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A Visit to Carlow

June 20, 2007

corey says…Liam spent much of his day arranging things with the contractors who are providing bids on the work on his extension. I was busy cleaning up the loft to create a little office space for myself. I’ll have to figure out some sort of desk next.

On to Myshall
Then in the afternoon we picked up Tony and headed to the village of Myshall to visit some friends. It was lashing rain all day, and it really picked up while we were on the road.

When we arrived in Myshall, we were greeted by Liam’s friend Mary Butler. She met us at her door with a broom in hand as if she was sweeping us off the porch…a continuation of a joke she and Liam had between them the last time he visited.

Mary does not run her home as a B&B, but it is the place people go when they need a place to stay in Myshall. That’s how Liam met her. Our friend Russ was doing research on his family history and came upon Myshall’s Father O’Shea. Father O’Shea insisted he come to Myshall straightaway, and he’d arrange it for him to stay with Mary.

Since Liam was already in Ireland at the time, Russ sent Liam on ahead. Shortly thereafter, Liam delivered Russ to Myshall where a distant relative, Christy, took him to the old foundation of Russ’ great grandmother’s cottage.

Although Tony and I had never met Mary, we were immediately welcomed in her home. She put us in the sitting room for tea with scones, jam and cream and buttered crackers with cheese and ketchup. She also treated us with some delicious Irish Coffee. “Now ye won’t find coffee like this anywhere else. See how the cream and coffee separate, ye won’t find that other places. It’s Mary Butler’s special

Russ had just landed in Ireland from holiday in Berlin, and he brought us up to date on his travels and the happenings back home before he left.

Getting to Know Mary
Mary then invited Tony and I into the kitchen where she was preparing an enormous feast. We admired her robin’s egg blue AGA cooker (an old fashioned stove), visited with her dog Peppy and she told us stories about Myshall, the late Father PJ who she was housekeeper for and Liam and Russ’ previous visits.

Mary certainly charmed us, and even posed in front of her AGA…Father PJ had selected the blue color to represent the Virgin Mother…the wood cabinets were for the cross…and in Father PJ’s kitchen there would be a white press (cabinet) with red on the front to represent the Passion of Our Lord.

Shortly thereafter, Christy arrived. A little while later, Father O’Shea came in. He was halfway through a sentence before he entered the room. Within minutes he told Tony and me the history of the clergy in Myshall from at least 1880. The man is definitely a font of local history, and it is no wonder he was able to help Russ track his ancestry.

In fact, he arrived with a new bit of information for Russ…a man in a nearby village had some details that filled in a hole in Russ’ family tree. In fact, when Russ read the notes Father O’Shea gave him, he was almost giddy with delight.

Dinner is Served
Mary then had us sit down for dinner. It all began with soup and brown bread. Then she brought out pork chops with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrot/turnip mash and peas. Then on to a trifle-like dessert and tea. With the tea she had chocolate mint sticks that were a perfect finish for the meal.

It was getting late, so we bid farewell to Mary, Christy and Father O’Shea. Liam mentioned he would stop by the church on the way out…it is a miniature replica of Salzburg Cathedral in London and was built as a memorial to the local land owner’s daughter who died in a hunting accident. Mary was sure to give us directions to the house that had the key to get inside the church.

The rain had finally stopped for the evening, and we drove up to the church and walked around, but decided not to get the key…we knew we’d be back AND we didn’t want to risk getting invited in for another tea. So with that we returned to Tipperary.

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