We first met the wonderful American Bridget O Malley ( yes the most Irish name) a few months ago as she arrived into the stunning little village of Leenane. Herself and family have taken to Ireland and Connemara like ducks to water! You can read more about her journey on her great blog – connemarican.com
Here is her short blog post on the Purple Door & Leenane
“This is the first picture I took of a friend in my new home. I took it in The Purple Door Café.”
The picture is of Chloe, who owns the café with her husband, Conor. Their daughters go to school with my son in the village. They have helped make this place home for our family, and that’s just one of the many things The Purple Door represents here.
I moved last year from America to Leenane, a small village in north Connemara just at the Galway-Mayo border. A few hundred people live in this area year-round, and in the warmer months, it swells with visitors from all over Ireland and the world. When I talked with friends about moving – especially Irish friends who knew how remote this part of the country is – they were curious how a city girl like myself could make it work. “Don’t worry,” I assured them. “I’ll be just fine. Sure there’s even a café.”
People go to a café to feel welcomed. In the early weeks following our move, and on many occasions since, I’d bring my laptop to the café to work in the company of others. I’d buy the paper and read it there, doing the crossword with Conor when he had the time. When my mother-in-law came out from Galway, I impressed her with an array of freshly baked croissants and scones, and “real” coffee, as she called it, and when my son turned 8, the café supplied me with the most beautiful (and tasty) birthday cake. When my dog ran away from our garden one day, Chloe chased him down the road to save him.
In September, my parents flew on an airplane for the first time in a decade. They immediately fell in love with our village. Rain or shine, they made the rounds, meeting everyone who lives and works here. A favourite routine each morning was to go to the café for an hour or two, relaxing and chatting with anyone who walked through the door. I recall one moment in particular, when the weather was wet and windy, Conor opened the door to the car and helped my mother out, saying, “Let’s get you in out of the rain.”
Anyone can go somewhere like Starbucks for coffee – but you go to a spot like The Purple Door for community. I see it in the neighbours who stop for takeaway, in the tourists who seek advice or directions over a cup of soup and a wrap.
One thing I have learned about life in Connemara: it is seasonal. Summers are chaos and winters are calm. It’s winter now, and the village is quiet. There’s snow on the mountains. Clouds move in reflection on the tranquil surface of the fjord. But the community is well and strong, and The Purple Door is open.
So come on in.