Tuesday 30 May, 2017
Every little girl dreams of being a Princess in a Castle. We grow up with stories of Snow White and Cinderella but no one really believes that they can live in a Castle – even for a short time.
Today I felt like a Princess. As I watched the tables being laid, the flowers being arranged, the food being plated up and people running to and fro to ensure that everything was ready for my High Tea to take place in Enniscorthy Castle, I felt like a Princess.
I had to keep pinching myself that this was really happening. I was so excited.
As my guest arrived, some that I knew and some that I had only briefly met, their excitement and joy was obvious.
Newspaper Reporters came and took our photos, details were taken and then the High Tea began.
I welcomed each and every one of my guests and thanked them for coming.
As planned, David Hasslacher gave us a walking tour of the castle explaining how different it was from his time living in the Castle. Being last inhabitant of Enniscorthy Castle he gave us a revealing look into life in the Castle. His friend Bernadette whose mother was the down stairs chamber maid talked about her memories of the Castle. Betty whose mother was cook who had lived in the Castle for 12 years gave glowing reports of life in the Castle.
David knew so much and explained all the photos on the walls. He was very entertaining.
The video made especially by Mayor Joe Rettino of East Gippsland Shire for the occasion, with his warm greeting and invitation for the Irish people to visit East Gippsland was well received.
By then it was time to indulge in the delicious afternoon Tea catered by William Kinsella and his Staff of Wildflower Cafe. They effortlessly kept replenishing the tea and coffee and we enjoyed all the delectable food he had spent hours preparing for us. It was truly delicious! I especially loved the Lemon Drizzle cake – a favourite of Queen Elizabeth 11.
As we sipped tea from the dainty china cups, the banter flowed and everyone from Enniscorthy was interested in hearing what had happened to John Prendergast, Irish Rebel, transported for his involvement in the 1798 rebellion. I was able to tell them his story and played the video that my darling husband Barry had spent dozens of hours making especially for this event.It brought to life his story and his family’s once he arrived in Australia.
Cathy Keane was happy to add her knowledge of local genealogical experiences, David wanted to know more about my own dad’s experience during World War 2.
The High Tea has inspired the local Enniscorthy people to show case their area to genealogy tourists. In watching the other video of our trail to follow the Prendergast family down the East Coast of Australia, a number of the guests commented that they would love to visit as they felt very welcome.
I showered Cllr. Paddy Kavanagh with the gifts sent by the 4 mayors of the districts that John Prendergast and his children and grand children had settled. He was like a child at Christmas! He was thrilled with the gifts and promised that he would read my own dad’s book first – the R.A.A.F Bairnsdale. On behalf of my Irish Australian family I was delighted.
The High Tea began at 2pm and ended at 4.30pm. As each guest took their leave, I could tell from the comments that they had all enjoyed the afternoon, and so had I.