Monday, May 30, 2011

Ireland #3: Me Mudder, Da Tour Guide

"I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I remember these little things from over 40 years ago..." - Me Mudder

She is a wealth of local knowledge and history. She'll show you flowers and grottos and creeks and beautiful views no tour guide, book, or map could ever provide. She drives fast and fearlessly down tiny, winding, country roads, making guesses as to turns and directions, and always ends up in the right place.

We pass a monument and gravestone for a famous greyhound named Master McGrath. Yes, for real. I never would have noticed the small landmark had she not pointed it out. She remembers that her father used to stop the car and make the whole family get out to pay their respects to the famous dead dog.

She knows every beautiful little beach on the southern coast of County Waterford and County Tipperary. She knows exactly which turnoffs are worth stopping at, which will provide the best pictures.

It rains nearly every day in Ireland. Today it was pouring as she drove us down the curving roads of the coast. She eyes the blue sky in front of us, past the rain and black clouds. "That's where we're headed; it'll be sunny there," she proclaims. And sure enough, as we pull up to our destination, the sun breaks out and the rain lets up. And we see the most beautiful double rainbow I've ever witnessed.

"Never let the weather keep you from your plans - the rain always stops eventually."

She knows the exact mountain to visit to see the rhodedendrums that are only out for a few weeks of the year. We drive up The Vee (mountain area not far from Fethard) and are suddenly surrounded by the blossoming pink flowers. They're everywhere, above and below and on either side of us.

She tells stories that sound like urban legends; one about a man who was buried standing up on top of a mountain so he'd always enjoy the view. Another about a bottomless lake nestled between two hills. The thing is, these are not just stories. Everybody in Fethard swears that they're true. These stories are passed through the local residents - no tour or book tells you this stuff.

I know I could come to Ireland any time and my family there is constantly telling me to bring friends to visit, but honestly, I'd really miss having my mother as a tour guide. Without the stories, it just wouldn't be the same. They add so much history, interest, and hilarity to the whole experience of being here.

So, in conclusion, if you ever travel to Ireland, you should probably hire my mother to guide you. I promise, it's worth it.


Susan the Slimmy Slug said...

Reem this is so lovely - Anne is just the same with her stories, although they sometimes last a bit longer...keep these stories coming!

SophisticatedBrew said...

Your mom is amazing. These pictures are really beautiful too.