What One American City Girl Did for Love

So here’s the gist

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I married an Irish Farmer. There it is. I did it. I actually did it. Well, I did it 4 years ago, but still I did it. You may wonder why it has taken me so long to write this. Well, it’s either because A. in the beginning, I wanted to and actually tried, but never felt that I had enough experience of what I had done yet-if that makes sense. What I wrote ended up seeming like some fictional chick-lit paperback that was purely fantasy and fiction…I was writing about how I imagined my life would become and hadn’t really known-until now. Or, B. I simply have only just now decided that I am really staying. Really here for the long haul. And if I am staying, I had better do something constructive with my time in order to stay sane. In the past four years, I left my full life and career (and beloved kitty cat, Matisse) in big city USA; married Richard, my charming, passionate and boyishly handsome husband; had a beautiful baby boy, Geoffrey; sadly lost a wonderful Grandma-in-Law, horrifically lost my daddy to cancer over a 3 month period; designed and built an enormous house and then moved into the country……onto the family farm where we live with our three crazy dogs right next to our extended family.

The farm is at Dunmoylan, Shanagolden, County Limerick. This area is located near the mouth of the Shannon River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.  A nearby town, Foynes is where the Irish Coffee was invented. Dunmoylan is composed of several areas of land together and then some more down this road or that road. Our house is a short walk from the main farm “home house” and our brother and sister-in-law’s house is across from ours. So it’s like a bit of a compound—or at least that what I refer to it as.  My husband and the family like to think of it as “one big happy family”. I still call it the compound.  It’s odd coming from the USA where kids go off to college at 18 only to return to their families on holidays and/or short visits.  Here, as in other European countries, it is not unusual to live with your parents until your late 20’s. And after you move, you make every effort to spend quality time with family as much as humanly possible. What does that say for American society? Who knows, but for now I’d have to say that I liked it better having more autonomy. That is not to say that I don’t like my in-laws. I really do…they are very kind and generous and ambitious and lovely. I think it’s that I’ve just been trained that whilst living near parents, you have to “be careful”, “watch your step”, “be on your best behaviour” and other limiting things.  My therapist always said that adults do horribly around their families….they regress to the inevitably icky childhood insecurities .  I find this to be true around here-let’s just say that and move off that topic for now. Overall, it works out well. We all have our own personal space and everyone is busy which keeps things mostly pleasant.

When I first moved abroad to Ireland, we lived in a semi-detached house (townhouse) in the small village of Adare.  My first thoughts were that it seemed almost medieval…but somehow in a classy way. Of course, I visited Ireland several times before agreeing to move over and we had spent some nice times in Adare which is only 20 minutes from the farm and I had liked it very much. It is deemed “Ireland’s Prettiest Village”. It is idyllic, in a thatched roof cottage-y, ancient church-y sort of way. Very Irish and very much a tourist attraction.  It was a good for my “entry level living” experience in Ireland because it was a town and not the farm. There were delightful shops and restaurants in walking distance and some interesting characters..all of which I will share with you as time goes on.

I had never even been on a farm in my life before meeting Richard-outside of a production shoot on a game farm and even then we weren’t near the actual farmyard.  I quickly came to realize that farming is perceived differently in Ireland than America to a certain degree. There is more pride and less of a stigma to it. Dunmoylan has been in Richard’s family since the 1800’s and his mother and father worked extremely hard to bring it to a highly successful enterprise. Richard and his brother David run the farm now, for all intents and purposes, and have again brought it up another level by diversifying in alternative energies, i.e. wind and biogas sectors.  Still, no matter how advanced the farm may be, my husband works tirelessly for long hours which I never anticipated or could have ever fathomed even if explained. Farming is a 7 day a week job. Early mornings and late nights. Especially when there are cows calving, chickens going out or if any of the farm help are away on vacation.  So the days can be long for a stay-at-home-mommy waiting for the daddy whose presence is constantly being requested by his incorrigible son…especially by about 7pm each evening. We have to be creative in order to share a few meals together or have some fun away from the farm. Of course, I constantly have the “itch” to get out of the house and do something so I find myself driving to Limerick City (40 minutes away) frequently with Geoffrey to visit with other mommy friends and their children or go to a playcenter or shopping.  Having said all of that, we have been able to enjoy frequent traveling to the USA or European destinations and I feel very lucky that that is the case. In a week’s time we are off again to Martha’s Vineyard to stay with some dear friends and may even see President Obama.  So, holidays are taken seriously….and deservedly so.

I have kept a journal of many of my experiences over the past 4 years….and quirky new things never cease to happen around here so this blog should keep me busy and you (hopefully) entertained for some time to come!!!


Imen xoxo

  1. Very nice Imen. I look forward to reading more from you! It was great seeing you again & meeting Geoffrey this summer. Albeit way too short of a visit. Can’t wait for the next visit — here, there, or somewhere in between!

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