Éirinn go brách

Ever since I can remember I’ve always been in love with all things Ireland. For the last two days I’ve searched my memories, wondering why. Why am I so fascinated with a country to which I’ve never been?

Surely, my dad is responsible for the influence. Before the Red Sox finally won the championship after seven or so decades, people used to ask me why a Southern girl like me could be so hopelessly in love with a team from “up there,” Boston. My dad loved Boston, and therefore so do I.

I always hoped I could take my father to a Red Sox game. I doubted he’d ever make it to Fenway, but I crossed my fingers for Atlanta. It never happened. When I was pregnant with Michael, I traveled to Boston just about this same time of year, determined to put my feet into Fenway Park, not for me but for my dad. I was determined to do whatever it took.

The first time the security guards kicked me out. This was for my dad.  I couldn’t travel all the way from Tennessee just to be told no. I was going in. If being arrested were part of the deal, so be it. But instead I pleaded with the security guard, and he let me in, and I got to see that glorious Green Monster. I stood in away and took in every detail so I could bring it home to my dad.

There is so much Irish influence in Boston. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to Ireland.

I remember planning a week in advance what I would wear to school on St. Patrick’s Day—the holiday of my people. I was determined, even as an elementary school kid, that I was Irish. The funny thing is that’s exactly what my son Michael did when he was in elementary school. He told all of his friends he was Irish. He would come home and tell me his buddies all commented on his Irish brogue, which, by far, does not exist. His Southern drawl is as Southern as they come.

I’m not embellishing the truth. Irish blood does run through my veins. My great-grandmother Clancy’s parents were born in Ireland. But I also have roots in Denmark. My other great-grandmother immigrated from there.

I think all writers need a magical place that fuels their imagination. For me, that place is Ireland. My favorite place to write a couple of years ago was a coffee house called the Celtic Cup in a nearby town. I used to take my laptop and sip on a peppermint mocha while Irish music and lush Irish scenery played on the flat screen hanging near my table.

And at Christmas a group of local musicians asked me to play Celtic Christmas music with them. I’m not so great at guitar, but I loved the music. I was enchanted by it, moved by it.

I’ve always dreamed of going to Ireland, but I never really believed I would. I am afraid of heights. Therefore, I am afraid of flying. (To be more exact, I’m afraid of falling, crashing.) Therefore, I could never imagine myself on an airplane.

Oh, it’s not like I haven’t flown before. My dad worked with a man who had his pilot’s license, and he took us up in his tiny little four-seater plane. The ride was miserable. My parents kept saying, “Why don’t you look down? Look down. You’re scared, aren’t you. Look at her.” Then they laughed.

I don’t think I would have been so nervous about the whole ordeal if they hadn’t been telling me how afraid I was. Plus, the guy who was flying us failed his motorcycle test on multiple occasions. You tell me? Wouldn’t you have been a bit unnerved?

And for years, I have felt it is just not Biblical to fly in a plane. If God wanted me to fly, we would have given me wings. Right? There’s scripture to back me up—Matthew 28:20. “Lo, I am with you.” It doesn’t say anything about being up there among the clouds.

But times have changed.

I have decided that one day I will go to Ireland, even if it requires strong drink or heavy medication. I will board that plane.

Ireland is like a magnet that just pulls me toward it. Maybe it’s my destiny. But if I ever do go there, I’m not sure I’ll ever come back.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
~ Irish Blessing

10 thoughts on “Éirinn go brách

  1. I know how you feel about Ireland, ever since I can remember it’s always been my favorite place, while other kids had boy band posters on their walls and computer screens I had pictures of the Cliffs of Moher and Poulnabrone Dolmen. I watched countless pbs shows and ate up anything that had even mentioned Ireland, from books to movies. I was always secretly afraid that when I got there I would have built the experience up beyond measure and my visit would fall short, (cause I was going come hell or high water)
    I went on my honeymoon and let me tell you it was well worth the scary stomach churning flight.I found the sites as beautiful and magical as I’d fantasied.The people were friendly, the days were long, if somewhat windy and occasionally wet, and the ocean oh the ocean, I can close my eyes and still see it viciously beautiful and that seventh wave crest of myth. Everything about Ireland felt like home and I dream almost on a daily basis of going back. If I hadn’t gone with my husband, I might not have come back at all. Now we share a dream, of retiring one day in Ireland, probably won’t ever happen but its the new dream.
    P.S. The picture of the castle you have up there. Its Dunguaire Castle. I’ve been there. Its a little bit outside of Galway. They have a medieval banquet there at nights and the actors recite irish poetry and sing.WHEN you get to go I definitely suggest it but if you don’t like cold thin fillets of smoked salmon you may go hungry, like I did, so have a snack before.

    • Cindal, you paint a picture just like I imagine. I absolutely cannot explain why I am drawn there, but I am. I have no doubt that someway, somehow I will find a way to get there. I can’t imagine a more romantic spot for a honeymoon. I’m so glad you got to go. Everyone needs a dream come true. I can’t imagine being in a castle. I really don’t know that I would like the salmon, but I believe I would give it a try. I really do want to see the ocean, feel the ocean. I’ve always been a little (a lot) spontaneous, so one day I may just decide to go. I watch the PBS shows too. I watch every movie with an Irish theme. I read books. And the books I write–they all have something Irish in them. I just don’t know why. It’s ALWAYS been that way. I guess it was just meant to be.

  2. Loved loved this post. I really became hysterical laughing out loud. Being married to a McCarty, St Pattys has always been a big one for us. Today I’m cooking Guinness Irish Stew and Colcannan. Of course the really good part is the drink, which Richard takes care of.. Black Bush and Smithwick Beer. Irish music is playing in back round. It almost seems like like what I imagine Ireland must be because it’s been raining for a week and everything is green and mushy.

  3. Kuby, I know you are a marvelous cook. I bet your meal was simply delicious. It’s been a little bit rainy here too. I’ve never been to Ireland, but there are a couple of place close to my home that I “pretend” is Ireland. One is a place called Beechgrove. I think it may be too hilly. The other place is Franklin, or more specifically, a little place outside of Franklin called Henpeck. The land is so green there. It’s so lovely. And when I think of Franklin, I think of music. I think I will go listen to a little Irish music tonight as I settle in for the evening. I hope your St. Patrick’s Day has been fantastic.

  4. While visiting with an Irishman in Bundoran, he questioned me about a famous street in Nashville that he could not remember the name. After rattling off a few possibilities such as West End, Broadway, 16th Avenue South and Granny White Pike I could tell I was not getting close. The street he was looking for? Printers Alley. :0). Do make the trip.

    • That’s funny. 🙂 Printer’s Alley is not the same place as it was “back in the day.” I’ve been there a couple times on walking tours of Nashville, once with my family and once with a friend when we attending a SCBWI (writers) conference. We knew no one else but signed up to go on the tour anyway. We ended up riding with a lady and several other people we didn’t know. The tour was fun and entertaining and a nice way to enjoy the evening. The tour guide took us to Printer’s Alley to tell us about a ghostly legend. My friend and I were so caught up in taking pictures that we didn’t see the majority of the group moving on. We were following the people in front of us, and they decided to stay there instead of continuing the tour. Needless to say, we were frantic trying to find our way back to the group. It was pretty ridiculous. So when I think of Printer’s Alley, I have to laugh.

      As for going to Ireland, it’s definitely on my bucket list. My sociology classes just watched the movie Leap Year in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and to study the customs and traditions of Ireland. The movie is a great motivator too. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. 🙂

  5. I hope you have the opportunity to travel to Ireland someday and have an adventure… and then write a novel based on your experiences that becomes a bestseller and allows you to revisit as often as you wish. : )

    • That would be a dream come true. Right now, I have a “mental escape” that I can go away too. Plus, I love watching movies with Ireland as a setting. Leap Year is on my all-time favorites list now, right up there with Serendipity. It’s always fun to hope.

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