You just never know what’s around the corner.

From a young age we were inculcated with a deep respect for our surroundings. Beauty was something that didn’t go unobserved and we delighted in pointing out our ‘new’ discoveries  to each other. We noted the seasons and knew where to find wild strawberries, hazel nuts and  ‘robbing orchards’ was a pastime not a criminal offense.
We swam in the rivers and walked the roads freely, we knew our neighbours by name, including their pets, and more importantly, our neighbours knew us.
In my own house there was always a ‘little bird’ ready to bring home tales of any mischief I might have been thinking about, never mind what I actually got up to.
My name is Fiona and I think I’ll be doing most of the writing!

Joe, on the other hand, is the talker. He’d talk for Ireland, as the saying goes, and he can strike up a conversation with almost anyone, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. From last weeks football results to fairy forts and ghost stories … the chances are Joe can hold a conversation about it. His local knowledge is second to none and I am always impressed that he can name a townsland or parish area and what bit of history is connected to it. Joe has traveled extensively around Ireland and his love of the Island comes out in that ‘old style scratching the head’ masculine way “Sure why would you go anywhere else?” would be the usual response when he’s told someone has been overseas on holidays, and he always manages to look genuinely baffled.
He’s meticulous with whatever he puts his mind to, so it’s no accident that his photography is exceptional.

Both of us grew up at the foothills of Slievenamon in County Tipperary. As with most mountains in Ireland we have our folklore too, perhaps some day we’ll do a write up on the events that have taken place both historical and mythical, but for now I’ll try and stay focused on introducing us so that you’ll get the gist of who we are, where we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.

View from the top of Slievenamon.

Our mutual love of nature is what introduced us. A group of people who met up one day and that group of people are still in touch and still trying to maintain an awareness of the importance of nature in amongst our own friends. They are a passionate bunch without the nutty part that goes with it. They live their lives conscious of the carbon footprint we all leave trails of, it’s part of them, but you wouldn’t know it unless you spoke with them. They are just like the hundreds of thousands of so many other Irish people who have that inbuilt awareness and respect of the land and how nature works.

We all have political opinions and neither Joe or myself are any different, we are, as most other people are at the moment, baffled as to the decisions that our ‘leaders’ have made and taken on ‘our’  behalf … as we chat away with a lot of the readers of The Irish Way facebook page and Joe’s photography page we both realised that the disillusionment with political structures is a world wide response to the financial crisis that faces too many people today.
And it’s this financial crisis that left both Joe and myself and hundreds of thousands of other people, out of work. Joe is a tradesman, and of course his work is meticulous (I’ve seen it).
I come from a background in psychology.
Two very different people, two very different lives and yet we find ourselves connected through our deep love of this island.

So it’s from here that we go forth, we both turned corners and found ourselves on a road going in the same direction so we’ve fallen into step and these steps are taking us on a whole new exploration of Ireland. We’ve started the ‘tours’ via the facebook page and found that there just wasn’t enough room … and even though we both guffawed at the idea of writing more than a few sentences for a post, here we are, just a few short months later strolling around, meeting people, writing bits and learning new stuff along the way.

We hope you’ll join us as we explore the familiar and unfamiliar, meeting people and sharing in a bit of banter. Neither of us knows where this road is going to lead but it’s the journey that matters and both of us are both humbled and delighted that we get to share this journey with so many of you.

So … that’s it … that’s us in a nutshell.
But before we sign off, we’d both like to say ‘Thank you’ to the thousands of you who have already shown us such encouragement, it’s because of you’re support that we are taking on this whole new adventure and wandering around the roads again.
Thank you for your company along The Irish Way.

72 thoughts on “You just never know what’s around the corner.

  1. Love this! I too, when growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, also had the pleasure of running around open spaces, arroyo’s where wildlife was abundant. Not so much any more. (sigh…) My heritage is Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and German, (well, you get the point, I’m pretty much a Mutt). I do however love your page and will someday I hope visit all these countries. I raise a “cheers” to you!

    • Marcy … thanks a million for taking the time to comment here, I really do appreciate it (pssst, you’re my first 😉 )
      And if our posts here are bringing out the Irish in you then all the better – you’ll be ready then for when you visit. Keep in touch sure you’d never know where this ‘road’ will take us.
      *raise glass, clink, cheers.

      • Just discovered your FB page and now, your blog. Just enjoying this so much. I come from an Irish background tho’ never having been there, I can only try to soak in all I can glean from others, such as reading and seeing what you post. Very enjoyable!! Keep it up! And thanks as well.

  2. My heritage is 3/4 Irish and 1/4 American Indian. What a combination. But I,m just an Irish country girl at heart, even though I’ve never been to Ireland , would love to someday but at 72 1/2 I doubt i’ll ever make it. So really enjoy all the pictures and stories at least I can pretend that i’m Home.

    • Great to link in with you Helen, 72 (and a half) years young and you’re blogging before me! G’wan I’d say you’ll make it here yet and thanks for taking the time to write a comment and send on some encouragement.
      From one Irish country girl to another … thanks 🙂

    • I just returned from Ireland Helen, and while I was there I met a lovely lady from Wisconsin who was 75. So, you have no excuse!

  3. I am, as always, excited to read your words here as I am to see your posts and pictures. I grew up and still live in Florida and with all the family I am surrounded with, I never felt connected to a place till I went to Ireland. And it’s the reason I go every three years! Every branch of my tree reaches back to your beautiful island, and maybe that explains my “coming home” feeling or maybe it’s the only place, to me, that true authenticity lives, from its people to the lands to the food to the air to every minute I am there. Thank you for bringing that feeling from across the miles. to me everyday !

    • You come home every three years?
      That’s quite a commitment Chrissy but I do know what you mean as I ‘feel’ the same connection myself … and I felt it too on the Aran Islands, and again yesterday on Spike island – I read a piece on genealogy recently that explained the connection, had something to do with inheriting pre-disposed ‘senses’ – I must root it out as it was a science and psychology study that had been conducted – I should have tagged it for re-sharing – I’ll keep an aye out for it.
      Thanks for your company along the way.

      • Oh I would be very interested in reading this article for sure! What’s very ironic, was my first trip, without knowing all the depths of my family tree, I planned an entire trip, went every place that called to me,only to find out a year later that every town was a town that someone from my family came from.. I was blown away, to say the very least!

  4. Hi Fiona,
    So looking forward to your blog and your beautiful pictures of Ireland. I appreciate all the history and information you provide. You are awesome. My family is from Falcarragh, County Donegal. I am first generation Irish on my dad’s side and second generation on my mom’s side. I am currently living in Port Orchard, Wa. I am trying to keep my Irish Heritage alive for my two daughters. I am hoping to make a trip to Ireland . I was able to visit Ireland with my parents in 1990. Thanks for all your efforts. You Rock! tdj

    The wild strawberries and the hazelnuts are still there , orchards are getting scarce . The problem as I see it is communication is killing itself, when I was young we had real friends and we lived like you . We should treasure whats left while it is still around us ; I remember going to the cliffs of moher for a look around , cant do that anymore it has been turned into a zoo. In brittany the exact same thing was done in Carnac with the standing stones after a few years they realized their mistake and now it is back to it`s natural setting.
    Keep up the good work FRAN in BRITTANY ….

    • Fran,
      Don’t talk to me about the Cliffs!
      I was horrified that last time I was there and saw it turned into a circus area, blue caped harp player included – talk about spoiling the natural beauty of a place … it seems that the South East is one of the lesser traveled areas, and it’s a pity that more people don’t venture away from the mainstream and wander around for themselves … Ireland is full of surprises, sure you know it yourself 🙂

  6. Congratulations on your blog, you’re on an amazing journey and it’s only just beginning – I’lm looking forward to following you every step of the way. I know we’re a long way away tucked up here in the very north of Ireland but I know you’ll get here some day and you’ll be very welcome when you do x

  7. Wishing you all the best with the blog Fiona & Joe…looking forward to hearing all about your wanderings. Your descriptions of beautiful Ireland help us all to make it through to our next visit. With your excellent writing and Joe’s amazing photography I think all of us are in for a treat. More power to you 🙂

  8. Fiona and Joe I am soooo excited for you!!! Have followed you on Facebook for a while now and am looking forward to following you here! Awesome introduction and can’t wait for more!


  9. As usual Fiona, your writing is engaging and welcoming.; You have a knack of making people feel at home with the written word and I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

  10. Fiona & Joe, brilliant idea to do a blog – there is way too much material to limit yourselves to facebook. As one of the ‘Irish at Home’ and from the hills of Ballingarry, near Slievenamon also, even I learn a lot from your posts and photos. Its the way you tell ’em! Can’t wait for the next ‘installment’. 🙂

  11. Thanks a million to everyone who’s left such great feedback – it is so encouraging to know that so many people are enjoying the facebook page and hopefully we can do a little more credit to Ireland and her people via this bit of a blog here.
    None of us know what’s around the corner … but it’s great to be linked in with so many other great people while we’re on the journey.
    Thanks again to everyone.
    Joe and Fiona

  12. You have a wonderful page, and I’m looking forward to more blogs. My wife and I spend time in Ireland each year, and we deeply love the people, the land, the culture, and the history. We’ll be in Cork for 2 weeks in September to explore that part of our “second home”. I only wish I were there now. Keep up the fine work!

    • If you’re going to cork Dick, I’d recommend Spike Island for a day trip, no matter the weather, unless it’s a storm. Great place to visit and nothing like I expected.

  13. I had my dream come true last August when I FINALLY had the chance to come to Ireland. Although I was only there for 9 days I saw some many beautiful places that I can’t wait to come back for a visit. I found a great friend in New Ross and we email each other once a week. It’s amazing how friendly everyone was. I am Canadian and although I have no Irish in my background I feel connected to the Island. I stumbled upon your Facebook page and really enjoy reading up on everything Irish. I can’t wait to read up on your adventures. I like Joe don’t understand why people wouldn’t want to visit Ireland.

  14. Awesome, what took y’all so long, lol?! Looking forward to sharing your journeys and learning more about Ireland thru Fiona’s and Joe’s talents and gifts. Thank you both for sharing!

    • FEAR … fear of sounding like a loonatic is what kept us so long away from blogging!
      It’s no secret that I love Ireland but I was hoping to keep a lid on the fact that I can sound like an absolute sentimental nerd when I talk about it!

  15. I absolutely love this page. I have never had the privilege to visit the lovely Ireland, but hopefully after my son gets married in two years, I can then. I am so very proud of my Irish heritage, I read any Irish history book I can find! I have instilled in my children the same love for their heritage that I have.
    I was very upset to hear of the financial decisions made by your government, it sounds alot like America. Many people are out of work and on public assistance, I fear for my children graduating from college!
    Your page makes me smile, warms my heart and helps me forget the changes beyond my control

  16. Just wanted to say thanks for your efforts here and on “The Irish Way.” Although born and raised in the United States my wife’s heritage is 100% Irish. It gives me a chance to show her the country her grandfather spoke of and came from since I can’t get her there in person.

  17. Fiona, this is the first blog I’ve ever followed ? Joined? Participated in? Whatever the correct phrase is lol. But I look forward to following the journey that you and Joe have mapped out for yourselves, and everyone else who chooses to tag along for the ride. I wish ye both the very best of luck. I love both Facebook pages and look forward to keeping an eye on this. Thanks for all the hard work.

    • A few months ago Gerry, we were saying ‘blogging and tweeting’ sure who’d do that!
      Well .. looks like walking the roads isn’t the only journey we’ll be making!

  18. Dear Fiona. First congratulations on your blog may it go from success to amazing success. I see your photos of Slievenamon, I know it well. A friend and I climbed it together in the snow lugging a car battery and tv monitor as well as an aerial in one of my many adventures. At the top we saw the best tv picture I have ever seen until now. Carrying that weight, you can imagine how fit we were unlike now, but I never in my wildest if dreams imagined I would be writing like this on a small tablet talking to people all over the world. Thank you for providing the vehicle of dreams. John Michael Cahill, Two Walls and a Roof Cork Ireland.

      • Fiona, only one word applies to your blog it’s this …Buttevant.(my hometown) the name comes from a French war cry Boutez En Avant, it means. Push Forward, so Buttevant to you. John

    • Hey Therese, I hope the link sticks here :

      It’s possibly one of the more concise ‘small pages’ that you can browse through where science and behaviorism, among other topics, are discussed and referenced. It’s run by Terry McGuire who is a professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University. if you decide to read through pay particular attention to ‘Mendelian genetics’ and the Human Genome Project – the latter you may have heard about as it’s been hailed the best thing ever! The only problem with ‘the best thing ever’ is learning how to read it!
      As with a lot of psychoanalytical studies the ‘science’ is hard to prove … how does one ‘prove’ a feeling or a sense of identity … and without ‘proof’ there’s very little funding, and without funding there’s no time to find ‘proof’.

      There’s also the work of Genomics scientist Dr Emmeline Hill – she has identified the genetic ‘strain’ for thoroughbred horses! (Google her and you’ll find her work and credentials) – I make reference to her as I can’t find a study conducted on humans!
      I do remember the science world getting very excited with Dr Hill’s findings and took it as proof for all animals, ourselves included.

      I hope this helps 🙂
      And thanks for poppin in here too.

  19. This is wonderful – the reading is amazing and the photos are stunning
    Great way to see more of Ireland and learn of it’s history.
    And perhaps another trip will be in the making
    Thank you both for making your country closer to so many.

  20. Hi Fiona and Joe,
    Love the blog and wish you every success. I was so pleased to find you in Facebook and now this! Good for the soul. 🙂
    I am Irish, but have been living in Hamburg, Germany ( a beautiful, green city) for almost half my life. Obviously one never stops being Irish though!

  21. Bravo and congrats on the blog! Look forward photographing with you and Joe in the near future. Take care, Anna [Anna Stephens Photography]

  22. I want to thank you so much for the faceook page and blog. There will be a day I get to Ireland but in the mean time I will live through your words and eyes. And I very much thank you for that.

  23. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been enjoying reading all the articles in the link you put here, and I still have more to read but I didn’t want to forget to appreciate you for it! Science is a magical wonderland! I forgot to mention that I am traveling back to Ireland in March and wondered if you had any suggestions of places I should not miss. I will be driving along thesouth coast, which seems to always be my destination, but my husband and I will be bringing 2 friends with us this time and they are really excited to see the places I love so much. . I just want to make sure they get the full experience.

  24. I just found this blog and it is fantastic. I am from cork city but have lived in Canada for the last seventeen years. Just reading through all the posts it feels like I am at home. The warm friendly atmosphere. Thank you Fiona and Joe for giving us Irish a place to chat together.

    • Felicity, thanks a million for popping in – I’ve been reading a little bit about your journey and I thoroughly enjoyed what I read.
      Your style of wording is so gentle and descriptive that without any effort at all, I am there with you, in my head.
      Look forward to keeping in touch with you.

      • Thank you! I’m delighted you’re enjoying my work. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

  25. ”We noted the seasons and knew where to find wild strawberries, hazel nuts and ’robbing orchards’ was a pastime not a criminal offense.
    We swam in the rivers and walked the roads freely, we knew our neighbours by name, including their pets, and more importantly, our neighbours knew us.
    In my own house there was always a ‘little bird’ ready to bring home tales of any mischief I might have been thinking about, never mind what I actually got up to.”

    So familiar!. With our lot it was the blackberries and logan berries but I recognise the pastime in the orchards :D. As for that ‘little bird’; it sure got around!!

  26. Fiona & Joe,
    I’ve been watching your blog for a bit now and the pictures are brilliant. I too, am of Irish heritage on my Da’s side but born in the USA. I first visited Ireland in June 2011 & will be back next June for another visit…I can’t wait. But, in the meantime I get to enjoy your lovely pictures & dream of my return. Thanks for all you do…

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