Heather’s Kerry Travels

Heather on the Cliffs of Moher!

Heather on the Cliffs of Moher!

While I’m here in Dublin trying to finalize this grant proposal, my sister Heather is on the western coast of Ireland visiting Eilish O’Hanlon and her husband Con.

You may recall that Eilish and my mom share the same great grandparents. Con and Eilish have taken Heather to see the place my own great grandmother was baptized.  They took my mom and me there in May, but I’ve neglected to post photos as of yet.

Incidentally, because Con is a first cousin of Tom Mulligan (proprietor of the world-famous Cobblestone Pub), I’ve got family all over Dublin!   🙂

Today I’m sharing the photos Heather has posted on her Facebook page over the past week.

Sister Sister

My sister, Heather, is visiting.  She’s come to take acting classes.

Last night, we took in a play… Major Barbara, written by Shaw, performed at the Abbey Theater in Dublin.  I discovered that I’ve really got to concentrate to keep up with Shaw, but it’s worth the effort.  His work is packed with meaning….

Heather has been spending quite  a bit of time down at the Cobblestone. She goes in much later in the evening than I do. Evidentially late hours are the best for finding Tom, the owner, who is a night owl.

On Friday evening, I’d gone into the Cobblestone to hear some singing and I left at 9.  Heather stopped in later and met even more of Tom’s family.  She’d gone to thank Tom because he had taken her to see construction of a new theater that he serves as a member of the board.

I really enjoyed Friday evening there.  Some of the songs transported me back to my first trip to Ireland in 2003.  The country was quite a bit different at that time: songs were full of political strife and pubs were full of families, chatter, and smokey haze. The ban on smoking in pubs, apparent tightening of age limits in pubs, and the economic boom / Celtic Tiger all took their toll on Ireland’s pub culture.  The country’s newfound peace also shifted the tone, and for the peace I’m grateful.

The Cobblestone, however, has managed to retain its charm. And it continues to do that despite being listed in every tourist guide. A lot of that, I believe, has to do with Tom’s warm and generous spirit. He makes every person feel special and welcome.

Heather left town today, but sent me over to hear Tom and his friends from the Cobblestone play at the Northside Music Festival in Wolftone ‘Park’.

My Sis Celebrating the Innaguration

Although I spent Monday in bed, I lived vicariously through my sister. Heather drove from New York to DC to witness another historic inauguration and hear Mr. Obama’s address. Thanks for representing our little branch of the family, Sis!


Heather’s Day-After-Christmas Feast

Heather spent hours and hours preparing a day-after-Christmas feast.  She made traditional fixings, as well as special vegetarian dishes for herself, and gluten-and-everything-else free dishes for me.  (I got a food allergy test done December 6, and the results have been a real downer for my Christmas meals.)

Another Norman Rockwell Christmas at Kitty Lee and Glen’s

Introducing my Massie grandparents — Layton (Pa) and Lillian (Ma) Massie.  They are my Dad’s parents, and they used to live in Staunton, Virginia.

Although Ma and Pa are no longer with us, most of their kids and grandkids (as well as their great grand kids and their great great grandkid) gather at my aunt Kitty Lee’s home each year to celebrate Christmas.

I enjoy this outing and the chance to catch up with Kitty Lee and Glen (who live in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley), as well as my Dad and the rest of the Massie tribe.

This is the way we’ve celebrated Massie Christmas since the mid-90s.  Before that, we’d all gather at my grandparents’ cozy bungalow at 414 High Street in downtown Staunton, Virginia.

The pictures below were taken December 22-24, 2012.

Face-to-Face with Dorian Gray

Face to face with Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray really made me think.  The theatrical production of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray brought me into a deep dark world and beaconed me to chose the light.

I’d tried to see this play when Mom was here, but it sold out during the theater festival. Thankfully, the Abbey Theater extended its run. And I got a front-row seat for just 13 Euro!  All that money I save not buying cable — it goes straight into Dublin theater.  And that’s the way I like it.

I’ve got to hand it to my sister, NYC actor Heather Massie, for showing me the ropes of theater-going. I’m no longer intimidated by the whole theater scene.  In fact, tonight, I looked Dorian straight in the eye and walked away knowing that life is good and remembering that I am truly blessed.

Fabulous actor. Fascinating character.

There’s such great theater in Dublin!  I’ve gotten to see two of this season’s four shows. The first, The Plow and the Stars was beautifully executed, just like The Picture of Dorian Gray. (See how serious I looked after seeing Dorian Gray!?!)