The West's Awakeby Cormac MacConnell
- Bishop Eamon Casey served us well, and deserves our prayers
- A lovely tale of island life in the paradise of West Clare
- The Boarding Out orphan was a wonderful pick
- How do the Irish regard their American visitors? With pride
- Absolutely no relation to US Republican politician Mitch McConnell
There was a debate here recently about all the implications of being a Paddy or a Mick on either side of the Atlantic. It was interesting.
For what it is, worth I made certain that none of my three sons would bear that burden. Accordingly they are called Cuan and Cormac Og and Dara.
I sipped an espresso from the small cafe behind me and looked down the floral path leading into the center of a walled garden that has become a major tourist attraction in the West Clare town. It was a long time before the reality of where I was, in historic terms, struck me like a bucket of cold water.
Down that very path, into the very same garden, the cruel Lord Hector Vandeleur walked with his agents away back in the post-Famine era, when his family owned the town, and planned the mass evictions of sick and starving tenants from his estates in an episode which is indelibly marked not just into Kilrush history, but nationally too.
There are times to keep your mouth tightly closed and there are times to yell. This is one of these occasions.
In the name of the sweet and suffering Christ Almighty what is wrong with ye over there? How is it even remotely possible that a significant number of the citizens of your mighty and well-educated nation have created a political climate which sees Sarah Palin emerging as the most likely Republican choice to contest the upcoming presidential election?
There is something quite exquisite and even exciting about stone walls and the men that build them. I've always thought that.
These craftsmen are working with grey chunks and flags of eternity building boundaries which will be still young when they are dead and gone. Stone walls last forever. And men don't.
I wept because of the damage that history did to my brain, because of the way it damaged the heads and perceptions of the good people, both Protestant and Catholic, among whom I spent my childhood in Ulster, because of the tortured and bloodstained impacts it had on all the people of this island, north and south, because of all the horrifics of all the Troubles between the two Bloody Sundays, because of all the tears and fears and heartbreaks.
And I remembered small things. My shopkeeper father Sandy was known for the high quality of the tea he sold in our country shop. When this old Queen was young and her coronation was being celebrated, the tea company in Dungannon sent out a gift hamper to their customers.