For the love of family

Today we had a little sleep in, could sleep for days in this homestead as there isn’t a squeak of noise so different to our home in Melbourne, we sometimes feel like we are sleeping in the middle of a freeway the traffic can be that noisy.

Our home while in Northern Ireland ~

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Anton, wee Aidan and I head into town so I can get a desperately needed blow wave. It was about a 6.5/10 in comparison to yours GG, nonetheless I was pleased to have neat hair again. Anton and Aidan looked through the Carrickfergus Castle while they patiently waited for me. Once I was all done we walked back home to get prepared for a moving day ahead.

The Carrickfergus Castle ~

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The walk was no issue for some ~

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Anton, Aidan, Shaun and I head off for County Tyrone, the area my mum and her nine siblings were raised. We toured the land they grew up on, the schools, the churches and the land they harvest. We even stopped off and said a few prayers at the church my mum was baptised in. Shaun was a pretty fabulous tour guide and I really enjoyed refreshing my memory on where my Irish heritage all started.

We arrived at my mum’s sister, Aunty Ann’s house and are welcomed into her home for the next few days. The home is still as striking as I remember, the only difference is the chicks have all flown the nest; all four cousins have left home and had seven babes between them.

It’s another pot of tea and then a couple of wines, catching up with cousin Jacqueline, her husband Billy and their wee one Anna, what a princess this little four year old girl is, she is overflowing with personality and has the whole household well sorted.

Double trouble Anna x2 ~

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We get ready for mass; it’s a special mass for dear Tom, delivered by a priest that has fond memories of my mum in her childhood days. How special of our Irish family to organise this for Tom and for our granny and granddad Owens who have passed. I feel so lucky to have spent time with them at our last visit. The mass was touching and it was so comforting to be surrounded by so many of the Owens aunts, uncles, cousins – grand kids and great grand kids. Aunty Emma did a Stella effort on organising this service. As I lost a few tears down the side of my cheeks, I looked around thankfully to be surrounded by so much love.

Half of the Owens great grand kids~

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A few of the Owens ladies ~

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And a few more ~

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And a few more ~

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We had planned to do cousins photos individually with each Owens family.. Umm we got one done..

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After mass we stopped by granny and granddads grave, it was in celebration of their Golden wedding anniversary that I came to Northern Ireland last time with my mum and sister Madeleine and now during this visit I give them my love at their burial site.

We arrive back at aunty Ann’s with the rest of the gang; there are five of the ten Owens children and their children and also their children here. It’s absolutely overflowing with Owens’. An aunt and uncle from Northern Ireland were unable to make it and uncle Brendan (who I mentioned earlier) lives in Manchester and he was unable to make it and my mum and aunt Patricia remain in Australia.

It’s evident the aunties and cousins have been cooking for days for this dinner party ~ so much food, we were desperate for a home cooked meal and this definitely did the trick. Anton and I were welcomed with aunty Ann’s famous chocolate cake (how bloody cute is that), it felt like we were getting married again standing in front of the cake, posing for photos as we held the knife pretending to cut through.

Our Welcome cake ~

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We sat up till the early hours of the morning, chatting and sipping wine. We were so overwhelmed with the love and generosity from my family and just how special this night had been for us and in spirit Tom. We cannot express enough gratitude to the whole of my (absolutely massive) Owens family for their efforts in making such a memorable evening.. Thank you all so much..

As I head to bed, I’m pretty chuffed to see a text sharing the greatest news and photos of my new little niece Violet Ivy Wilson. Big congrats to my sista Mags.. X

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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