose best friend had spent some time teaching in Bulgaria.
Ask her if she knows Shari Marshall, says I. (Shari is a good friend working at the English speaking school in Bulgaria) Stephani comes back the next day.
Yes, she knows Shari, she loves Shari. Small world.
Anyway on Friday we went over to Shannon Airport to pick up our rental car and head for Glengarriff for the wedding.
Worst part of the trip. Not the wedding. The wedding was absolutely fabulous. But driving in Ireland is absolutely terrifying. I remembered it from forty years ago. Narrow roads, stone walls and ditches, cars and trucks and buses come at you and you swear there isn’t room for both of you on the road (sometimes there ISN’T room for both of you). Talk about white knuckle driving and white knuckle backseat driving (that would be me shrieking at poor Jerry to move over before he takes out someone’s mirror or ends up in a ditch). Joseph, the groom, really did give excellent directions and warned us NOT to follow GPS or Google Maps because they might take us the most direct way but that often involved tiny roads that were dangerous and not well marked. And we followed his directions until we forgot and turned onto a dirt road that was beyond awful.
Glengarriff was gorgeous. The hotel was beautiful and our room had a view of Bantry Bay. The wedding was at a lovely chapel about 40 minutes away, up a mountain overlooking a lake. God bless Marie and Joe…they had made arrangements for Americans to carpool with people who knew the roads. The service was in English and Latin, the wedding vows were in Gaelic, the music was in Gaelic and Latin. There were bagpipes, ushers in kilts, a Bentley for the bride and groom to ride back to the hotel for the reception, about a million Irish relatives and friends, a respectable contingent from America and friends from Scotland, England and Wales.
So Irish weddings are not short affairs. The service was about 90 minutes. Not sure how long formal pictures were but we went to a hotel across from the church for tea and scones while the photographer did his thing. Cocktails were about two hours. Dinner began around 8 (wedding was at 2) and dancing began at 10.
The band was great but Jerry and I don’t have a dancing bone in our bodies. We can sway back and forth to slow music and bounce around to rock music but that’s about it. This band required people,who could actually dance. I did try a reel with Marie…looked like a lost soul but the Irish are enormously kind and physically turned me around when I went the wrong way. Lots of laughs.
We sat at a table with some of Bernadette’s cousins and by the end of the evening had promised them a place to stay if they come to Florida. And they’ve offered us a place just outside of Dublin if we come back this way.
Jerry and I finally left the party around 12:30 and it was still going strong. Marie and Joe, parents of the groom, lasted until 3:15 when things showed signs of breaking up…they had switched from a band to DJ around 1:30, I think. There was a group that went to bed around 6:00. The Irish definitely know how to party.
Today we headed to Kinsale. When I was here years ago, it was one of my favorite places. It’s still beautiful but again, the driving got a bit dicey (we’re getting too old for this) and we didn’t stay long
We took the M8 and M7 to Dublin…a lovely, four lane divided highway…who would have thought I’d be thrilled to see a highway? We’re flying out of Dublin tomorrow morning. What a great trip. What a gorgeous wedding. And yes, we’ll be thrilled to be home.