In 1985 I started my newspaper in Running Springs, The Alpenhorn, and Pete Shaw wrote incredible articles for me each week. At the time he was principal at Charles Hoffman Elementary School and fortunately, I have a lot of those wonderful stories and this wonderful story is one of them. With St. Patrick’s Day just a little behind us, enjoy this beautiful story. He wrote it in about 1988 or 1989 and as a good “Irishman”it took on even more significance.
Enjoy “A Visit to Ireland” from 1988 or 1989
“Kerry, Donnegal, Clare, Killarney, Conemara, Galway, Tralee. “Those musical names are counties in Ireland. I recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by visiting the “auld sod.”
From the moment I stepped off the plane and put my foot on Irish ground, the country took me over. The first impressions I received were the warmth and outgoing nature of the Irish people.
There is an expression in Ireland that “a stranger is simply someone you have not met.:
Talking is an art. First of all, lots of time is allowed for conversation. Asking directions often results in a half-hours exchange of words and laughter. The words are like lyrics and the voice and tone are like a melody. Not once did I experience a rude or indifferent response to my questions and comments.
There are authentic characters in this country. Old farmers with weathered faces, wool caps and rubber boots; fresh, cream-faced children with twinkles of innocence, sturdy young men with blue Celtic eyes and the Mums and Nannies.
it is the women, the Mums and Nannies, that are the oats in the meal of the country. They are all the time saying their “glory Be’s” and “God willin’s.”
I talked with several young Irish girls who told me the reason they marry at such a late age or even not at all is because the mother’s and grandmothers’ spoil the young men terribly. This has created a population called the “Bachelor Boys.”
Everything in Ireland is documents in song:
Sure I love the dear silver that shines in your hair,
and the brow that’s all wrinkled and furrowed with care.
I kiss the dear fingers so so toil-worn for me,
Oh, God bless you and keep you,Mother McCree.”
The land in Ireland is velvety green and slate grey. It is an ancient landscape with rounds of soft hills that provide the backdrop for old moss and ivy-covered ruins. “Sure a little bit of heaven fell out the sky one day, and nestled on the ocean in a spot so far away….”
Castles, seacoast lookouts and fortresses dot the landscape. Its aura is timlessness, gentleness, patience.
One gets the feeling there must be little spirits mischivously inhabiting the hedgerows, overgrown stone hunts and lush glens of the countryside.
“Time goes on and the happy years are dead,
And one-by-one the merry hearts have fled.
Silent now is the wild and lovely glen,Where the bright laughter will echo ne’er again.”
If one word could express the feeling of the country I would have to say it has a “lilt” about it. Always there is a soft humming and twinkle about the people and the land.