Today I want to tell you the story of Jamie and her family. It’s a great story. In fact, it’s such a great story that her husband, David, who is a writer, wrote a book about it.
I lived in Ireland for a spell after college and that’s when I first fell in love with this place. Five years ago, I moved back and yes, had a few friends from the first time I was here but I was essentially starting all over again. I emailed everyone and their dog before I left and asked them to pass on the names of any friends / contacts they might have over here. My friend, Mark, obliged as he had recently re-connected with his long-lost friend from college, Jamie. I remember the day I made a very nervous phonecall to Jamie to ask her to be my new friend — it’s kind of funny looking back on it but it worked!
So, back to Jamie’s story — here’s the short version but I encourage you to read the full version for yourself in David’s book, Jaywalking with the Irish — here’s the link to the book on Amazon (via tiny url): http://tinyurl.com/3ocrw4s
Jamie, David and their three children moved to Ireland on August 1, 2000. Jamie has Irish ancestry and had, years before, gotten her Irish passport so they didn’t have the issue of work permits, etc. as I did. David had done an exchange during college and had studied at Trinity College in Dublin and they had also spent their honeymoon in Ireland so their emotional ties to the country were very strong.
David’s book details the two or so years they were living in Cork and renting a home on Military Hill and it covers all the adventures and misadventures they had while they were here. He has a great perspective on the Irish and their charm and the people who featured so strongly in their lives really come to life in the book.
In 2002, they bought a house that was directly across the street from the house where they were renting. It’s a beautiful Victorian but was in serious neglect so they saw it as an investment opportunity. They lived in the home briefly after renovations but they did move back to the US in the Summer of 2003 but kept the home here and rented it out. Their stint back in the US didn’t last long — they were there for just one year before they realized that Ireland really was their home so they came back in 2004 and have been here ever since. In fact, they now also have a little weekend cottage on the Blackwater river in Waterford which I will tell you more about in a future post.
The house is like the grown-up and much more sophisticated big sister of Tilly’s Cottage but they’re of the same era so they share some similarities. The previous owner was a hoarder and there was a lot of clear out required but Jamie and David found some treasures among the muck including an old church door which they had cut down to size to fit their front entry – I love it. Jamie also re-did some of the rooms of the house in 2008 including her bedroom with its lovely new birdcage wallpaper and she painted her lovely dresser to match.
David has a new book out which was just published in the US in March and will be out in Ireland in May. Rumor on the street is that it’s part of Obama’s reading list before he comes to Ireland in late May. For more info on Ireland Unhinged, check out David’s blog at: http://irelandunhinged.davidmonagan.com/