'The great advantage of having an ancestry like that of a mongrel dog is I
have so many ancestral homes to go home to.'
UNDER THE SPELL
A travel tale by Danny O'brien
We caught the ferry from Le Havre, France to Ireland, land of my ancestors. Every since I was
a wee lad, my mind has been used as a canvas by every Irishman who has been displaced
from the Emerald Isle. A picture of quaintness bordering upon myth. Cute I thought it would
be, but never as much as the tourist hype I had read. I donned my suit of armor constructed of
cynicism, forged by age. Protected thus from the hype, I the ancestral child would see Ireland
as it really is. Mind you, no tourist hype for me.
The ship pulled in to Rosslare Harbor near Wexford and lowered its gangplank. I made it most
of the way down before I was sucked clean out of my armor into, head over heels, and under
the spell of the Emerald Isle.
We had arranged for a rental car, to be picked upon arrival at the harbor. I thought perhaps we
would be shown how to operate it. Instead the attendant said in his sweet Irish brogue, 'It's
the wee red one over there,' and handed me the keys.
Still dazed by the sudden entrance in to 'The Spell' we sped off in our wee red Ford Fiesta.
Every so many hundred yards along the road signs reminded us to 'Drive to the left.' On the
open road it was no problem, however moments later in the congestion of Wexford I was near
panic, yelling at Travis to help remind me what side of the street I was on. It didn't help that
he often mixes...