In early April, while cheering for our Island spring, a date came up for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the signing at the Northern Ireland peace treaty. It had marked, formally, the end of The Troubles — as the years of violence and sorrow, of conflict and segregation by religious beliefs were called — had more than “troubled” Northern Ireland, including Belfast.

I’d visited Belfast more than once during the 1980s and 1990s, for Amnesty International, for certain trials and for the founding of its first women’s political party, with side trips for Tim Phillips’s burgeoning Beyond Conflict.

During that time I made a foray down to Dublin for pleasure. It was there I saw Gerry Adams for the first time. He was participating in Distant Woods — an annual Sinn Fein gathering I was given a front row seat for. Later, in Belfast, when I got into potential trouble myself, we became friends.

In August 1996, while my husband Bill Styron and I were hosting a dinner that included President Bill Clinton and Hillary and literary pals, a call came at dessert time on our kitchen phone from Belfast. It was Gerry Adams, asking to speak to Bill Clinton, whom he had never spoken to before. It was the first direct contact the two important men had.

The president, returning to our table, announced that Gerry Adams had asked him to come to Belfast. Gerry had said he thought the era known as The Troubles could be ended, the divided parties united, the violence abated more quickly, if our president would come to confer.

“So I guess I’ll be going to Ireland,” the President said.

A year or so later, after more conferring, he went.

Bill Clinton also traveled to the April 2023 celebration in Belfast. So did many other international dignitaries, including Beyond Conflict’s Tim Phillips (a frequent Vineyard visitor). Journalist and Vineyarder Charles Sennott was also there and filled me in on his experience, including meeting my special friend Monica McWilliams who started the Northern Irish Women’s Coalition when I was there years ago. Her new memoir is excellent and I look forward to another Island visit from her.

Sinn Fein is now a leading political party in Ireland. It surely was not during my visits in the ‘80s and ‘90s to Belfast and Dublin. But given its current status meant that its founder and ex-president Gerry Adams was also invited to come to New York before the celebration in Belfast.

Geralyn Dreyfous, who is a favorite Island guest resident in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven and who won this year’s Oscar for her documentary Navalny (which everyone should see), secured us two front-row tickets to the New York event. We met with the principals during a long break, wherein Bill Clinton, Gerry Adams and I (name-dropping again?) reminisced about that phone call at Chez Styron.

Now I awake again with pleasure on our Island and cheer to find myself in such a remarkable, artistic, political and caring “bubble.” It’s year-round friends and visitors keep me connected, even feeling young in my old age.

Rose Styron lives in Vineyard Haven.