Hello hello everyone! Since it’s now been just about a week since my parents have been here, I thought I would share some of our stories from their super fun and inevitably hilarious quality time over here. Connie and Al visited both my sisters when they were living in Dublin so have toured around Dublin City, Howth, Kerry, and the Dingle Peninsula, but had never been down to Cork (ahem, the best part of the country). With their trip lasting just five days, I knew I wanted to pack in a bunch of tourist-y destinations along with some great restaurants (in true Ganser fashion). We went to the Blarney Castle where Con and I kissed the Blarney Stone (*gift of gab pending*), walked down the Wishing Steps, traveled to the beautiful seaside town of Cobh to do the “Titanic Experience” and take some amazing photos, and of course went to some great restaurants.
Our best day was the excursion that was going to Mizen Head in West Cork. The most “southwesterly” point of Ireland, this coastal signal station seemed absolutely beautiful so I knew we should check it off the bucket list. Once we looked at the map we realized that our route to Mizen Head crossed right through the village of Dunmanway, where my mom knew her great-great grandparents once lived. With our entire Sunday available to explore, we figured we could stop for a bit in Dunmanway and potentially find the church with old baptism/marriage records that Connie’s relatives had emailed her about. After naturally leaving Cork two hours after we had planned plus navigating on the other side of the road on maybe the narrowest road in Ireland, we arrived outside of a church in Dunmanway. Mass was just about to start so there was a bit of a crowd around the parking lot that connected to a cemetery outside of the church. We meandered around the graves, with almost every other headstone having my mom’s maiden name of Crowley on it. Realizing we must have looked like American fish out of water especially with my Holy Cross baseball hat on, an older man named John approached us and said, “let me guess, you’re looking for your Irish ancestors” (lol). We chatted with him for awhile about how after mass he could see if the church records could be unlocked, his time as a professor in the States, and how he knew of where the Crowleys used to live in a “castle” and go to school. Even though I was skeptical and really wanted to get to Mizen Head before the sunset, my parents were eating up the “craic” and agreed to wait until after mass to get this tour of Dunmanway.
John later introduced us to the priest who informed us that the much-awaited church records – which I think my parents and I were thinking would be a scene from National Treasure – could actually be accessed online, through a simple email to the church secretary. Still hoping for a historical adventure, naturally John offered to hop in our car with us to show us some 1800s-esque Crowley stomping grounds. The tour eventually turned into a ride through the countryside with stops at a farm, another church (shocker), a BnB (the castle), and a school with a sign “originated in 1939” (not quite the time period we were looking for). Long story short, John was not as sure as he originally thought he was about where the Crowleys lived all those years back.
Regardless, the first half of our day was full of beautiful rolling hills and obviously tons of (sometimes nervous) laughs. In the end we made it to Mizen Head with a half hour left of sunshine which made for an unbelievable sunset on the coast. Out of all of our adventures, this hilarious trip around West Cork was definitely my favorite. A huge thank you to my parents for coming over (especially for vacuuming my apartment Conbon) — miss you both so much already!