My father was born in Westport, but then moved to Coleraine with his family since my grandfather was in the police force under British rule. My father came over at age 20 to New York and then here to Boston and all he ever talked about was Ireland.
All of my grandparents were born there with my mother's parents coming here in the late 1800's. I never met any of them except for my mother's father, but he passed away when I was 1 so I have no memory, just photos.
My father only returned once, but when he died I decided to find my relatives on both sides so off I went. First I went to Lisdoonvarna and stayed with my grandfather's brother & his wife. No indoor plumbing but I still had tears in my eyes while there just for meeting them, their children and many other cousins I never knew I had.
Then I told them I was heading "up north" to see my father's side of the family. This was the 70's and going north was not something many were doing at the time and they tried to convince me not to go. took the train to Dublin, stayed a couple of days was told again by a concierge in the hotel "are you crazy" when I told him where I was going.
Took the bus to Newry and soon found out they didn't take Irish money as the bill I put on the counter was thrown back at me. I asked about a certain family and was advised to go into a nearby store since the sister of my aunt's husband worked there. She told me how to get there so I walked out a few miles and knocked at the door and that was that. My first trip turned out to be quite an adventure and loved every minute. I've returned 14 more times with so many stories, most good, only one bad, but even that can be laughed at now since I didn't break my ankle in Enniskillen, haha.