Take a minute to Google Fota Island. Go on.
The listing alone (wildlife park, house, gardens, resort, golf club) should at least give you some idea of the size.
Well, it was supposed to be ours.
According to Aunt Kitty's Diary (not sure how many 'greats' belong in front of Aunt Kitty's name), we were swindled out of it.
The house was built later, but never mind that - I'm sure 'we' would have built a house at least as impressive if not more.
Think of the ward parties we could have hosted. Or wedding receptions.
Or Easter Egg rolls.
Some time after my father-in-law was handed the purse to carry (c'mon, you knew I was going to include this picture) I started hearing about the way Sue's family had squandered away their wealth.
Ancestor (insert first name here) Smith put Fota Island up as collateral on a loan from his cousin and then the cousin disappeared ON PURPOSE when the loan came due, leaving ancestor Smith unable to repay the loan (no solicitors ???) and thereby defaulting on the loan, and once the said cousin reappeared he got the island.
Including the amazing Arboretum established on the Island - while the family was in the shipping business they brought in samples of trees from lands near and far.
Ken's dad seemed to think that an island might have been a better wedding present than two snow tires. If only the family had been better money managers . . .
Maybe something was planted in my mind at Fota. The island I could live without, but Ballynatray, now that was cause to mourn.
I could have lived here.
I mean, I wouldn't be the one shovelling the long drive way!
(Momentary mental lapse, I doubt any shovelling needs to be done here. Certainly not like at home in Canada.)
The groundskeeper's house just before the main house.
Ken and I in the newly planted kitchen herb garden.
The main entrance seems to be a back door. I'm comfortable with that.
Come on in.
More of my favourite fragrant miniature pink roses.
Okay, here I have to confess that though Temple Michael and Molana Abbey were part of the estate when it was in the family, the big house was built after we were gone.
But it would have been one heck of a wedding gift.