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My grandmother had died in January. She and my grandfather left each of us grandchildren some money. However, my three siblings and I disagreed about what to do with our inheritance. I thought we should save our money because I knew how hard my grandparents had worked to earn it. The rest of my siblings thought we should spend the money for a trip to Ireland to see where my grandmother’s father grew up before he came to America just before World War I. I finally consented to at least pay for my airplane ticket.
My family and I left for Ireland on August 4, 2007. The flight to Shannon, Ireland, took eight hours, but I liked some of the in-flight movies. I was very excited as we flew over the ocean and then started to see land. When I saw Ireland for the first time, it was very different than any landscape I had seen in America. Everything was greener and the horizon looked much flatter.
When we went outside the airport to get our rental car, I realized that most of the cars were different from those in the U.S. They were all smaller, and I did not see any true SUV’s. Our rental car was very small. After putting all of the luggage into the car, I sat down in the very back surrounded by suitcases. The luggage was stacked up so high around me that if one of the bags had slid in a sharp turn, it would have hit my head very hard. We were crammed into that car like clowns in a clown car. My father decided we had to have a bigger vehicle, and we moved to a mini-van which was much better.
We began the trip by going to the Cliffs of Moher in the western part of the country. I was amazed at the sight of the immediate drop 650 feet down to the Atlantic Ocean. It was very windy and I could smell the fresh air of the ocean as I looked out at the deep blue sea. We then drove to the village of Cong where one of my favorite movies was filmed, “The Quiet Man.” I understood after seeing the beauty of the place why the director chose Cong as the setting.
After our visit to Cong, we made our way north and east through the Irish countryside to County Fermanagh in the center of Northern Ireland and to the small town of Tempo. Tempo was where my grandmother’s father grew up. My great-grandfather’s name was James Murphy. We had been told by my aunt where the old Murphy farm was and had contacted the McElroy family that lives there now. The McElroys invited us to visit the old farm and were incredibly friendly and welcoming. They told us stories of our Murphy relatives. They even showed us our great-great-grandfather’s will and a note from July 9, 1914, with James Murphy’s signature acknowledging the inheritance he received after his parents died. It was really exciting seeing the house where my great-grandfather had grown up and walking around the old farm.
During my trip to Ireland, I fell in love with the countryside, people, and culture. The land was so beautiful and green. The people were extremely friendly and kind. I got to see where my relatives had come from, and I knew deep inside that this was where I had come from. This was the land of my forefather. I ended up using all of my small inheritance on the trip, and it was worth every penny.