Travel around this island nation reveals many beautiful sights and historic features, from 5000-year-old tombs to modern signs of the struggle for independence. An even more wonderful experience, though, is to meet the Irish people.
The real treasure of Ireland is its people.
In our rambles around Drogheda we stumbled across the local Labour Party headquarters. In the window was a wonderful, humorous poster of Michael D Higgins, the current president of Ireland, who is running for a second term. We heard a moving speech by Michael D while attending the celebration of the Easter Rising two and a half years ago. We became supporters of Michael D that day.
Labor Party poster: “Re-elect Michael D as an Uachtaran [President of Ireland]”
Note: Ireland separates the roles of head of government (an Taoiseach), deputy head of government (an Tanaiste) and head of state (an Uachtaran).
As we debated going inside to see if we could buy a poster the door was thrown open by a worker welcoming us. He had seen us clustered around the window and offered us a poster. Wow! Score! After an interesting conversation with him the next step was how do we get the poster home unscathed. So, we set off to buy supplies to mail it home. The best part of an hour or two was spent procuring 2 small tubes we could tape together, parcel paper and tape.
Next we decided to head to the TI (Tourist Information) to find a counter to work on. The two women sitting at desks in the TI, Caroline and Carolan, graciously offered to clear one of their desk tops for us to work on and supplied scissors for the job. As we worked in fashioning a mailing tube our conversation ranged over the local, rich history, current politics, the Irish language and, of course, the weather.
Even with the poster safely packed we continued our conversation. When our two new friends heard that we both claim Irish heritage they insisted we buy some Halloween brac saying it was “in our blood.“ So we headed to the Tesco across the street and bought some Halloween brac. Brac is a raisin bread and a seasonal Samhain treat.
The next morning at breakfast we cut into the brac. Delicious. On my second piece I discovered a small wax paper wrapped package. It contained a golden ring. The prize!
The ring is now a treasured possession reminding me of my Irish roots and the warm-hearted, fun-loving people it has been a privileged to meet and talk with.
Slainte! Slan go foill!