When I first met Mary and Michael (on Wednesday afternoon in Limerick), there was no discussion of how long I’d be staying with them. From my point of view, these were distant relatives who had at least a small interest in meeting me. I wasn’t sure how we’d get along, what we would have in common, or how long it would take for me to wear out my welcome. I figured I’d get at least one night with them, snap a few pictures, and in the end, I’d be able to tell my grandmother that I’d met her cousin in Ireland.
From Mary’s point of view (she told me all this Thursday night), the sentiment was similar. She felt that it was worth meeting me, but she was uncertain how she would entertain this American whipper-snapper on her Tipperary farm. Her son, Padraig, had met me only for one hour, so she didn’t have much of a recommendation on my character. Further, I could have ended up being a jerk or, as she put it, “a raging drug-addict”.
As things unfolded Wednesday night with the singalong, we mutually decided that we would do some Birdhill explorations on Thursday, and that me staying the night Thursday night was a good idea. As we sat and had our midnight tea (and my second dinner) Thursday night, Mary requested that I stay one more night and told me she would really miss me when I was gone. While I still had quite a bit of adventuring to do, more of Ireland to see, and a decreasing amount of time to do it, I was touched by her kindness and appreciation of our relationship. I couldn’t possibly say no.
Friday ended up being a day of rest, reading in the back while watching the cows graze, consistent WiFi access, catching up on the Tigers (this bullpen…), and washing my socks (probably should have brought more than two pair). Mary and Michael had a few errands to run after breakfast, and left me alone on the farm for about two hours. Ever concerned about me getting hungry, here is a picture of how Mary left the kitchen table for me while she was out: