What I wanted from Ann in her kitchen in Dorchester the day before yesterday was a blessing, and miraculously, it was procured. For the first time I can remember she seemed to think I had turned out alright: I turned out to be someone you could talk to, someone who could understand, who it hadn’t all been lost on, who didn’t need to be condescended to and who didn’t require a translation of the basics. What’s more I think she saw how much like her I’ve turned out to be (for she raised me, I’m hers); she who has been learning all her life, an ocean between her and the land of her birth, working, and when necessary working through pain. I think she knows that I am, in my way, a person of enormous faith. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death…
-My Irish Soul-
“Look, I know it’s stupid, but I’m funny like that. I like my space. Crazy, I know, but what can you do? I think it’s because everyone at home asks so many bloody questions. Where were you? Until when? Who were you with? And the great bloody existential conundrum of course; Just who do you think you are? ” – Joseph O’Connor
“The Irish have a shrewd knowledge of the world and a strange reluctance to cope with it”- Sean O’Faolain
Thomas Addis Emmet + the United Irish Uprising of 1798 (My Scots-Irish Ancestors?…)
“The Irish were distinguished by qualities which tend to make men interesting rather than prosperous” – Moynihan
“I don’t think there’s any point in being Irish if you don’t know that the world is going to break your heart eventually” – Moynihan at JFK’s funeral
Mo cuisle- my blue-eyed darling- my lost lover- my blood… (Brendan, Liam, Brian…)
Derry- Point of departure for all my Irish Ancestors, Catholic (Dad’s side) and Protestant (Mom’s side). The Irish word for “Oak Grove”. Land of Cuchulain. The place where Columcille once prayed. Bloody Sunday. The burning Bogside. Wild Donegal to the West, Scotland to the East. Southeast to Belfast, Dublin, Wales and England…
Uisce fe talamh- Water under the ground. A consciousness of Race and place formed by history and circumstance whereby one grows up knowing things without realizing from where.
“Life is not lived until it is understood as a tragedy” -W.B Yeats
in Irish karma, too much success is only a prelude to catastrophe-
“Death makes life meaningless unless life achieves a form that Death can’t alter” -Seamus Deane
The Border Campaign
by Seamus Heaney
Soot-streaks down the courthouse wall, a hole smashed in the roof, the rafters in the rain still smouldering: When I heard the word “attack” in St. Columb’s College in nineteen fifty-six it left me winded, left nothing between me and the sky that moved beyond my boarder’s dormer the way it would have moved the morning after savagery in Heriot, its reflection placid in those waterlogged huge paw marks Grendel left on the boreen to the marsh.
All that was written and to come I was part of then, at one with clan chiefs galloping down paths to gaze at the talon Beowulf had nailed high on the gable, the sky still moving grandly. Every nail and claw-spike, every spur and hackle and hand-barb on that heathen brute was like a steel prong in the morning dew.