Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Oyster Haven's Irish Cousin

I made the most wonderful discovery on Sunday.  It was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it truly was.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me start from the beginning.  Okay, so my husband and I were at Oyster Haven, finishing up a week or so of work on the house.  Located on the shore of beautiful Lake Champlain in upstate NY, we are planning to open it up as a VRBO rental property starting on June 1, and it's just about ready to welcome its first guests.

Anyway, I had my laptop set up on the kitchen table, and I was enjoying gazing out at the lake as I posted this Instagram picture (with a reminder about the Rosary giveaway I'm currently hosting here at the blog).
I've got to admit that I'm enjoying Instagram enormously these days.  I think I like it better than Facebook, actually--partly because no one seems to use it as a proverbial soapbox to trumpet their political views or disparage Christians, but mostly because it showcases some of the most beautiful photos you will ever see.  Instagram has inspired me to put a lot more thought into every photo I take, paying special attention to lighting, angles, and composition.  Coming up with the "perfect" picture fills me with delight, it does.  And I can see why many bloggers have transitioned from the blog to the 'gram, because they are able to say so much with so few words--creating mini-blog posts that are easier for busy readers to digest than full-length articles.

The best 'grammers are the ones who are able to write the pithiest blurbs to go with their photos, and to use the hashtag most cleverly and effectively.  Some of the Insta-hashtags are absolutely hilarious (I'm thinking of Grace from Camp Patton and Dwija from House Unseen, Life Unscripted when I say this).  I have not figured out how to employ the hashtag the way the young whippersnappers are doing it; but I'm trying, folks, I'm trying.

In an effort to abide by the 21st-century rules of engagement, I'm trying to remember to add hashtags to my Instagram posts.  (My hashtags are pretty boring; but #givemeabreak #improbablyoldenoughtobeyourmother.)
Therefore, whenever I post pictures of our lake house on Instagram, I add #oysterhaven.

Well, I don't normally even think of clicking on hashtags to see what else is out there...but for some reason this past Sunday, after I posted my picture, I clicked on #oysterhaven, and it took me to other photos with that same hashtag.  As I scanned the first page, I saw several pictures that I've posted right there front and center, showing both inside and outside views of our Oyster Haven house.
When I first glanced at that picture on the top right, I thought it was one that I'd posted of the view of our back yard...then I realized that we don't have our outdoor furniture yet.  But can't you see how it would make me do a double take?

Here are a few more of our photos, part of the #oysterhaven collection on Instagram.  Note the arrow pointing to our view...
...and here's an arrow pointing to the photo that fooled me for a second into thinking it was one of ours.
To me, those two views were practically twins, or at least distant cousins.  My curiosity was definitely piqued.  So of course, I clicked on that photo to see what it was all about.  And to my utter delight, I found out that it was a picture of a place called Oyster Haven Bay, in Kinsale (County Cork), IRELAND!

Oh my goodness, I could not have been more thrilled to know that we had inadvertently named our lake house after a place in Ireland!  We wanted the word "oyster" in the title, since we are Pearls and oysters are homes for pearls.  And we have a little secluded inlet behind our house, so we considered calling our place "Oyster Bay," but thought that sounded too much like a body of salt water rather than a freshwater lake.  My husband grew up in a neighborhood by the lake that had the word "haven" in its name, so as a nod to his roots we therefore ultimately decided to name our VRBO house "Oyster Haven."  We thought it was a good name; but knowing that there is a seaside vacation retreat in Ireland with the same name (and with some views that look eerily like ours!) is just the icing on the cake.

Because if you've been coming here a lot over the past five years that I've been blogging, you might know that my husband's maternal grandfather (after whom he was named) came to America from County Cork at the age of 19.
You might also know that my husband's family is Irish on both sides, my mom is part Irish (a Kelly by birth), and I am an incurable Hibernophile  (dictionary definition: person who is fond of Irish culture, Irish language and Ireland in general. Its antonym is Hibernophobe. The word originates from "Hibernia", the word used by the ancient Romans to refer to Ireland).  If you are familiar with the content of and/or have read either of my two Catholic novels, you are well aware of this obsession I have with the Irish and their culture.  God love the Irish!

It warms my heart to imagine that many years ago, my husband's grandfather might have gazed out at Oyster Haven Bay, in his native County Cork.  And now, his grandson and I have a home by the water, with the very same name as that Irish cousin by the sea.
Sitting at the kitchen table in Oyster Haven, with a
picture of Oyster Haven Bay, Kinsale, County Cork,
Ireland on my computer screen.
It just seems very fitting.  Very fitting indeed.

(A little reminder before I go: if you'd like a chance to win the beautiful blue cord Rosary in the photo at the top of the page, leave me a comment by midnight on Mother's Day!)


  1. How cool is this?? And yes, that photo would have definitely caused a double take! I love little coincidences like this.

    1. I love them, too! The name seemed so right...and now it feels like it was truly just meant to be!

  2. I love this post! I like the way you're catching on to instagram. But Oyster Haven and the twin pics? And the relative from the past coming from there? Wow, this blew my mind! Very cool, Laura!! This is the kind of *coincidence* that would make for a good backdrop in a novel. You should use it in your next book!

    1. Aileen, if only I had time for writing novels! Lately, I'm too busy painting and cleaning and thinking of ways to make this place comfortable for renters.

      But that's an interesting idea, using this as a backdrop...hmmm, you never know. ;)

  3. Oh, also, I'd like to add my comment for a chance at the rosary. :)