I met up with Ursula and she ever so kindly took me out to Blarney to meet another cousin for coffee. Love these people and she's a nut. We make our way through the knit store because I promised my daughter a sweater. My first find is a beautiful tam. With it rakishly tilted on my head I do a jig in front of the mirror. I'm reminded of my grandfather who would often kick up his feet in a jig when excited about something.
I say no to the tam but got a sweater for myself and one for my girl. After sending images of many possible purchases to my son, all rejected, I moved on. Ursula gave me a guided tour of the outskirts of Cork City and invited me to Sunday lunch, later in the week. I'm in.
That evening I decided to head to the pub she recommended. Great pizza, flights of beer. I walked in and everyone was spread out in clusters, chatting amongst themselves, sitting at tables, no seats at the bar. Not my scene.
I get my fix every day by stopping random strangers on the street to pat their dog, I wouldn't be able to attend residencies if I had a new dog. I put down my 15 year old Lab 2 years ago. A man walked towards me with a Great Dane and I couldn't help myself. He asked about the pub I just left and I explained. In the meantime, his dog took up residence on my foot, leaning heavily on me. (Why I do this.) He said I should try his "local", Jim Cashman's, where everyone will talk to me. So, I'm off.
I walked in the door, order a beer, overcome my awkwardness by chatting up the guy beside me. Turns out he was the owner, Donnacha. He introduced me to his wife Sally and two friends who had joined them for the evening. I told him about my crazy experiences and quest to know more about my ancestry. A few other people joined in the talk and I felt at home.
10-15 minutes into my beer, I heard the owner calling my name, asking me to come over. He re-introduced me to his friend Catherine, the female half of the couple who had joined them for the evening. She was my cousin.
Sure enough, Catherine married an O'Keefe. The aunt that Ursula mentioned, who lived around the corner from my Airbnb? That was her aunt too.
We spent the rest of the evening chatting. By then the music from the Twilight Zone was looping constantly in my head.