We rarely get two bites at happiness in life.
This weekend in glorious West Kerry my sister managed to.
Derval is sixty something and lost her beloved Paddy Hogan to cancer some years ago nursing him lovingly in his final illness.
Then it was home to an empty farmhouse in Meath with kids flown or about to fly as kids do.
But the script of lonely widowhood got rewritten when Mick stepped in.
Mick Foley was an old boyfriend from her teen years, who had underwent a divorce and kids flown and was feeling the loneliness too.
A couple of years after Paddy had passed comes a note from Mick, if she ever wanted to chat he was available.
She replied and they met up and rekindled a dying ember.
On Friday, they married at the beautiful Blasket Center in Dunquin deep in the Kerry Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) not far from where Derval’s father and indeed Mick’s father had hailed from.
West Kerry, a notoriously fickle friend when it comes to weather, co-operated if a little grudgingly. One of the most beautiful landscapes in the world was bathed in summer-like sunshine when the couple arrived for the nuptial.
The fields of gold and green sparkled in the sun, the sullen morning rain disappeared, and even a rainbow streaked the sky conspiring to please, as if approving of second time love.
The ceremony was by the local Irish clerk of the courts, a woman, the view from the windows across the Blasket Sound to the faraway island was stunning, Earth had nothing to show more fair.
The mist descended later in the day, and the Great Blasket disappeared, like the mythical Irish island of Hy Brasil -- but it had made its stately appearance.
I felt all the old family ghosts of generations past there in spirit. Since Michael and Mary O’Dowd settled in nearby Kilcooley in Famine times according to Griffiths valuation, the O’Dowds have lived and worked in West Kerry.
My father grew up on the same small farm, one of fourteen children. My cousin and his son farm it now.
Now a daughter was coming home for a second bite of happiness and the spirits whispered their approval.
My six siblings were all there, our first time united in several years and Mick’s family came from Australia and all over the Irish island.
The years advance and Father Time ticks to his inevitable close but every so often our joy still breaks out.
It did in West Kerry on a sunny Spring day in March 2015 for Derval and Mick.
As they departed the Blasket Center the musicians played “Oh the days of the Kerry Dancers” and hearts lifted.
It was good to be alive.