Le Petit Hotel & the Irish connection Monday, Sep 27 2010 

 

The green fields of Ireland

 

The Irish sun shone today Friday…& after a phone call to Portrush…Inspector Whitfield (retired) had enough clues to set the gps to Cullybackey…and go looking….

The “luck of the Irish” must have been with me ….and after a stopping off at a few country houses…the trail was getting decidedly hotter….some people sort of knew of the Sands family – ( my g. grandmother’s  family). Some had never heard of them..but the ‘net was tightening as I drove down a narrow country lane towards some houses…knocked on a door…and after a cup of tea with the nice lady…I found myself looking out through her kitchen window at a neighbouring farm house….part of which probably was more than 200 years old. ..the most likely place where my grandmother aged about 2 yrs together with her parents and some close friends would have packed their few belongings and headed off to catch a boat ( The clipper Waikato) to New Zealand….for a totally new beginning…thousands of miles away, and so it would have been..
I  thought of how far we all have come in a relatively short space of 100 +  years and the life we enjoy as I stepped inside the remaining original thick stone walls…looked at the huge stone hearth tiles..& the old fireplace with swinging wrought iron frame still with some kettle & pot hooks…one can only begin to imagine just how tough life was especially for the women folk of this era. Like so many other Northern Ireland emigrees,  the Sands family would have packed up & left with precious little apart from their clothes & a few personal possessions that they could manage between them all.

I  will return home to NZ and Le Petit Hotel ….with a somewhat better appreciation of just what my ancestors’ lives were like in Ireland……..tough…unbelieveably tough, and not to mention the Irish weather.

Paris to Belfast, N. Ireland, via easyjet Thursday, Sep 23 2010 

Just tried the Irish trick of sending mail without the dotcom!
Clearly this le petit hotel manager is suffering from his holiday….
Strict security at the CDG departure point ….full body search for everyone…shoes xrayed…belt off..etc…etc :-))
But a good clear flight across France until we met the approaching rain over the Irish sea.
Flying in over the Irish countryside, the place is green….real emerald green as they say….mostly white houses with dark grey roofs..
Another Peugeot, a Budget 107 was waiting for bruce…& back to RHD  for the Irish roads…no challenge for the gps again…
After a little drama locating the owner of the Marlagh b&B (who was at a choir practice in Belfast! )….a small matter of Irish time being different to Easyjet Paris time….I eventually tumbled into bed about midnight (Irish time ;-))
Anyway…I. can report that Irish wifi works even if it means I have to sit outside the bedroom on the 2nd floor landing.