Experiencing My Family History on a Solo Trip to Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

Dec 5, 2018 12:12:00 PM / by Casey Rhode

In this week's post, Casey brings us to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland to witness her family origins and landmarks. She spends the day there and experiences the charm of the town and its people, weather, food, and hospitality.

To some, traveling alone can be a scary thing, but to others it can be liberating and empowering. In my experience I’ve found it’s a bit of both.

I took my first solo trip after a day trip to Belfast with CAPA. I ended up in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Enniskillen is about a 2½ hour journey west from Belfast. It’s so remote, only one or two buses travel there a day. My Airbnb was located just outside the main city, which is basically in the middle of nowhere. Locating it was a struggle, and thankfully the town has nice people that helped me out, but that’s a different story.

Foggy Road in Northern IrelandA foggy road in Northern Ireland.

The town of Enniskillen has a special meaning for me and my family. You see, my dad is part Irish and Scottish, and this town has family history for us. There was no way I could be in Ireland for 3 months and not go visit myself!

Some background knowledge on my family (thanks Grandpa for this), we are part of the Hume family. Of four brothers, three of them including our ancestor Thomas Hume, emigrated to America. Today, Castle Hume is a golf course. I think that’s hilarious because my family are huge golfers.

Enniskillen Castle
Enniskillen Castle.

While I was only in Enniskillen for a day and a half, I saw most of it, even though it was raining the whole time. Thanks to my host Jenny giving me a lift literally everywhere because she’s a kind soul, I got to go into town for a few hours. I saw Enniskillen Castle and Museum and a few of the different churches, as well as this place called The Happiness Trap. It’s a cute little cafe in the middle of the city that has a delicious Vanilla Chai Latte. I also went to this restaurant called the Jolly Sandwich Bar. I ordered a ham and cheese toastie and a tomato and basil soup. It looks like I was eating for 5 people and people were staring at me, but I was hungry so I didn’t really care.

Castle Hume in Enniskillen, Northern IrelandCastle Hume in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

Jenny came and picked me up when it was a little bit drier...and by it I mean me...I was finally dry. It was still raining, though. She took me to Castle Hume and I got to wander around while she went on her walk. I guess she goes on walks there a lot. I got some beautiful pictures of the clubhouse and of one of the holes on the course, and then I got a souvenir shirt for my dad and myself (of course). It was funny because the golf shop man said that someone of the name Hume had just come in the day before and we could’ve been long lost cousins. He had never met anyone of Hume ancestry until this weekend

The only place I didn’t get to go was Tully Castle. It was a further drive than expected and no buses were available, and Jenny said I would have no fun with it being so wet. Tully Castle was part of the Hume family, but it burnt down, so now there’s just the remains of it. It’s supposed to be gorgeous on a summer, day though.

Countryside in Northern IrelandThe countryside in Northern Ireland.

I’m so thankful for all the nice people I met on this trip, especially my host Jenny. She deserves an award for being the best host ever. She didn’t have to drive me around or make me tea and breakfast or give me a large home cooked dinner. She did it just because she’s a good person.

In a town that had no cell service, barely any buses that ran constantly, and was usually covered in a thick mist, I found peace. This place allowed me to take a step back and realize that this journey is almost complete, and I will be back in the States soon. I do miss home and am excited to go back, but I won’t have a chance like this again, so I have to seize each day!

Thanks, Casey!

Casey Rhode

Casey Rhode is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Interdisciplinary Studies major at Arizona State University, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

Casey's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.

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Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Cultural Insights, Personal Learning, Travel