I know, I know. I just posted a story yesterday but please bear with me, for today is a memorable day and I don’t want it to pass without notice.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Two years ago today Jake and I left Ireland, the end of our wonderful ‘visit’ of 18 months.
We loved life there in the little town of Ballygar, in Co.Galway, working with the Christian charity, Operation Mobilization.
I felt at home there.
I felt The Irish Welcome.
On our last walk, Jake and I were on a country lane, going up to the highest point in that area (a small hill actually) and we met a young woman walking her dog.
I love the chattiness of the Irish people. Their ever-friendliness.
Then our way back down, we saw her and her dog again and this time she invited us in for tea.
We had to decline, telling her we were leaving Ireland that day.
“Oh, I am sorry!” she called to us. “I hate goodbyes!”
Not as much as I do, I thought.
But how sweet was that?
A stranger commiserating with me.
This morning I happened to read about the expression, ‘An Irish Goodbye.’
It means leaving an event without telling anyone, leaving without saying farewells.
I read that perhaps the saying comes from an Irish-American habit of slipping out the side door at church to avoid chatting to people.
Or, as more commonly thought, it is referring to when a person is too tipsy to say goodbye.
We did not have an Irish Goodbye like that.
Our last days were busy with various loving farewells:
A prayer circle at OM, and a card full of appreciation and affirmation.
A last breakfast with friends at the Coffee Drop.
Lunch with a kind priest who predicted we would return.
Neighbors coming by with cards and gifts.
And an unforgettable evening in the pub, with Ballygar friends, sandwiches, and beautiful Irish songs. Oh, I loved that!
I felt the Irish Welcome to the very end.
I miss it.
But, oh, my goodness, I am so grateful for our time there.
What a wonderful experience it was and I hope some of that welcoming Irishness rubbed off on me.
I just wanted to thank God for Ireland and her people.