It was 1863 in Ireland. Thady Conlon was 36 years old. He had seen some hard years in his late teens during the Great Famine. Now he decided to travel south to find work and maybe meet someone to share his life with. He packed his meager belongings and started out. Continue reading
I remember my earliest trips to Ireland to visit my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins. Thoughts of cabbage and mashed potatoes, the creamiest butter and milk, Flake chocolate bars in a soft cone and running wild in the green hills come to mind. Uncle Sean was a fixture on these visits. I will never forget his laugh and his stories. Continue reading
After six flights, three countries, two competitions and one epic memory, we are home.
My three children and I travelled to Glasgow for the World Irish Dance Championships where my two sons were competing. Our first flight to Dublin was delayed which caused us to miss our connecting flight to Glasgow. I sprinted through the airport with three kids in tow, abandoning the luggage carousel, to try and find four new seats to the city that was expecting 20,000 visitors that week for the Worlds. Continue reading
This past weekend we celebrated the 150th birthday of Canada. So many stories were shared by fellow Canadians and it got me thinking about mine.
In the late 60s, my parents, who hadn’t met yet, travelled to Canada from Ireland for work. Both planning to stay one year. My dad was looking for handyman or machinist jobs and my mom had been offered a job as a nurse at Humber Hospital in Toronto. She was given a key to her hospital-owned apartment, outfitted with pots, pans and the all-important kettle.
My parents met at an Irish house party and the rest is history.
My mom was a nurse for 40 years and my dad worked taking care of the lines at Labatt Brewery for 35 years. Although my brother Seamus, my parents and I travelled back to Ireland often to visit our relatives, we were always proud to be Canadian.
I am so thankful my parents settled and became citizens in a place that is one of the safest countries in the world, where you can become what you believe, where education is free, medical treatment is offered to all, any faith can be practiced, and democracy allows us to choose our leaders. May we continue to work on truth and reconciliation with our indigenous peoples and may we remember the beauty and the peace of our home and native land as we celebrate its 150th year. Oh Canada. You had me at hello. #Canada150
My mom grew up in a tiny village in County Mayo, Ireland on a farm with no running water or telephone. They milked the cows, churned the butter, cut the turf from the bog to burn for heat, and fed the chickens who gave them eggs. They didn’t have a lot of money but they had a dictionary and lots of love. My grandma valued education although she didn’t get the chance herself, and she rode her bike six miles to a convent school in another town to register my mom to attend classes there after she graduated from the local school house. My mom’s brothers sent money home while working in England for my mom to go to that school. I am in awe of my grandma for knowing to do this and for making it happen. Continue reading
My three kids and I recently returned from an epic trip to Ireland for the World Irish Dance Championships and we are so very thankful. For the sport that brought us across the ocean, the family that welcomed us, the blessing of health that allowed us to walk thousands of steps on cobblestone paths, grass filled roads and Atlantic cliffs. We’ll never forget those pots of tea, breakfast frys, World stages, and friendly faces. Continue reading
As I prepare for our upcoming trip to Ireland for the World Irish Dance Championships, I can’t help but be inspired by the words of so many Irish writers. They have a way of saying things that make us realize there is a universal heart that beats in all of us. And they remind us of the importance of our dreams. Some of my favourites are…
“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams beneath your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
–William Butler Yeats, “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” Continue reading
This weekend we ran a fundraising gala for the 13 kids from our dance school competing next month in the World Irish Dance Championships in Ireland. Family and friends celebrated, watched the kids perform, and danced the night away.
It made me wonder what the kids were thinking about their upcoming journey. Taking the stage with other dancers from around the world in front of nine international judges. The end result of all those nights of practicing, learning steps, stretching, doing drills, and dreaming. Continue reading