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The Egg’s the Thing by Clo Carey

Writing.ie | Magazine | Mining Memories | Tell Your Own Story
Clo Carey

Clo Carey

My first real memory of Ireland was at Easter. I was seven and my family, never one to follow trends, had just moved back to Ireland from Toronto. It was all a great adventure. My brother and I were taken out of school before the holidays. Farewell parties were held and we were showered with gifts. Trunks were filled with new clothes. New supplies were bought to keep us busy. We boarded a massive ship in Halifax and off we went across the Atlantic to arrive on the shores of our new homeland, six days later.

It dawned on us quite quickly that this was a strange place. The cars drove on the wrong side of the street and people talked with funny accents. Even worse, they laughed at us for the way we talked. They thought we were from America, and wondered had we met their cousins in Boston or Detroit. Worse still, we didn’t know our times tables, were shaky on our catechisms and had not a word of Irish.

We stayed in a B & B in Killiney. Huge, damp rooms with open fireplaces and a shared bathroom down the hall. The wife of the establishment, purveyor of breakfast and clean towels, saw us coming and took herself off to hospital; leaving her under-trained husband struggling with vacuums and frying pans. In exasperation, my mother took over. Never one for housekeeping, and looking forward to being pampered after the rigours of the move, she was not well pleased. Still, despite all, the weather was lovely and there was Easter to look forward to.

Easter Day itself dawned sunny and mild, unlike the snowy slush of Toronto that we had left behind. There were daffodils on the lawn that we could see through the French doors in the dining room. An excellent place for an Easter egg hunt! Alas it was not to be. The Easter Bunny, we were told, had stayed behind in Toronto. My brother and I commiserated with each other. Why had we moved to this awful place?

Once we had finished our lumpy porridge, my father sidled into the room. He put a fancy box with a bow on top beside each of our places. What was this? Easing off the lid, we discovered the most magnificent egg nestled inside. It was made of chocolate; decorated with fancy icing flowers and had chocolate embellishments piped around the middle. We had never seen anything so gorgeous in our lives. Dad told us to eat the piping first. I didn’t want to touch mine and my brother wanted to nibble the iced roses but we did as we were told. Piping disposed of; Dad reached over and lifted the top off one egg. Wonder of wonders, this egg had hidden depths. A treasure trove of chocolates lay within.

Through the years in Dublin, Easter came to mean many things: Johnson, Mooney and O’Brien hot cross buns, three hours on a hard pew on Good Friday, new Easter bonnets, history lessons on the Easter Rising, candlelight services on Easter Saturday, walks around the Big Sugarloaf and roast lamb for lunch. I learned to love it all but heathen that I am, my best Easter memories will always be the delicious demolition of a Bewley’s chocolate egg.

(c) Clo Carey

About the author

The daughter of an Irish documentary director and a Canadian actress, Clo Carey grew up in England, Canada and Ireland. Her chequered career path has kept her alternating between textile design and some aspect of the book trade. When she is not chasing words around a page, she works at her local library in rural Nova Scotia, mentors two writers’ groups and plots a return to Ireland.

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