My last name is Toomey. My mom’s maiden name was McCarthy. Let’s face it – I’m Irish. But I’m far removed from the old sod.
Several years ago I had an opportunity to visit Ireland. I spent ten days in Sligo attending the Yeats summer school. I went with my friend Mercedes Mulligan – Irish through marriage , Cuban by birth. She has dark brown, nearly black hair and white creamy skin. Everyone thought she was Irish. Everyone was surprised that I was Irish.
After the “working” part of the vacation we met my daughter and my husband and headed to Dublin to take in the historical sites as well as the tourist attractions. We kept a busy schedule and saw most of the sites. But I knew I couldn’t leave Ireland without going to Cork. Family lore is that we come from a town in County Cork called Kinsale.
So my daughter, Mercy, and I boarded a tourist bus for the three- hour plus trip to Cork. When we finally arrived we were tired and hungry so we walked through the center of town looking for a spot to eat. I literally stared people down to see if I could find someone who resembled me.
I took apart their features, their noses didn’t look like mine, neither did their eyes, and no one was tall like me. I’m 5″11. I was about convinced that the story was a scam. This is easy to believe because the Irish are known to stretch the truth a wee bit.
As we were leaving the restaurant, I saw a poster for an upcoming play. I know you can’t see the name clearly. I’ve been working on it for an hour. But the director was Michael Twomey. Okay! I can accept the spelling. Maybe this is my tribe. But there’s no time to find out on this trip. It’s time to get back on the bus.