The Main Man From Castlebar

I mentioned that I met two people during my 2014 visit to London that have made my list of the most interesting people I have met. The first was my globe-trotting friend who goes by the handle of “Bumblebee,” and the second was the Prime Minister of Ireland, known there as the Taoiseach (pronounced “tea-shock). I have tried to understand their government, particularly since they recently had their own election and no one got enough votes to be elected. But I am not trying to teach you the ins and outs of Irish politics but to explain my story of meeting the man.

The invitation was from the Mayor of Castlebar and the Prime Minister. My first thoughts were of fashion. What do we wear? I was told “business casual,” so after carefully researching what this meant in the UK, I decided on a suit with a nice scarf. For men, all that we could deduce was it meant “no tie needed”, just a sport jacket and a shirt with a collar. So Dad did not pack a tie, and he was the only man at that ceremony not in a suit with a tie. He felt awkward, but everyone was so happy to have a relative, even the distant cousin in-law, that it did not matter.

Would I meet the Prime Minister? Oh yes. In fact, we were seated in the first row of the church with him, and later at the Irish pub, at what Aunt Ar refers to as “the meal of mercy, we were seated in a roped-off area with him, several local mayors, and a prince.

When he learned where we lived, he called me “Carolina,” and when I mentioned that I was originally from New Jersey and Dad said he worked for Merck, we were surprised with his comments. He told the story of meeting the CEO of Merck, and he stated that he wanted to meet his boss. “I don’t mean Chris Christie,” he said. “I want to meet ‘The Boss’—Bruce Springsteen.

Now I have no idea if I would agree with him politically. I know only that he supported gay marriage in a Catholic country, so he can’t be all bad. And he gave me a present, so how nice was that!

So even though he may not be the most fascinating person I have met, he is the most influential in his world. I thought it was very cool! (By the way— I like the idea of bagpipes at my funeral!)At cemetery

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