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Return to the Castle Ruins

Ireland 1850

Bridget O’Connor, a 14 year old girl, is going to leave with her family tomorrow. They will be traveling to America. Bridget understands life is hard in Ireland and a better life awaits her family in America. Still she finds it difficult to accept she will leave Ireland, never to return. Bridget steps out of her house and looks at the castle ruins in the distance. She walks over a green hill and continues to the castle ruins. She remembers how she would play among these ruins when she was a child. She looks at the ocean. She knows she is going to the other side of the ocean. The ocean breeze blows through her red hair. She feels the sun on her freckled face. She turns around and looks at her house. She slowly turns and takes in the panoramic view around her. She knows she will never see this view again. She slowly walks back to her house.

Sunnyvale, California Present Day

Cathy MacGrew, the last living descendant of Bridget O’Connor, got home from another late night at work. She throws some leftovers in the microwave and watches as the microwave timer counts down. When the microwave dings she takes out her dinner and eats in the kitchen nook. As she eats she takes stock of her life. She had two failed marriages, gave up on two religions, and has a career that has gone nowhere. Despite this she knows she has to consider herself lucky. She is working and her finances are in good shape. She considers it pathetic she has to consider herself lucky. Then she muses to herself about the paradox of luck. People survive terrible accidents and say they are lucky to be alive. If they were lucky they wouldn’t have been in the accident in the first place. Then she remembers the phrase, “Luck of the Irish.” Then she laughs as she thinks since she’s half Irish, she’s half lucky.

She looks at the wall clock. She should probably go to bed but she doesn’t like the idea of coming home from work, eating something she threw in a microwave, and then going to bed. It makes it seem all she does is work and sleep. She notices the shamrock on the calendar. She turns on the television and flips through the channels. She sees one movie set in Ireland. It’s about a man who made a living by selling horse droppings. As she watches the movie she remembers stories her mother use to tell her about her ancestors. She laughs when she remembers the time her mother said to her father, “If my mother brought home a Scotsman my grandfather would have killed him.” Her father retorted, “Your grandfather and mine had a lot in common.”

An Aer Lingus commercial comes on the television. Cathy smiles, the only time she ever sees Aer Lingus commercials is around St. Patrick’s Day. She knows some channel will show The Quiet Man on St. Patrick’s Day. She hears “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” in her head, then “Oh Danny Boy”. Then she gets a feeling. She feels she should go on vacation to Ireland. She hasn’t had a real vacation since before her last divorce. Her mother always talked about taking a trip to Ireland, but she never did. None of her descendants ever went back to Ireland.

It’s Saturday morning, March 10. It’s a cloudless day. The weather forecast calls for showers in the afternoon. If all goes well she will be well on her way to Chicago by then. The taxi comes and she is on her way to the airport. The cab drives by Moffett Naval Air Station. Hanger One, the zeppelin hanger, dominates the area. She can’t help looking back at it until it is no longer in sight.

The Vacation

The seat belt sign goes off and the flight attendant announces everyone is free to move about the cabin but the captain recommends they keep their seat belts on when seated. Cathy is on the first leg of her journey. The plane is flying to Chicago. Cathy was born and raised in Chicago. She hadn’t been to Chicago since her mother died. Her grandparents moved to Chicago from New York. Her grandfather hoped to find work in Chicago.

Cathy waits in the terminal. She looks out at the tarmac. In the distance she sees an Aer Lingus jetliner. Its green paint job and shamrock logo on the tail tell Cathy her Irish vacation has started. She sits in her seat and a young female flight attendant with red hair and freckles demonstrates as the head flight attendant gives the instructions in a thick Irish brogue. The jetliner gains speed as it rumbles down the runway. It takes to the air. When Cathy feels the jetliner retract its landing gear she knows her next stop is Ireland.

Cathy maps out her route in her head like in the Indiana Jones movies. She spends much of the flight trying to get to sleep. She will get to say, “Good morning Ireland.” In between her cat naps her mind wanders. Her ancestors no doubt left Ireland for a better life. In school the party line was the American Dream wasn’t true for the immigrants, but was true for their descendants. Cathy takes stock in how the school teaching stacked up to reality. A member of their family was killed in the Civil War, another family member was killed in World War I and still another was killed in World War II. She was the only family member she knows about who wasn’t a homemaker or blue collar worker. She concludes the American Dream didn’t happen for her family. She knows most of the “Irish” songs Americans are familiar with are songs written by Irish immigrants who were homesick for their homeland. Cathy concludes the American Dream represents marketing at its finest.

It’s March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. She will leave Ireland tomorrow. Here she is on a bus tour of the Irish countryside. Her vacation has been wonderful. Ireland is a rich mixture of modern cities, quaint towns, and magnificent scenery. She has seen 1,000 year old castles and other structures that were hundreds of years old. Where she is they make a big deal out of a zeppelin hanger that was built in the 1930s.

The bus drives to where Bridget O’Connor lived. The house is long since gone. It is the last stop on the bus tour. Cathy steps off the bus unaware she is walking on the same ground her ancestors walked. The tour guide leads the tour over a hill with patches of green. The tour guide leads them through the ruins of an ancient castle. Cathy looks at the ocean. The ocean breeze blows through her hair. She feels the sun on her face. She turns around. She slowly turns and takes in the panoramic view around her. Cathy gets a strange feeling she has been here before.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Robert Sacchi


Robert Sacchi (author) on September 12, 2021:

Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you like the story.

April Ranck on September 12, 2021:

This is an amazing story and has good pictures.

Robert Sacchi (author) on September 11, 2020:

Scroll to Continue

I hope you get there someday. When you do remember it would make a great Hub. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 11, 2020:

This is an amazing story and I so enjoyed it. The picture of the castle looks a mystery to me. .I would love to travel to Ireland and Scotland have friends there.

Robert Sacchi (author) on June 20, 2020:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Manuela from Portugal on June 20, 2020:

This is a very good story. As Cathy is irish I imagine her with a red hair, that I love.

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 10, 2019:

Yes, such is the problem with a popular name.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on December 10, 2019:

Dad was called Rob by family, Bob by his workmates and mates at the CIU (Confederated Industrial Unions) club where he went for a pint or two; my son's called Robbie or Rob by us, I don't know what they call him in Dortmund where he teaches English. At the Telegraph in Fleet Street, London EC4, there was a Robert Burns (I kid ye not), a Robert Dwyer-Joyce (Irish) and a Robert Butcher on the paper make-up side. All called 'Bob'. Confusing, eh?

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 09, 2019:

Yes, it is a popular name. When people ask my preference, Bob or Robert, I say I don't have any because there is often another Robert in the area so they can call me something different from the other's preference, as long as what they call me is consistent. It cuts down on the confusion.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on December 09, 2019:

Just as my namesake was the bass player with Status Quo, except his middle name's Stephen/Steven and mine's Robert. That's why I added the 'R' after Alan. My Dad was Robert (Grandma and Grandad liked their books and historical characters - Robert de Bruce, Rob Roy etc) and so's my son.

Popular name, eh? Mitchum, Redford, Ryan...

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 08, 2019:

She spells her name Greta Scacchi. In any case she is no relation that I know of. There is also an actor Robert Sacchi, he isn't me or a relative either. He had some celebrity in the 1980s as a Humphrey Bogart look alike. I don't look like Bogart either.

Actually my sister-in-law likes to have my wife scratch the lottery tickets because she has a better track record for getting wins.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on December 08, 2019:

There's an English actress by the name of Greta Sacchi - no kin? She's a real 'looker'.

You know what they say about the luck of the Irish, is your sis-in-law lucky? Ask her to kiss your next lottery ticket and you can take a trip over the 'Pond'.

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 07, 2019:

No blood relatives. I'm Italian on both sides. I have a sister-in-law of Irish extraction and another sister-in-law who is 1/2 Irish extraction. American got a lot of immigrants by a combination of despiration and salesmanship. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on December 07, 2019:

Well Robert, the only part of Ireland I treaded was Dublin (the 'black pool'). My wife's been to the west, and Arran. My great grandad Joseph Balcombe rode a horse with the cavalry during the Troubles as a reservist in the 1920s, and that's my Irish connection. Norman castles everywhere - the Normans were just Danes and Norse with a Frankish twist. also largely on horseback.

It's beautiful country , no doubt about that. Would've been a real wrench to have to leave for the complete unknown, even if there might've been a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. The wife's kissed the Blarney stone (and don't I know it!).

Any Irish in your family? I know you've got Italian.

Robert Sacchi (author) on April 20, 2019:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed this story.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on April 20, 2019:

Good stuff! Keep them coming. I enjoy reading other writer's hub articles while I am waiting different places. It's a great way to pass the time.

Robert Sacchi (author) on February 28, 2019:

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you for commenting. I hope you go, and by all means write about it.

Nell Rose from England on February 28, 2019:

Genetic memory kicking in in the end! I have had the strangest dreams over the years, of castles by the sea, either Ireland or Scotland, did my dna and found both! So there you go! lol! Love this story, and my irish comes from Cork and Dublin. I really must go, never been to Ireland or Scotland.

Robert Sacchi (author) on February 06, 2019:

Thank you for reading and commenting. This is great information.

RoadMonkey on February 06, 2019:

I currently live in Ireland - the North - and there are ruined houses around that were probably home to those who emigrated because of the famine. In the road where I live is a ruined castle, with a secret passage! Though it's privately owned and you can't go round it. It was built in the 1600s.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 24, 2019:

Thank you. You are very kind.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 24, 2019:

Interesting about these ruins and you wrote from within. Writing creates an open mind and I see you have that in your work.

Robert Sacchi (author) on September 27, 2018:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed the story.

Subhas from New Delhi, India on September 26, 2018:

Very beautifully plotted and developed. Enthralling and truly entertaining.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 12, 2018:

At the suggestion of Peggy Woods I wrote 2 sequels; The Painting of the Ruins, and The Giant Castle. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 12, 2018:

You made me want to read know more. that to me is one sign the story was a goodie....well done....take care of you Angels are on the way this morning ps

Robert Sacchi (author) on April 03, 2018:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked the story.

Nikki Khan from London on April 03, 2018:

A great story Robert, loved reading it.Pictures were great too.Thanks for sharing with us.

Robert Sacchi (author) on March 28, 2018:

That's true but sometimes being in a well preserved, or restored, area can give a good perspective on what happened there years earlier.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 27, 2018:

Robert, this makes me homesick to see my ancestor's homes, but you can't ever go back the past is lost in the past.

Blessings my friend.

Robert Sacchi (author) on March 27, 2018:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 27, 2018:

Robert I was really entertained the way you developed this story amazing short

Robert Sacchi (author) on February 16, 2018:

Glad you enjoyed my short story. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Eastward from Bangkok, Thailand on February 16, 2018:

Well done, Robert. I'll be thinking of your story next time I have deja vu, wondering if my ancestors walked the same path.

Robert Sacchi (author) on November 29, 2017:

Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, stories of family roots are popular.

RTalloni on November 29, 2017:

Imagining the details of how life worked out for ancestors and pondering how their lineage wound up with the people of today is always good food for a writer's plate. Planning to read The Painting... and The Giant Castle.

Robert Sacchi (author) on October 21, 2017:

Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed reading it. There are two other chapters, The Painting of the Ruins and The Giant Castle.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 21, 2017:

Robert, this story was a joy to read. I wish there were another chapter or two. Thank you for writing this.

Robert Sacchi (author) on September 22, 2017:

Thank you, I appreciate the FB post and the encouragement.

C E Clark from North Texas on September 22, 2017:

Came back to check this very interesting well written story out again. This time I'm posting it on FB where it will hopefully get a couple more readers. I really think you should keep this in mind for a novel too.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 15, 2017:

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. At the suggestion of Peggy Woods I took the story forward with The Painting of the Ruins and then with The Giant Castle. I also made it into a screenplay which I posted on Amazon Studios and Zoetrope. Thank you.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2017:

I enjoyed this short story. I too feel you ought to take the story forward. It would be interesting to see if you can give a new twist here on. Thank you.

Robert Sacchi (author) on April 17, 2017:

Thank you John for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

johnmariow on April 16, 2017:

Very well written. Excellent characterization. I enjoyed reading it.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 02, 2017:

I have 7 short stories out on Hub Pages. They have all been out there for a while. As of last Friday the highest number of hits one got was 46, most of the others got about 30. My Hubs in general don't get many hits, my tastes are a bit offbeat. What you may want to do is go to the most popular short stories and ask those authors what kind of traffic they're getting with them. You could also transfer 1 or 2 of yours as a test. I have posted many Hubs on WWII aircraft. The most popular got over 1,000 hits and the second most popular has received about 650 hits. Hopefully this information is helpful in making your decision. Good luck.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on January 02, 2017:

Do you find you get a lot of views on your stories? I have a World War II novella I started elsewhere but would like to transfer over to here. I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort to transfer them and then continue writing them. I enjoyed it when I did.

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 02, 2017:

This is the first part of it. The 3 short stories are written so they can stand alone. I did write a screenplay titled "The Link with the Past". I have it posted to Amazon Studios.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on January 02, 2017:

I'll read that next. Do you have a name for the entire work yet? Was thus chapter 2 or chapter 1?

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 02, 2017:

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. That is a good idea you have of using the Arabian Knights formula of stringing stories together. Thank you. At Peggy W's suggestion I continued the story with The Painting of the Ruins and The Giant Castle.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on January 02, 2017:

I enjoyed your story. I agree with Au fail in terms of trying to work toward complete chapters. Continue with with your plot but imagine every chapter as a complete short story. This will let you continue to move the plot forward toward a complete novel but take it one chapter at a time. This might make it easier to write for you since you just have to think in terms of taking the next part of the grand story but writing only the equivalent of a short story. It will also give you a definite jumping off point and end point for each chapter. I look forward to reading more.

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 08, 2016:

I think you have a good point. My stories usually lack subplots. Thank you.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 08, 2016:

Each chapter could have a subplot. One chapter would be about 20,000 words. One step at a time, one chapter after another and they all fit together into one story.

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 08, 2016:

My problem is not the size of the project. I tend to be plot driven. So usually when I come to "the end" I've written about 25,000 words if I'm lucky.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 08, 2016:

Take it one chapter at a time. Break it into doable steps. If you look at it as one huge project it will be overwhelming.

Robert Sacchi (author) on December 08, 2016:

Thank you. I did combine this and the 2 continuation short stories into a screenplay. I posted it to Amazon. Amazon rejected it but I left it there in case anyone has any input. It is one of the screenplays I'm trying to sell. I tend to have trouble coming up with the 50,000+ words for a book.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 08, 2016:

You really should flesh this out into a book. You have a great idea here and a good outline already to guide you.

Robert Sacchi (author) on October 24, 2016:

Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the story.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 24, 2016:

There's something about descendants returning to places of our ancestors that can hardly be put into words, but you have done it, Robert! I love your writings.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 22, 2016:

Thank you for reading and the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 21, 2016:

Robert, I can understand what Cathy felt. I had many, many feelings of Deja-vu, and I know a lot about my ancestors except the Irish ones which included my grandfather. I enjoyed reading this.


Robert Sacchi (author) on April 21, 2016:

You convinced me. I have been thinking about how to write it a lot these past two days. Thank you.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2016:

I can certainly see you moving forward with this story. It is open at the end leaving people wonder what might transpire next.

Robert Sacchi (author) on April 19, 2016:

Thank you for reading. I'm glad you found the story interesting. I viewed the story as the last chance for a descendant of Bridget O’Connor to make Bridget's return trip. I didn't think about a 2nd chapter. Maybe I should now.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2016:

Interesting short story. It begs a 2nd chapter! Would she go back to her boring life in the U.S. or make a new life for herself?

Robert Sacchi (author) on January 15, 2016:

Thank you for reading.

Randa Awn Handler from USA on January 14, 2016:

Thanks for sharing! Vivid narratives!

Happy New Year.

sujaya venkatesh on December 22, 2015:

a realistic narrator

Robert Sacchi (author) on September 05, 2015:

Thank you very much. Not so much, I grew up in Brooklyn, so there was the shoreline there. I've been to the New Jersey shore, and Virginia Beach. I have seen the Gulf of Mexico, from a Corpus Christi perspective. I have seen the Pacific from Inchon.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on August 24, 2015:

Very nice Robert. Good pacing and characterization. You could successfully run with this in chapters. I am thinking that two decades in service would allow you to describe a great many places that define the shoreline of our beloved Atlantic Ocean.

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