Where do the McCourts go when they first arrive back in Ireland in Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt? What kind of welcome do they recieve?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's autobiographical account of the first nineteen years of his life, some of which are spent in America. When they are unable to make a go of it in the United States, the family returns to Ireland. After a week at sea, the McCourts

arrived at Moville, County Donegal, where we took a bus to Belfast and from there another bus to Toome in County Antrim. We left the trunk in a shop and set out to walk the two miles up the road to Grandpa McCourt's house.

The walk is interesting to the kids because they have never seen cows, sheep, or goats, and there are plenty of them to see on this walk through the countryside. Of course, like most kids, they are full of questions; however, their father is abrupt and angry with them. Though his children do not realize it, this is a strong indication that their father is at least a little nervous and on edge about the reception they are going to receive when they arrive at his father's house.

They catch a ride for part of the way from the local priest; he is kind to them and says he hopes to see them all at Mass--"especially the little Yankees who [don't] know what a priest [is], God help up." This is the first reception they get in Ireland, and it is certainly a mixed one.

The reception they receive once they reach Frank's grandparents' house is also mixed. Grandpa simply acknowledges their presence, despite the fact that he has never met any of the family before. Grandma does not even acknowledge her son; she just keeps cooking. Later, all the aunts and uncles and cousins arrive. They all kind of nod and look at the recently arrived McCourts, but not one of them speaks to the new arrivals--most of whom they have never even met, remember.

Eventually there is some conversation between Frank's parents and his grandparents, but it is terse and could probably even be considered unfriendly. There is no personal conversation, no interest at all in anything personal from either Frank's parents or his grandparents. It is an impersonal reunion, at best. When they talk about the future, the best the grandparents will offer is the loan of bus fare for the family (but not for the twins, who they say can sit on their parents's laps) so they can go to Dublin and try to get some aid.

In short, it is not a warm or friendly reception by anyone's definition. 

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