I had been bugging my dad to take me to Ireland for years. After learning thatmy great great grandfather, John Tobin, had come from Ireland to the U.S. I gained a growing anticipation to learn more about my family history. The library served as my only alternative to experiencing my ancestor’s homeland from the comfort of my own bedroom. I would read about the traditions of the Irish, which they still keep to this day, and about their music style, since I was a huge fan of all kinds of music. Captivated, I made it my goal to convince my dad to take me to Ireland. Finally, after seven years of my nagging, I was able to go to.
On August 9, 2009 my sister and I were on a plane headed overseas for London, to meet up with our dad. From there we traveled on to Ireland’s capital, Dublin. As big of a city as it was, Dublin still had the old Irish touch to it. Everyone seemed to have a happy-go-lucky attitude even as rain poured down on them mercilessly. The atmosphere was joyful and welcoming wherever I went.
The nightlife was even better. My dad and I walked along a popular spot in the city called Temple Bar. Street performers were playing folk and Celtic music, the traditional music styles of Ireland, while others danced to the rhythm. The bars were overcrowded with people, laughing and dancing like they didn’t have a care in the world. To me, it was like being at a family reunion. Everyone was warm and friendly towards us. Complete strangers would talk to me as if they had known me from day one. Temple Bar was the place to be to meet old friends and make new ones. It was like one big party there, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
One thing you should know about Ireland is that you can’t stay in one of its cities for the entire part of your stay. To experience the real Ireland you need to travel around. Aside from Dublin we also visited two other cities, Kinnity and Tullamore. Both of them had something different to offer. Kinnitty is a farming town in the county of Offaly. Here we were able to explore Ireland’s gorgeous hillsides and see some of its wildlife. Tullamore is a town a few miles from Kinnitty. Here they hold a music festival every year on August 16th through the 23rd. During the festival, groups perform on the main street of the town. The music performed is either folk or Celtic and instruments from as early as the 17th century are used during the performance. It showed how sacred and precious music is to the Irish people. You could say it’s one of the main things they pride themselves in.
Unfortunately, my hopes to find out more information about my great great grandfather were crushed. While in the records hall in Dublin, we learned that many of the books had been destroyed in a fire about one-hundred-years ago. Although there were records of John Tobin’s marriage there were no records indicating his birth or where he resided until he left for the U.S, but the secretary thinks his place of residence would probably have been in Kilkenny. It still makes me smile to think that after over a hundred years, me, my sister, and my dad, three of John Tobin’s descendants, came back to the place he once called home and walked on the same soil that he may have walked on all those years ago.
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