those recent stories had been blown out of proportion, and he acted as if he were still very interested in peace. He said that’s why he left Belfast, to get away from the violence. In fact, he did such a great job of talking it up that I was almost convinced.”
“But not quite?”
She sighs. “I know what I heard. Sean is just one of those Irishmen with the gift of the blarney.”
“So what are you going to do about it?” I ask. “Shouldn’t you warn someone?”
“I already did.”
“Who did you tell?” asks Ryan with a worried expression.
“My editor back at the magazine. I figured that would be the safest route. He’ll contact the authorities from over there. We don’t want anyone over here tracking this back to us.”
He nods with very serious eyes.
“Are we in danger?” I ask.
Sid pats my hand. “No, sweetie. We’re not in any real danger. But it was pretty exciting getting the inside story…and sad….”
“Do you think you really stopped something?” I ask.
She shrugs and takes a sip of her Guinness. “I sure hope so.”
“Time will tell,” says Ryan.
“But you can see how this puts a whole new twist on my story.” She stares off into space. I almost think I can see the wheels spinning in her head. “It’s not what I hoped for, but just the same I can’t wait to start writing. People need to know what’s going on here. Disappointing as it is, it will do no good to hide these facts.”
“You won’t put yourself in danger, will you?” says Ryan with real concern. “I mean, you know what kinds of things can happen over here.”
“Don’t worry, Ryan. I’ll be very careful. Especially since I have you two with me. In fact, I may have to act more like a tourist than a reporter now.”
“For a cover?” I say.
“Yes. I’ll continue with my peace-camp interviews, but I’ll make it all seem fairly low-key, like we’re mostly here just to see the sights.”
“Why?” I ask. “Do you think someone is actually watching you?”
“This is too weird,” I say.
“Don’t be worried, Maddie,” she says in a comforting tone. “I’m sure I’m making this into far more than what it really is. And I suppose I could be totally wrong about Sean too.” She glances over her shoulder again. “Just the same, you guys are sworn to secrecy about this. Understand?”
“Of course.” Ryan gives her a firm nod.
“Sure,” I say in a light tone. “Like who would I tell anyway?”
She gives me a fairly stern look, as if this really isn’t funny.
Okay, that sort of worries me. What have I gotten myself into?
F or the next couple of days, we act like regular tourists, tooling around Galway County and touring castles, monasteries, formal gardens, seaports, the highlands, and even a small, family-owned farm. (I promised my dad I’d check out the agriculture.) One of my favorite spots was a castle that I actually discovered myself while taking an early morning walk. The castle is actually more of a ruins but really mysterious looking. It’s off of a gravel road that’s just a little ways out of Clifden, and I had to walk through a field inhabited by some rather intimidating bulls. But being a farm girl, I just kept my cool as well as a wary eye on the animals until I climbed over the fence stile. There before me, shrouded in fog, stood a big stone structure that looked like something right out of a fairy tale. I almost expected to see a captive princess waving from one of the high arched windows. But as I got closer, I saw that it was only a shell of a castle. All windows and doors were missing, and there was grass, vines, and even some small trees growing inside. Still, it was fun to explore the grounds, and I considered the people who dwelled there in previous centuries. I can’t imagine that the castle had ever been very warm or cozy in Ireland’s cool and damp climate, not to mention that it was locatedquite close to the sea. I guess