Next door to Dorothy’s house the old original homestead still stands, although it now houses a pile of peat (which they call “turf”). This peat, or turf, is cut from peatbogs and used as fuel for fireplaces; peatbogs have been a primary source of heating fuel in Ireland since the 1700’s. (Before we left Aghamore, Dorothy’s family presented us with a piece of turf plucked from the family pile.)
The old house is built of imposing gray stone; the outline of the original door, window, and fireplace are still visible, although now bricked over during its reincarnation as livestock and storage area.
In a more modern home (although still not new by any means) on the original property is where Dorothy’s mother, Catherine, lives now. She greeted us at the door, a tiny soft-spoken woman, slightly bent, shoulders covered with a shawl. In anticipation of our visit, she had set the table for tea. Despite just having had tea and cookies at Dorothy’s, we couldn’t say no to another round.
Dorothy and I brought in the china cups and plates of cookies to the small living room and we chatted while small black bricks of turf crackled merrily in the fireplace.
Gino sat next to Catherine, who was very lucid in her memories of Marie and the family from years ago. She told how she had once visited the U.S., remembering details of where she had gone and who she had seen. We discussed politics — American and Irish.
Before we left, Catherine leaned close to Gino, warning him not to speed in the car — not only was it dangerous, she advised, but the Irish police were unforgiving!