Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Well, since it's St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd share a little bit of my family's history with you. Back in 1863, my great-great grandfather, Paddy O'Malley, was a farmer in Ireland. He had emerald green eyes (that's where the majority of mom's side of the family, including me, get it from) and curly, fire-red hair that couldn't be tamed for anything. That, and the fact they didn't have Paul Mitchell's Frizz Tamer back then. His skin was as pale as the moon, but he always had a glow in his cheeks. He was pretty poor, but had high hopes for his family...a wife and daughter (my great-grandmother). He gathered up everything they had: £7 in his pocket, a sack of potatoes and a handful of clovers to carry a bit of Ireland with him, and they sailed towards a brighter future in America. When he arrived, they moved straight to Chicago and his wife, Siobhan, worked as a seamstress, while he worked as a farmer in the lands owned by rich, Chicago businessmen. Since clovers weren't native to America back then, Paddy began growing the ones he brought from Ireland in his garden and they eventually spread so fast, he started passing the roots around because neighborhood children loved the whimsical leaves. Clovers are an invasive species and they soon covered the entire Midwest. So, you can thank my family for the weeds in your yard. Paddy had a unique way of farming that made everything grow faster and sweeter. He developed his technique and soon opened up his own company specializing in freshly grown products, called O'Malley's Mercantile. When my great-grandmother got married, Paddy passed the company down to her husband, Leamon...he proceeded to expand the company across the nation and renamed it. Leamon passed the company down to his kids (including my grandmother, Daphne) and they now own and operate what you know as Whole Foods.

David and I went on vacation in the British Isles (Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and the Netherlands) almost two years ago and I thought I'd share some of the pictures from when we stopped by Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Here's some of the architecture in Belfast, Northern Ireland, including the leaning clock tower of Belfast.

Here's some of the architecture of Dulin, Ireland, including St. Patrick's Cathedral. In both Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish Gaelic is their first language...so, everything is written in Gaelic first and then English. It's a very pretty language...spelled and spoken. To think that the majority of the buildings there are older than my own country is pretty incredible. And it's also good to know that you're never too far from The King.

Here's some of the rolling hillside outside of Dublin. You can see why it's called the Emerald Isle. Even in the winter, it's green. We saw tons of ruins and old castles, etc. It was like seeing cows in America. Ruins and graveyards are everywhere. Except ruins and graveyards don't poop and moo.

This is a golf course at a place called Woodenbridge. Apparently, Tiger Woods "frequents" the course...I'm like, I'd frequent it, too, if I played golf. Nearby is a hotel we ate lunch at and they served us some pretty sweety food including some not so sweet paté. Ick.

While we were in Northern Ireland, we toured the coast and visited the Giant's Causeway. It's got some huge story behind it about a giant named Finn McCool and he was arguing with a giant in Scotland, etc. You can google it. It was pretty incredible. It's made up of all of these rocks that have hexagonal (I think) edges...and all of it occurring naturally. Scientists can't figure out why the rocks did that and why it only happened there. But it was a splendid sight. It definitely dwarfs you...I thought, please don't squash me, Finn McCool. Another great thing about N. Ireland and Ireland is that they don't have rails (except on roads and stuff)...you can walk where you want and stand on the edge of stuff and they figure if you die, your fault, because their lawyers are a lot more relaxed than our lawyers. But, don't worry, Mom, we stayed a safe distance from the edges...mostly.
Driving back to Belfast from the Giant's Causeway, we stopped by Dunluce Castle...one of the most impenetrable castles on the island, I think...I can't remember what the guy said. But, of course there's some history to it. Right on the edge of the water on a cliff. It was really neat.

In Ireland, we visited St. Kevin's Abbey in Glendalough. Most of the stuff there was built in 550 AD or before and it was like walking into another time. It was like nothing had changed for over 1,000 years. It was so peaceful and quiet. We saw the tower, which can be seen from miles away. Monks from all over the island would gather there yearly to fellowship and chat and swap phone numbers and they'd look for the tower to find the way because the abbey is hidden. Which...if it's hidden, why did they build the tower so high. I didn't quite understand that but I could barely understand our guide anyway, so I just left it alone. Glendalough means "valley of two lakes" and it's pretty tough to see until you're right up on it. It's kind of tucked away, but still...pretty tall tower...kinda obvious...not too smart there, Kevin. Anyways. We saw the ruins of the cathedral and St. Kieran's and Kevin's churches...as well as a whooooole lotta tombstones. I could have stayed there forever.

So, I highly recommend Ireland. Happy St. Patrick's Day! And as Grandfather Paddy would say, "Eire! Bi ciuin! Ta tinneas cinn orm. Thalla a chluiche le do deideagan!"


  1. St. Patrick was Scottish. Only the best of us are.

    Deal with that.


  2. oooooh, do not EVEN start with me, gun boy...my mom's side is Irish and my dad's side is Scottish. I was just talking about Ireland because it happens to be an Irish holiday. Don't even get me started on the fabulousness of Scotland because you'll die before I'm finished.

  3. Same here - Mom's a Denny, The Etheredge's are also Bruces.


  4. blue eyes are better


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