17 Mar 2008

St. Patrick’s Day Story

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Bryan Patrick Miller returns to the Emerald Isle in search of his mother’s family roots, and encounters more than one surprise.

I did finally arrive in Goleen, a tiny cluster of stucco homes with farmland on one side and the Atlantic Coast on the other. It’s literally a one-horse town; a gray mare stood tied to a post outside the pub. I figured my best option was to walk into the only store, which doubled as the post office, and ask the clerk to point me to the church, so I could look in the town records.

“The name’s Glavin,” I said, smiling. She recoiled, backing away with a hand to her face, and wouldn’t say another word.

By the time I made it to Goleen’s dimly lighted pub, word seemed to have spread that a Glavin was back. Gnarled farmers glowered at me over their Guinnesses. No one spoke to me. I swallowed my pint fast and walked out.

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