Irish Eyes

Justin looked out the window of the gallery.  The summer was drawing to a close.  In about three weeks he would go back to PIFA for his third year.  He had not had a good summer.  He hoped things were going to improve from now on.  Brian had been through a crisis, one that almost ended their relationship, but somehow they had managed to survive it.  Things had to get better.


Brian was recovering from some old demons that had come back to haunt him.  He had been seeing Dr. Frank Jamison pretty intensely for the last couple of weeks.  He seemed to be improving, coming to terms with some events that had shaped his life and beliefs.  He and Justin had stopped fighting all the time which was a major improvement.


Justin was tired.  He had learned a lesson about trying to work two jobs and please too many people.  He doubted that he would ever try to do that again.  However, he wasn't nearly as tired as he had been when Brian was in crisis.  The strain on their relationship had been enormous, and at one point he had been ready to call it quits.  Looking back now he didn't think he would have really done that, but he had been so exhausted.  Trying to deal with Brian at the best of times was hard.  The depressed state that he had been in had sapped every ounce of Justin's strength.  Thank God they had got help from Dr. Frank before it was too late.


He wished he had had a more restful break from school.  He thought he would be ready to handle the new school year, but he would have liked to feel relaxed and prepared, and that definitely wasn't how he felt.


He sighed and turned back to the office.  He heard the phone ringing as he neared the door.  He hurried inside and picked it up saying, "Granville Gallery".


"Is this Mr. Justin Taylor?" a voice asked.  It sounded vaguely familiar.


"Yes?" he replied.


"I'm calling to inform you that you have won a trip of a lifetime …"


"Brian?  Brian, is that you?" Justin asked recognizing the poor attempt being made to disguise the voice.


"You caught me, Sunshine," Brian said.  Justin could hear the grin in his voice.


"What are you doing, calling and telling me I won a trip?"


"You have."

"What?  What are you talking about?"

"What do you think of two weeks in Ireland before you go back to school?"


"Are you serious?  Oh my God, Brian!  Do you mean it?"

"I do.  I picked up some brochures at lunch time and I was going to surprise you tonight, but I got so excited about going that I couldn't wait."

"I can't believe it!  Are you really serious about going to Ireland?"

"Yes, and if I remember correctly you said you would love to go with me."

"I did and I want to."  Justin couldn't believe how happy and relaxed Brian sounded.  This was the best he had heard him in a couple of months.


"I called to see if you could get time off from your job to do this," Brian asked, a hint of the old worry in his voice.


"I'll call Jane and tell her I want the time.  I'm sure she'll let me go, and I'll quit if she doesn't."


"I don't want you to screw up your chances to work there another time."


"I don't think it will, but I don't care.  I want to go with you!  I can hardly wait to get home and see what information you've got.  We'll have to go to Limerick where your family came from, and Dublin of course, and maybe Waterford.  What about Northern Ireland?"


"Slow down.  We're only going for two weeks.  We can look over the brochures tonight and decide what we want to see and do."


"I can hardly wait.  This is so exciting!"


"It is, isn't it," Brian said softly.  He had known this was just what they needed, after all the trouble they had been through.


"I'll try to get away from here as soon as I can.  Will you be home in good time?" Justin asked.


"I'll probably beat you there!" Brian declared.


"I love you so much!"


"I love you too, Sunshine.  Later."

"Later," Justin said softly.


He hung up the phone, a huge smile plastered on his face.  This was going to be the best – two weeks alone with Brian, in Ireland.  He could hardly wait.




The next few days went by in a whirl.  They had to make some quick decisions if they were going to get this trip in before Justin started school.  They selected some things they definitely wanted to do and talked to the travel agent who booked them a car and some B and B's.  They also got a hotel in Dublin where they decided they would end their trip.  They would fly into Shannon on the west side of Ireland and work their way south and across to Dublin where they would catch their flight to come home.  Brian also arranged for a little something for the first two days they were in Ireland.  He kept that to himself wanting Justin to be surprised and pleased after all the crap he had put the boy through.


They left Friday night, flying all night and arriving in Shannon early in the morning.  They slept a bit on the plane, but it wasn't a really restful sleep.  Brian had opted for first class and that certainly gave them more room and comfort than the poor slobs back in coach.


They picked up their car, a little Renault, very mini by North American standards.  Justin thought it was cute, but Brian wondered where he was going to put his legs.  Surprisingly when he got behind the wheel there was plenty of room for all of him.  It was a stick shift and they would be driving on the opposite side of the road, so they had decided ahead of time that Brian would do all the driving and Justin would navigate.


Finally they had all their bags loaded and directions of how to get out of the airport.  Brian had bought a good road map of Ireland and told Justin to find Cong.  When Justin balked at this because they had not discussed going there, Brian told him to do it and enjoy the ride.  It would be worth his while.  The little smile on Brian's face convinced the young man to do as requested and ask questions later.


They set out heading for Galway.  From there they would pick up another road heading north.  Justin couldn't figure out why they were doing this, when the trip they had planned was all to the south of the airport and they were heading north. 

At first they were on quite a good road which was much like any secondary road in America.  They could see fields and farmland alongside the road.  Even in late summer it was very verdant and lush.  No wonder it was called the Emerald Isle.


They stopped on the outskirts of Galway and got a coffee and a sandwich.  The city of Galway is on one side of Galway Bay, but they mostly skirted it, finding the road to take them north to Cong.  Brian still refused to tell Justin exactly where they were going and why.


They continued on a smaller road for another hour.  Gradually the road became narrower.  Brian had to keep reminding himself to stay to the left when every instinct told him he should be on the right.  At one point they came upon a woman walking beside her bike, at the same time meeting a car going the other way.  Somehow all three met at the same moment.  Justin held his breath and didn't hear a crash.


The other car kept going.  Brian looked in the rear view mirror and saw the woman walking her bike apparently unharmed. 


"Can you tell if she still has both her arms?" Brian asked.


"I think so," Justin let out his breath.


"I thought for sure I had winged her."  They both chuckled in relief.


As they neared Cong, Brian told Justin to find Ashford on the map.  They turned onto an even narrower road that Justin thought would take them to Ashford.  All of a sudden they came to a T intersection.  Brian stopped unsure which road to take and Justin studied the map just as confused. 


Across the intersection Brian saw what looked like a medieval gate.  Clearly carved on one side were the words Ashford Castle.  Brian smiled and pulled across the intersection and into the gate.  A man stepped out and Brian gave him his name.  He checked a list on his clipboard and told them to follow the road up to the main building.


"Is this really a castle?" Justin asked.


Brian nodded.  "It's where Pierce Brosnan had his wedding and where we're staying for the next two nights."


"We're staying in a real castle?"  Justin couldn't believe his ears.


"You got it, Sunshine.  Like the surprise?"


"Brian, I can't believe it."


"I was going to tell you it was the old family homestead, but it's really a hotel."


They drove for quite a while, noting the golf course on each side of the road.  They passed a stable and saw people on horses apparently taking a lesson.


"Can we do that?" Justin asked craning to look back at the riders.


"We can do whatever you want," Brian smiled.  "They have golf and tennis and fishing, although we should have brought Gus for that.  Or we can just relax.  Whatever your heart desires!"


They continued along the road which was really a driveway for about a half mile.  At last they came to a single lane medieval-looking bridge that crossed a substantial stream.  It had the effect of creating a moat with the castle on the other side.  It was a large grey stone building very imposing in appearance.  They stopped at what looked like the main door.  A liveried gentleman opened the car door and said he would look after their luggage and park the car.  They should go in to register.


They went through an arched doorway into a large foyer.  Up some steps was a sign saying 'Registration'.  A young woman with reddish hair and green eyes stepped forward.


"Mr. Kinney?" she said extending her hand.  "I'm Maureen O'Connell.  Let me welcome you to Ashford Castle.  Please have a seat at the desk and we'll get you registered."


Her voice had the most beautiful soft lilt.  Brian and Justin sat in the chairs at one side of the desk.  She went around behind. 


"Would you care for a drink?" she asked.


"A beer would be great," Brian replied.  Justin nodded his approval.


She signaled to a young man who stood nearby and he disappeared immediately.  Maureen handed some papers to Brian to fill out.  She asked for his credit card to make an imprint.  Before they had barely got started the young man reappeared with a tray on which were two frosted mugs of beer.


"I thought beer was always warm over here," Brian said taking a long drink of the cold liquid.  It tasted great after their driving adventures.


"We also cater to North American tastes," Maureen explained.


"And it's greatly appreciated," Brian said saluting her as he took another drink.


They finished signing in and Maureen told them they were welcome to take their beers out on the terrace.  She told them about the facilities of the castle which they could take advantage of, and showed them a schedule of meals, lessons and entertainment.  Other things could be arranged by special appointment. She gave them the key to their room and explained how to find it.  Their luggage had already been taken up.


Brian thanked her and they went out onto the terrace.  It was empty at this time of day but they got to look out over the gardens and the stream that meandered off into the distance.


"This is so nice," Justin said collapsing into a wicker chair. 


Brian sat down next to him.  "It's quite beautiful.  I hope you like our room."


"It must be costing a fortune," Justin had to say.  "You didn't have to do this.  I would have been happy with the B and B's."

"We'll have those for the rest of the trip.  I just wanted something special to start us off."


"I think this was a terrific idea."  Justin beamed his sunshine smile at Brian.


They finished their beers and went upstairs to find their room.  It was huge with high ceilings, wood paneling and rosy wallpaper.  The bed was enormous.  Justin flung himself onto it and declared it scrumptious.  Brian flung himself on top of Justin and declared him scrumptious too.  Brian started nibbling on Justin's neck, on his ear, on his chin.  They giggled and rolled around enjoying the luxury of the room and of their time together.


Soon the playful nipping and kissing became more demanding.  Their mouths welded together and passion swept through them.


"Shall we christen our bed with a little afternoon delight?" Brian asked breathlessly.


"That would be lovely," Justin replied in his best English accent.


"Hey, this is Ireland.  Talk like that will get you shot," Brian warned.


Justin giggled and attacked his lover's mouth.  Soon they were naked and rubbing hard cock against hard cock.  Justin managed to flip them over and pressed his body atop Brian's.


"Can I?" he asked.  Brian's eyes cloudy with lust looked back at him.  He nodded. 


Justin grabbed a condom and lube from the bag by the bed.  He laid them on the pillow and began kissing all over Brian's body.  He sucked on all the special places that he knew drove Brian crazy – his left earlobe, the little spot atop his collarbone, the area around his navel, the back of his knees.  Brian moaned and purred his approval.


Justin slid down and popped the top of the lube.  He squirted it on Brian's hole and worked the sweet little pucker open with his fingers.  Brian called, "Jussttiiinnnn," and began a groan that escalated into a full fledged roar as Justin found his prostate.  Condom on and lubed Justin pressed forward as Brian gasped, and then pushed back demanding more. Justin gave a further thrust and was completely in.  He loved the feel of this place, tight and soft and warm.  Brian was the reason he existed.  They were perfect together.


The rhythm began and each responded knowing the things that pleasured the other.  They pounded into each other, rocking and bucking in the age old dance.  Justin felt that tingling radiating from his groin and coursing up his spine.  He grabbed Brian's cock and stroked in time with his thrusts.  He knew they were both close and he timed both strokes to climax together.  The orgasms were powerful and satisfying.  They lay together savoring what they had just done, content in each other's arms.


"I hope the walls are sound proof," Justin said.  "That's more noise than I've ever heard you make."

Brian grinned.  "Must be the jet lag, or maybe the fine Irish air … or maybe it's that I love you so much I don't care if the whole world hears me."

"Oh, Brian …" Justin gasped, and he could feel the tears begin.


"Don't cry," Brian whispered, thumbing the tears off his lover's cheek.  "I want you to know what you mean to me."

"I thought we were losing each other a few weeks ago," Justin said sadly.


"But that's all behind us now.  We're going to have a great time over here."


"You bet!" Justin agreed.


They both yawned.  "We can't go to sleep now or we'll never get on schedule with Irish time," Brian said.  "Let's grab a shower and go explore."


They got up and went into the bathroom to discover an enormous tub.  A shower curtain hung around it.


"That looks tempting," Justin said staring at the huge tub and picturing him and Brian lying in it together, and then doing other more interesting things.


"Let's save that for bedtime," Brian whispered, noting the look in the young man's eye.


They used the shower and put on some fresh clothes.  A tour of the castle revealed the dining room where they made a reservation for seven o'clock, a pub called "The Dungeon" down a narrow flight of stairs, a walk-in fireplace with bench seats and the standard gift shop.


"All the conveniences of any American tourist trap," Brian observed.


"A little classier though," Justin felt compelled to say.


They went outside and walked through the gardens.  They were bordered by enormous hydrangea bushes with flowers of red and blue and white and coral.  The individual flowers were bigger than a person's head. 


"My mother used to wear a hat that looked just like that," Brian stated pointing to a pink hydrangea.


Justin chuckled.  "I can only imagine."


The terraced lawns were neatly cut and cared for.  There were several fountains and a freestanding tower from which they got a lovely view of the surrounding countryside.  They walked along the stream that marked the limit of the castle grounds and saw a mother swan with her almost grown babies.  Coming back to the front of the building they walked across the narrow bridge that had given them their first glimpse of the castle.  On the other side was a boat docking area.  They stopped and talked to the man who was on board the one boat tied up there.  He asked if they wanted to go fishing, but it wouldn't be the same without Gus.  Justin wanted to go horseback riding, so they walked down toward the stable.  The lessons were over for the day, but they talked to the man grooming the horses and booked a private lesson for ten in the morning.


They sat on a bench and watched some people play golf.  Justin said he had played a few times at the country club, but it wasn't really something he enjoyed.  After awhile they hiked back up to the castle, going into the lounge and getting a couple more frosty beers.


By the time they finished those they decided to go up and get dressed for dinner.  They looked casually elegant as they presented themselves to the maitre d' at the entrance to the dining room.  They drew approving looks from those already eating, as they were ushered to their table.  Dinner was delicious, consisting of local salmon that was so fresh and delicious, baby peas and carrots and roast potatoes.  They shared a slice of apple torte for dessert, Justin eating the most of it.


Coffee was served in the lounge, so they went there to relax in comfortable chairs.  They also had a brandy and planned what they were going to do tomorrow.  Justin wanted to see if they could take the horses for a little ride around the estate after they finished their lesson.  A picnic lunch would be fun, they decided.  They went to the front desk to arrange all these things.


Once that was done they were both yawning and decided to forego the pub and head to bed.  Justin wanted his bath and began running the water.  Brian struggled to stay wake.  They lowered themselves into the warm water and both sighed in contentment.  Justin sat between Brian's legs and leaned back against his chest.


"This was a great way to begin our holiday," Justin told his lover.


"It's been good so far," Brian agreed.


He felt Justin shift around rubbing his delectable bottom against Brian's cock.  It responded immediately.


"I don't know if I can stay awake," Brian admitted.


"Something's awake," Justin replied, feeling the stiffening cock beneath him.


Brian chuckled.  "Sometimes it has a mind of its own."

"Let me," Justin said.


He rubbed some more getting the desired effect.  He felt Brian take in a breath and knew the man was ready.  He asked Brian to scoot up while he covered his erect penis with a condom.  When Brian sat back down Justin shoved him farther down to give him greater access to his cock.  He kneeled above Brian's groin his ass waving in Brian's face.  He felt Brian squeeze and fondle the shiny globes.


Brian held his throbbing cock and Justin lowered himself onto the rod.  He faced away from Brian, but felt the man grab his hips to steady him and help with his up and down motion, as he held on to the side of the tub.  He found by leaning forward he could get the friction he wanted and at the same time have Brian's cock hit his own prostate.  He slammed back into Brian eliciting groans of pleasure.  Water splashed over the edge of the tub as their coupling became wilder.  Brian reached around and stroked Justin's bobbing dick.  Justin loved the sensation of the warm water and Brian's hand and the hard cock up his ass.  Before he knew it he was coming and coming and so was Brian.  The cock in his ass pulsed and throbbed.


Justin slumped back against Brian's chest, the spent cock still inside of him.  He moaned and felt Brian's arms encase him as his cock slipped out. 


"We need to go to bed.  I'm going to fall asleep and we'll probably drown if we stay here," Brian said.


They reluctantly got out, toweled off and mopped up the floor with the used towels.  Naked they slipped under the covers on the bed, and were immediately asleep.  They awoke the next morning still spooned together and completely rested.


They had a quick breakfast and headed for the stables.  The lesson was good, but they both knew a bit about riding, and it turned out to be more just getting familiar with the horses than really learning much.  

When the lesson was over, the instructor told them they could ride the horses up to the castle and their picnic lunch would be waiting for them.  He gave them a good route to follow along the stream, saying there were lots of places to stop for their picnic.

They rode for quite awhile following the stream to a cluster of trees where they could tether the horses and sit in the shade.  They opened the saddle bags the castle had given them for the picnic and found a blanket.  They laid it out on the ground and settled down on top of it.  The other saddle bag contained sandwiches, cans of beer, veggies and apples.


They ate some of the food, talking about the rest of their trip and what they wanted to see. The sun glistened off the water of the stream.  Brian lay back on the blanket and Justin placed his head on Brian's thighs.  Brian ran his fingers through the soft blond hair in his lap.  They dozed happily in the shade for a little while.  Brian never really fell asleep and he didn't want to, realizing they were still dealing with some jet lag.  He gave Justin a little shove to wake him up.  Justin said he was awake and rolled on his side deliberately brushing against Brian's cock.


"What are you doing?" Brian asked.


"I thought fooling around in the outdoors might be fun."


"Really?" Brian said.  Justin's back was to the stream now that he had turned over.  "I didn't know you had become such an exhibitionist."


"Nobody will see us," Justin stated his face buried against the growing mound in Brian's jeans."

"The fishermen will have a real fish tale to tell when they get back."

He turned Justin around in time for him to see the fishing boat passing by in the stream.  Justin waved sheepishly to the people on board.


"Shit!  I guess that wasn't such a good idea," Justin admitted.


"It was a good idea, just the wrong place and time.  We should probably take the horses back anyway."


Reluctantly they gathered up the remnants of their picnic and mounted the horses.  A leisurely ride back to the stable left them with a couple of hours before dinner. 


"Let's go hit some tennis balls," Justin suggested.


"Good idea," Brian agreed.  "They feed you enough here for four people, so we can run some calories off on the tennis court.


They were both lousy at hitting the ball, but they got their exercise chasing down the errant shots and retrieving the balls they hit over the fence.  They laughed at each other's efforts and did their best to hit the ball as close to the other person as possible.  When they finally gave it up, Brian declared that they were pathetic tennis players, but they both had had lots of fun proving that point.


After a shower they had another delicious dinner, followed by coffee in the lounge.  They decided they would check out the Dungeon and its entertainment.  A young woman named Allnette Griffith sang and played the harp.  She had a lovely voice.  Her pianist was Brendan O'Byrne.  They sang Irish songs, some in Gaelic, and then led a sing-along with the audience.  Surprisingly Brian joined in and seemed to enjoy singing the old songs he must have heard his parents sing or heard at Irish get-togethers.


They tried Guinness and ended up having several glasses as the night progressed.  By the time they went up to their room, they were both a little unsteady.  Brian decided he was taking charge and fucked Justin's brains out, trying to get the young man to make more noise than he had made the day before.  He claimed he was successful but Justin swore that Brian had been noisier.  They both decided that maybe it was a good thing they were leaving the next day.




They awoke to a rather gray day, had some breakfast and packed up their belongings.  When they checked out, Maureen was again on duty and they told her they had really enjoyed their stay at the castle.  She wished them well for the rest of their trip and they set off towards Galway.


Once they passed Galway they rounded the end of the bay and headed for the Cliffs of Moher.  As they came along the south side of the bay they could see a large rounded rock off to their left.  It went on for miles appearing to be quite bare of vegetation.  Justin said it was called the Burren on the map.  They came to a sign indicating a tourist center called Whitethorn which explained the Burren.  It was created through glaciation millions of years ago.  The shale was worn away by the glaciers and these huge granite boulders called erratics were deposited.  The Burren looked barren but it had many types of tiny flowers all over it.  They were just too tiny to see.


Each of them was surprised by how interested the other was in the formation and description of the Burren.


"I didn't think you'd be interested in rocks," Justin said as they were leaving.


"I could make some joke about getting my rocks off or getting off on rocks, but truthfully I'm interested in lots of things that nobody would ever suspect," Brian stated.


"Like what?"

"I'm not going to say, but let's see how many we find before the trip is over."


"That sounds like fun," Justin said smiling and linking his arm through Brian's as they walked out to the car.


The road to the cliffs was very narrow and Brian found he had to concentrate on his driving.  They entered a car park for the cliffs and looked up to see people at the top of a steep incline looking out to sea.  They climbed slowly to the top.  It was very blustery and a little foggy, but they could see the sheer drop to the sea and the erosion by wind and water.  It was pretty spectacular, but would have been more so on a nice sunny day.


As they headed for Limerick the weather seemed to improve.  The sun broke through and the temperature was warmer.  The drive to Limerick took them most of the afternoon.  Finally they arrived and found Trebor House, the Bed and Breakfast where they would be staying for a few days.  Everything was tiny in Ireland they began to discover.  The castle had spoiled them, but here in the real world, they were staying in someone's house with other people.  They had to go round the block and park their car in an impossible tiny space in the back yard.  Sean, the man of the house, directed them into the space.  Brian wasn't sure how he would ever get the car out again or park it next time without help.  Thank God the car was almost as small as the parking space.


Margaret, Sean's wife, showed them to their room and advised them on some restaurants for dinner.  She asked Brian about his name, if he was of Irish descent.  When he said he was, she informed him that she knew a Kinney or two.  The name was not uncommon around Limerick.  Brian was rather torn.  His father's family was not something he had come to Ireland to seek out.  He had merely wanted to see the country where they came from.


Margaret wasn't about to give up easily.  She told them that a man named Kieran Kinney worked at King John's Castle in the heart of Limerick.  She said he knew the whole history of the Kinney clan and Brian should talk to him.  Brian was rather ambivalent about the whole idea.  He was very vague in his response to her suggestion.


Brian and Justin decided to drive into Limerick and have dinner.  They could look around a bit and decide what else they wanted to do.  They crossed the River Shannon over an old bridge.  A tourist bureau was open so they got some information and made reservations for a medieval feast at Knappogue Castle the next night.  When they returned to the B and B Justin had to direct Brian into their tiny parking space.  He could tell Brian's short tether was fast reaching its limit.


Sean and Margaret invited them into their living room for a drink.  Justin prayed she didn't bug Brian about finding his family.  Brian was touchy enough about that already.

Margaret told them that they should go to Bunratty Folk Park one day.  It was an historical park with a group of buildings and costumed characters who demonstrated how the people of Ireland lived in earlier times.  Artisans made crafts and there was a dinner and show.  They decided that might be fun for one day.


Margaret advised them to take the bus tour of Limerick and from it they could decide on some of the things they'd like to see in more depth.  She didn't say any more about Kieran Kinney, for which Justin was very grateful.


When they retired for the night, Brian looked tired.  He had done all of the driving and Justin knew how hard he concentrated.  He leaned over Brian and decided to give him the best blowjob ever, before they went to sleep.  When he was through and Brian's clear and glimmering eyes looked at him, he said softly, "Are those Irish eyes smiling now?"


"Maybe," Brian said slowly running his fingers through Justin's flaxen locks.  There was a long pause and finally he asked," What do you think I should do about this family business?"

"What do you want to do?  Would you like to meet some of them and see what they are like?"


Brian thought about that for a minute.  "Yes, I would, but I'm afraid they'll be like my father and I'll hate them all."

"What if they're like you?" Justin asked.


"Then I'll hate them even more," Brian said only half kidding.


"You would not," Justin chastised him.  "I think you should go for it.  You'll probably never be in Ireland again."

"Hmmm," Brian said, but Justin could see that he was seriously considering the idea.


"Let's do the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour tomorrow.  We have a couple of days before you need to decide."


"True," Brian agreed as he reached for Justin's cock.  It was his turn to administer an expert blowjob.


The next morning they had breakfast at the B and B.  They could choose from cereal, juice, bread, toast, bacon and egg and grilled tomato.  Actually there was little choice about it as that was what was set before them.  Justin devoured his and most of Brian's.  The man was horrified by the amount and content of the meal.


They took the bus tour of Limerick hearing all about the places described in "Angela's Ashes".  None of them existed anymore except the St. Vincent DePaul building.  Justin said he had not read the story and Brian told him it was one of the most depressing books he had ever read.  The poverty and hardships of the family in the book were unbelievable.  After he read it he could understand why so many people left Ireland to find a better life in America.


They passed by several impressive churches and Brian had some snide comments about the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church.  They also skirted the ruins of King John's Castle.  Justin looked at Brian wondering if he had made up his mind about meeting Kieran Kinney.


They went to a little tea shop for lunch.  The rest of the afternoon they roamed the streets and did a bit of shopping.  They returned to the B and B in time to get ready to go to Knappogue Castle for the medieval feast.


The route to the feast was on a little card that they had retrieved at the Tourist Information Center.  They followed it carefully, but gradually the roads became narrower and less clearly marked.  At one point they were on a dirt road and began to think they were totally lost when they saw a sign saying Knappogue Castle – 6 mi.  They kept going.  After ten miles on the odometer there was still no sign of the castle.  They really were lost.


They turned back but were unsure even that was the right direction.  When they saw a woman walking a dog, they pulled up beside her and asked if she could direct them to the castle.  She told them to go back through the town about two miles further on and then take the second right.


They did as she instructed, but once they got to the town they couldn't decide what were lanes and what were roads, so they didn't have any idea what the second right might be.  Once again they were sure they were lost.  They finally pulled into a house and asked again.  This time they got specific instructions.  The castle wasn't far.


When they arrived and parked the car they were relieved to have finally found the right spot.  Girls in medieval dress greeted them and gave them cups of mead to drink.  The dinner and show began.  To their chagrin it was all about medieval women and their place in the history of Ireland.  Justin thought Brian was going to bring up his dinner when they began explaining about the show.


It turned out to be quite funny with lots of quirky pieces of history.  There was singing and light-hearted fun.  They actually enjoyed it quite a bit and the food was delicious.  When the show ended and they went outside it was very dark with only a single light for the car park. 


They buckled themselves into the car and Brian started the engine.


"Shit!" he said.  "I have no idea how we got here.  Do you?"


"No," Justin admitted.  "We made so many turns and backtracks I have no idea."


"There were hardly any signs either."


Brian pulled around to the front of the castle thinking that he would get directions from someone inside.  However, if their directions were anything like the ones they had to get them there, they could be lost all night.  There were several buses loading up.  Just as they rounded the corner the Globus bus pulled away and Brian making an instant decision took off after it.


"What are you doing?" Justin asked.  "We need directions."

"I'm following that bus.  If it has a whole load of tourists, it will have to go to Limerick to find enough accommodation for all those on board."


"Oh," Justin said.  That made some kind of weird sense.


The bus tore off out of the castle.  The road was narrow and it was pitch black all around them.  Brian did his best to keep up with the bus on the winding road.


"Fuck!"  Justin heard Brian's exclamation.


"What's wrong?"

"That fucker is doing more than fifty miles an hour on these roads.  It's all I can do to keep up.  If we lose him, we are screwed."

Justin held on as they rocketed after the taillights of the bus.  After what seemed an eternity, they began to see lights and the outskirts of a city.


"I hope this is Limerick," Justin said.


"Watch for a sign," Brian ordered.


"There!" Justin yelled.  "It said Ennis."  He grabbed his map and quickly found Ennis.  "Shit!  It's the opposite direction from Limerick," Justin groaned.


"At least we know where we are," Brian chuckled, letting out a long breath.


"Yeah, thirty miles from where we want to be."


They both laughed to relieve some of the tension.  Just then they came to an intersection with a sign pointing to Limerick.  Brian turned in that direction saluting the bus which went the other way.


An hour later they parked the car in the tiny space at Trebor House and were thankful that they were finally home.




The next day they went to Bunratty Folk Park.  It was kind of like Williamsburg back in the U.S.  The history was all Irish however.  There were people showing how to make thatched roofs and weave Irish linen.  They spent the day wandering around and talking to the people who did the various crafts.


Brian seemed very interested in the metal worker who was making claddagh rings.  He spent quite awhile talking to the man while Justin wandered around the workshop.


"What was so interesting about that guy?" Justin asked as they left the shop.


"I really liked the Celtic designs and the craftsmanship," Brian explained.


"Hm, we've found another thing that you are interested in," Justin teased.


"Guess so," Brian said giving Justin kind of a funny look.


At dinner time they had booked the ceilidh, pronounced 'kayley', which meant get together.  They were ushered into a large room where Mr. McEnerny introduced his family.  They would serve the dinner but also perform between courses.  The dinner was delicious, simple Irish fare, cooked to perfection.  They had ale with their meal which began with a delicious salad, followed by the most incredible stew that either Justin or Brian had ever tasted.  In between there were members of the family who danced, sang, played the fiddle or penny whistle, told stories and just about anything else that you could imagine.  They had a simple but fun evening.


That night when they returned to the B and B, Brian was kind of quiet.  Justin wondered if he hadn't really enjoyed the day.  It wasn't the usual thing that either of them would choose to do.


"You're quiet tonight.  Is everything all right?" Justin asked.


"I've just been thinking," Brian explained.  "I'd like to go to King John's Castle tomorrow."

"Sure," Justin said with a little smile.  "Do you want to talk to Kieran Kinney?"  He had been hoping Brian would do this.


"I … think…so," Brian said slowly.


"I think you're making the right decision," Justin offered encouragement.


"I hope so."


Justin snuggled into Brian's arms to find his mouth covered in a warm and inviting kiss and his groin pressed against a hard and demanding cock.




They arrived at the castle just after it opened to the public.  They paid their admission, but then went to the information desk and Brian asked if Kieran Kinney was at work this day.  The girl told them he was and wanted to know if they'd like to speak to him.  She called on her phone and a few minutes later a man about sixty years of age with salt and pepper gray hair and a handsome face came toward them.


Justin took one look and saw Brian's eyes in those of the man in front of them.  Brian couldn't help but notice as well.  The man gave them an appraising look, then smiled and extended his hand.


"You have to be a Kinney," he said with a broadening smile.


"I do?" Brian asked.


"Those eyes have been passed down for generations," Kieran explained.


"I'm Brian Kinney.  This is my partner Justin Taylor."  Brian could tell that Kieran understood the relationship immediately.  It didn't seem to matter as the man's facial expression showed no change from the welcoming smile he had given them.


"Would you like to come up to me office?" Kieran asked.  "We could talk about how we might be related."  The Irish brogue had crept in just a bit.


"That sounds like a plan," Brian said.  "Do you want to come, Justin, or would you rather look around the castle?"

"I'd like to hear what Mr. Kinney has to say," Justin said.  "We can look at the castle later."

"Call me Kieran and I'll give you a personal tour," Kieran offered, "after we talk."

Both Justin and Brian liked this man immediately.  He seemed kind, unflappable and eager to talk to them.  Justin was very glad, since he knew Brian had been worrying about a face to face meeting with some of his father's family.


They spent a couple of hours in Kieran's office.  He had a family tree on his computer and was able to figure out that Brian's great-grandfather had gone to America from Ireland.  That man was Kieran's grandfather's cousin so they were distantly related.  He added Jack and Joan and Brian and Claire and her children and finally Gus to the family tree, thanking Brian for coming to him and updating the information.  Brian wasn't too keen on talking about Jack and Claire, but Kieran didn't know them and was very good at drawing Brian out.


After they had got all the connections squared away, Brian squirmed in his chair.  Justin knew he wanted to ask something, but was having an internal struggle about whether he should.  Kieran obviously was very perceptive too, because he studied Brian and finally said, "So ask me?"

Brian looked surprised for a minute.  Then he said slowly, "Is there a history of alcoholism in the Kinney family?"


"Name any Irish family and there's a history of alcoholism," Kieran said ruefully.


"Really?" Brian asked.  "I didn't think it was that bad."

"It's not," Kieran said quickly.  "Irishmen love their liquor, but I didn't mean to imply that everyone is an alcoholic.  There are certainly more than a few in the Kinney clan who would fit that description, but there are many more who don't.  I like a good drink as much as the next fellow, but I'm not an alcoholic.  How about you?"

"I don't think I'm an alcoholic, but my father probably was," Brian admitted.  "I do overdo it from time to time."  Brian glanced at Justin who smiled sympathetically.


"Don't we all!" Kieran added.  "As long as it doesn't get out of control, I don't think you need to worry."

Justin saw a look of relief pass over Brian's face.  He was glad they had come to see this man.


"Would you and Justin like to come to dinner at my house tonight?" Kieran asked.


"We don't want to put you out," Brian said quickly.


"You won't be putting me out at all, me boy.  Please come, I'd love to have you."

"All right, if you're sure," Brian said. 


"I'll invite a few other local Kinney's for you to meet."


Justin saw the momentary look of panic on Brian's face, but he had already accepted the invitation.  Kieran took them down to the castle which was mostly just the foundation, the rest having been destroyed over the years.  He told them the history and showed them some of the key exhibits.  After awhile he said he really should get back to work, but he was looking forward to seeing them for dinner.  He left and they wandered around for another hour, before leaving to go find lunch in a pub nearby. 


When they pulled up to Kieran's house in a slightly upscale part of Limerick, Brian looked nervous.  "It's going to be fine," Justin said patting Brian's arm.


"I'm not worried about dinner," Brian said.  "It's meeting more Kinney's that kind of freaks me out."


"Kieran's pretty cool.  Maybe the rest of them will be too."

"Not bloody likely, if my own family is any indication."


They went up to the door which was opened immediately by Kieran.  He welcomed them to his home.  They went into the living room to find a man a little younger than Kieran coming out of the kitchen.


"Brian, Justin," Kieran began, "this is my partner, Seamus."

Justin felt his jaw drop and then looked at Brian who seemed to be in the same state of shock.


"Why Kieran, you old dog, I didn't get that vibe from you at all," Brian said.


"Most people don't."

"My gaydar is usually pretty reliable," Brian said.


Kieran chuckled.  "Not in this case."

There were just the four of them for dinner for which Brian was eternally grateful.  Kieran said he had invited a few people for drinks later on.  He gave Brian permission to escape at any time if he didn't like them or found it all too overwhelming.  Justin had to smile.  Kieran was one quick cookie.  He seemed to have Brian all figured out.


They learned that Seamus worked in a bank and that he and Kieran had been together for almost twenty years.  Dinner was very good.  Kieran did most of the cooking for the couple and was quite a capable chef.  They had more than a bit of wine, enough to make everyone relaxed and in good spirits when the other family members started arriving.


Brian was sure he would never remember their names or jobs, but most of them were very outgoing and easy to talk to.  There were no outright alcoholics that Brian could pick out and that gave him some small comfort.  Maybe he had been wrong to think all the Kinney's were like his father.  Maybe that also meant that he didn't have to be like his father either.

They ended up staying late into the night listening to stories that the family members told.  After midnight people began heading out, most of them having to go to work the next day.  When they had all left, Brian and Justin were still there.  Justin could barely believe that Brian had not only lasted through the evening, but had seemed to enjoy it.


When they finally said they should be going, Kieran grabbed Brian in a bear hug and hung on.  "I'm so glad you looked me up, Brian," he said.  "I'd like to keep in touch with you."


"I'd like that too," Brian said.


"I hope the family wasn't too overwhelming.  There's actually a lot more of them around these parts.  This was just what was available on short notice."


Brian chuckled.  "Thank God.  That was plenty of Kinney's for one night."


"You didn't really mind meeting them, did you?" Kieran asked seriously.


"I had a good time and it was nice to see the kind of people they are."


"I'm glad … for you," Kieran said, a lot more being expressed in those words than one would think.


"Thanks for having us to dinner," Brian said, "and for … understanding."


Brian and Justin left Kieran's feeling like their trip to Ireland had been very worthwhile even if the rest of it turned out to be totally boring.




The next day they decided to drive to Adare, a little village they had heard about.  It called itself "the prettiest town in Ireland".  It was preserved in the old Irish style with colorful buildings, thatch-roofed cottages and picturesque gardens.  They wandered around for awhile and took some pictures, but there really wasn't much to do. 


They decided to head on to Killarney.  On the way they saw signs for Dunloe Gap and Kate Kearney's Cottage.  They turned off to see what this was.  The Gap is a valley with three lakes.  They took a trap, a small two seater wagon pulled by a pony, out over a trail to a spectacular view of the lakes.  It was quite a sight.


They had dinner at Kate Kearney's cottage and then headed back for Limerick.  Justin thought Brian seemed more relaxed now that he had met some of his family and faced the unknown that had been haunting him.


They had heard about the Ring of Kerry, so they got up early the next day to drive there.  Basically they drove around a peninsula of land on a two lane road.  This area was called the Ring of Kerry.  The road was unbelievably narrow.  There was much traffic and slow drivers.  Occasionally they met a bus which meant pulling as tight to the stone cliff as possible and hoping the bus could get by.  It took them most of the day with a few stops to look at the sea.  Brian was exhausted by the end of it, and Justin was too, from grabbing Brian's arm and willing it to be over.


When they returned to Limerick, they found a nice place for dinner.  Tomorrow they would leave for Blarney and the famous Blarney Stone.


The drive to Blarney didn't take too long.  They discovered the Blarney Woolen Mills which was like a big department store.  Brian bought them matching fisherman knit sweaters and some more gifts.  They went to Blarney Castle, arriving after most of the tour buses had left.  That meant they could get to see the Blarney Stone without a million other people in front of them.


Blarney Castle is mainly a ruin with most of the outer walls standing.  They went up the narrow stairs that led to the stone.  At the top was an open area with a hole at one end.  To kiss the Blarney Stone they had to lie on their back with their heads actually hanging out of the side of the castle several stories up.  Brian went first; not exactly sure he wanted to.  He leaned back and slid out so that upside down he could place his lips on the stone.  He teased Justin about being nervous, but Justin managed to do the same thing.  They were quite proud of themselves afterwards.


Getting down from the top of the castle was an adventure.  The down stairway was a narrow circular and rather dark staircase with worn stone steps barely wide enough to get their feet on.  Brian had more trouble than Justin because he was taller and his feet were bigger.  Justin ended up going first and warning Brian about the irregular steps, especially where Brian would need to turn his foot sideways to stay on the step.  There was a rope stretched down the center of the staircase for people to hold onto in case they slipped.  It was quite dark as they went down, adding to the claustrophobic feeling.


"The Irish are fucking insane!" Brian said when they finally emerged from the stairwell.  "If we had something like this in the U.S., it would be a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Don't the fucking Irish make anything that isn't for fucking leprechauns?  Everything is so tiny and narrow!"  Brian was pissed at having Justin lead him down and feeling out of control.


Justin giggled at Brian's tirade.  "Just think, now you can tell everybody what a sweet talker you are because you kissed the Blarney Stone, and survived."


"Not fucking likely!" Brian retorted.


"See!  You're sweet talking me already," and he grinned at Brian.


Brian burst out laughing and scooped the boy into his arms, kissing and hugging him.  "Thank you for saving me," he whispered.


"Anytime," Justin whispered back.


The rest of their trip was pretty uneventful.  They went to Cork and toured the gaol.  Somehow Brian thought that was appropriate.  It actually was a very interesting tour.  The rest of the port city was much like the other cities they had seen.


They moved on to Waterford and toured the Waterford Crystal Factory.  Brian bought a few things there, including a bowl that both he and Justin liked and they were sure Jennifer would love.


In Kilkenny they toured the castle which was more like a museum.  The castle was built in 1172.  Over the years it was added to.  It should have had four towers, but one had been blown up by Cromwell in 1650.  There were beautiful gardens outside the building which now looked more like a Victorian Manor than a medieval castle.  

Finally they headed for Dublin to stay at the St. Stephens Hotel.  It was quite a nice hotel on St. Stephen's Green, quite a change from the B and B's.  They walked down to Grafton Street which is a street made into a pedestrian walkway, and considered the place to shop in Dublin.  It had many North American stores and eateries and was very much like a mall back home.  At one end was the statue of Molly Malone selling her cockles and mussels.  Justin got a picture of Brian leaning against her, one he was sure would be good for blackmail somewhere along the line.


They went to the Temple Bar area where there are lots of bars and clubs.  They even managed to find a gay club and do a little dancing. 


Over the next few days they saw all the sites, including Christchurch Cathedral and Dublinia depicting the history of Ireland, Trinity College where the Book of Kells is located, the Georgian townhouses with the colorful doors, Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park and the Post Office where the 1916 rising took place. 


As their trip drew to a close Brian and Justin finished up their shopping and got ready to return home.  Brian called Kieran Kinney to say goodbye and make sure he knew how to contact him.  Once aboard their plane they had time to reflect on their trip.


"I had the best time," Justin said as they settled into their seats.


"So did I.  Even better than I thought I would," Brian agreed.


"You surprised me a lot of times."


"I did?  How?"


"Remember at the Burren when you said there were many things you were interested in that might surprise me?"


"Yeah.  Were you keeping a list?"


"Kind of.  You like rocks."  Brian grinned, but said nothing.  "You were very interested in that goldsmith who made claddagh rings.  You found out all about your family and stayed in a room full of them for a whole night."  Brian made a slight face and then smiled.  "You really liked seeing how they make Waterford crystal.  You kissed the Blarney Stone.  I never thought you would do that," Justin said.


"You can't come to Ireland and not kiss the fucking thing," Brian stated.


"Did you have a good time?"


"I had a blast, especially because you did it with me."


"I can hardly wait to get home and develop all our pictures and give everyone their presents and tell them about all the things we did, Ashford Castle and horseback riding and the Ring of Kerry and …"


"Take a breath, Sunshine.  I was there too.  You don't have to tell me."


"I know."  Justin swatted him playfully.  "I so loved every minute of it."  Justin looked at Brian until the man turned his head to stare into Justin's eyes.  "I see happiness and contentment in your eyes," Justin observed.


"For a day or two anyway," Brian agreed.


"Beautiful Kinney eyes, happy Irish eyes," Justin said softly running his fingers down Brian's cheek and snuggling closer to the man he loved.


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