I’m hungry! The phrase that a mother of two boys hears almost constantly. Are they really starving? No. Do they (or we for that matter) really know what it is truly like to be starving? No. On Tuesday, we visited New Ross and the Dunbrody. http://www.dunbrody.com
The Dunbrody is a replica of a ship that was used during the Irish Potato Famine to transport people to America and Canada. When we entered the museum shop to pay our admission we were each given a “ticket” for our passage to America. It was filled with a great deal of information about how much we paid to travel and what type of rations we could expect. Of course, none of us rated a first class ticket. The docent then made it come to life!
We started in a small museum that was had a lot of information about the famine along with personalized accounts from various people affected by the famine. I was amazed by a simple display that depicted the daily amount of potatoes that the average Irishman would consume. Wow! Armed with some information and a tour guide we headed out to the Dunbrody. It is a nice size boat….until you realized that 300 people or more would have called it home for 50 days while crossing the Atlantic.
Our group looked around the deck and then headed down to where the steerage passengers would have lived. We were able to find the bunks that our tickets were for. They looked okay until you saw that you would be sharing that little space with at least 3 other adults (sometimes more) and all of their worldly possessions! We “met” two women who described how horrific the conditions were on the ship. The lack of food. The lack of fresh air. The lack of privacy. The only thing not lacking was sickness and rats!
It made me stop and think. How bad most have the conditions in Ireland been to make a person willingly go through that torture not knowing what they would find when they got to America or Canada? They left everything, went through hell with just a hope for a better life. Nowadays we complain if our meal on the airplane isn’t hot and tasty. Glad that our forefathers were made of sterner stuff.
Of course, Sean’s first words as we were leaving consisted of “Where are we eating lunch?” O’Brien’s was our answer.
After lunch we headed to Hook Head Lighthouse. It is Europe’s oldest, continuously operated lighthouse. Imagine monks in the 12th climbing steps to light candles to warn ships of the rocky shoreline. While Dave and Ryan climbed to the top of the lighthouse with a tour guide, Sean and I took advantage of low tide to venture out onto the rocks below the lighthouse.
When we go to a beach along the Atlantic Ocean it is usually Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There is a long stretch of gently sloping sand. Most days the waves are just enough to make it fun to stand in the warm(ish) water. This is the whole other side of the Atlantic!! The waves were fierce as they crashed against the rocks. There was sea foam and believe me, the spray was not warm! What an awesome display of power.
I love the things that we passed while driving around. A herd of dairy cows that have a beautiful ocean front view from their pasture and the most unique public post box that we saw!