Kate stared. In all the years she’d known Phil, she had only ever seen him take his
watch off when swimming or showering, otherwise he wore it constantly, declaring
he couldn’t even sleep properly if he wasn’t wearing it.
“I can’t stand the idea of ever being late for something, anything at all!” he’d
admitted once when she’d teased him about this. Now, however, he appeared to
be breaking the habit of a lifetime, and she was at a momentary loss to understand
Phil spotted the look on her face and chuckled. “Livin’ on Tulsa Time…” he quoted
at her—another habit he had, of finding an appropriate song lyric from his memory
banks to cover just about any occasion. Kate waited patiently. Sometimes the
reasons for his choice of lyric weren’t immediately obvious to her.
“Yeah, well, it seems to me that the pace of life is so much different here! A
calendar is more useful than a wristwatch. We don’t want to lose track of the date
and forget to take Gerald back home on the right day now, do we?”
Kate grinned and toasted him with her coffee mug. “Phil, you don’t know how much
I’ve been wanting to see you slow down and relax a bit more. You’ve really driven
yourself far too hard these last few months, you know? If anyone deserves a real
slow-down, get-off-the-motorway type of holiday, it’s you!”
“Tell you what, sweetheart, the only clock I’m taking any notice of the next few days
is the biological one that lets me know when I should eat…drink…and…”
“And everything else, yes, thanks, I get the picture! Look, is that a pub ahead?”
“Gerald seems to think so; he’s almost breaking out into a…a fast walk, I suppose
you’d call it!”
Phil’s less than complimentary description of Gerald’s speed was a little bit unfair,
but if truth were to be told, not by very much. Gerald was definitely getting long in
the tooth, but good for a few more years of tourism before a well-earned retirement
The hand-crafted sign outside the pub stated without fuss the patently obvious fact
that this was indeed Michael Ashe’s Pub, their first night’s scheduled stop. Even
before they drew onto the forecourt, a young lad of at least thirteen or fourteen
appeared from somewhere behind the pub, wearing a leather apron and carrying a
The pail hit the ground immediately in front of Gerald’s eager muzzle; a currycomb
appeared from one of the boy’s apron pockets even before Phil and Kate had
dismounted. Gerald was so deeply engrossed in his well-earned drink that Phil was
certain the groom’s hand on the bridle was completely unnecessary.
“You’ve had a good day, then.” Not a question, a statement. A couple of pub
patrons wandered out of the door, pints in hand, to observe the new arrivals.
“Fine, thanks.” Phil wasn’t expecting this opening conversational gambit and felt
unsure how he ought to respond. The groom nodded and continued to brush the
horse with long, smooth strokes.
“I’m Sean. This auld tippler likes his Guinness, so he does! If he was any quicker
getting here from Patsy Slat-tery’s, I’d be putting my wages on him to start winning
races at the Curragh!” Sean said.
This drew a ripple of amusement from the bystanders, who reminded him that it
would be a few years yet before he’d be allowed inside a bookmaker’s office.
Gerald had by now emptied the pail and licked it completely dry. An apple was
produced from the depths of another apron pocket, and eagerly accepted.
Phil thought about offering to start releasing the buckles of the harness. He was
stopped in his tracks by a voice be-hind him.
“Sure, the lad will sort that for you when he’s finished grooming.”
The speaker was a middle-aged man wearing a traditional striped apron. A clean,
tidily folded towel hung from a belt around his slight paunch. Phil assumed this was
the manager of the bar. “Michael Ashe?”
“The very same, and you’d be the couple from Patsy Slattery’s stables down the
“That’s right, Phil and Kate McDermott…”
For a few long seconds, time seemed to freeze. Phil noticed that everybody
paused even in the raising or lowering of their respective glasses, and not a word
was spoken. Finally, Michael Ashe seemed to shake himself and asked, “You’re
planning to stay down by the lakeside for a few days, Patsy’s telling me?”
“Yes, that’s right. I’m researching family history and we wanted a break.”
“And how far has your research taken you?” Michael Ashe’s eyes glistened.
Phil hesitated, suddenly reluctant to admit that their reason for making the journey
lay in something as nebulous and insubstantial as a recurring dream. Some sort of
answer, however, was required, and the landlord’s open sincerity and interest
encouraged him to open up far more than he normally would to a comparative
“I traced the family line for both my parents, and the Internet was a great help. I can’
t imagine how long it might have taken me if I’d had to trudge from one library or
register office to the next searching for documents!”
He turned to hand Kate down from the box seat, and a gentle pressure from her
fingertips confirmed that she had understood his verbal side-step. As Kate
smoothed out her clothes, Phil turned back to Michael. “I’d like to refresh the
glasses of those present, and add something for two thirsty travelers…”
Kate’s recurring dream of an ancient Chapel on an island is
becoming longer and more detailed with each night. Her
husband, Phil, decides it’s time for a break. Kate has hopes that
“Getting off life’s Motorway” might also help her relax and become
pregnant – a subject she has not yet discussed with Phil. They
combine the trip with research into his family tree, which he has
been postponing due to pressure at work.
Their arrival in the village of Kilronan causes great interest,
although initially they encounter a degree of suspicion. Phil
learns that he may be entitled to claim the title of Clan Chieftain
(‘an MacDairmada’) – and that certain responsibilities go with the
Will Phil and Kate use their professional skills as photographer &
commercial artist to resolve an ancient mystery concerning the
Clan history? Or will they return to the city, forever leaving behind
the chapel of her dreams?
|The Chapel of Her Dreams
"The Chapel of Her Dreams is rich in Irish
culture and focuses on the relationships
between individuals and Phil and Kate's
growing love for the community they initially
only plan on visiting. It is not a fast-paced read,
nor one with significant conflict; rather, the
mystery unravels at the gentle pace of the
village, in fact. An interesting, heart-warming
read." -Laura Johnson
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