The West's Awakeby Cormac MacConnell
- Looking forward to cutting ties to the ties that bind my throttle
- 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
An hour ago I was all set to go out with ye for another whimsical meander through the west in winter, and I had a story in my head about the whereabouts of the best bottle of poitin in Connacht this fall and a recollection of Charlie Chaplin himself once pulling a pint of porter for me on a Good Friday in Kerry.
But that is all gone now because of something I heard 20 minutes ago which made me both sad and mad. I’m sorry about that, but I have to get this off my chest.
Here is a lovely yarn for ye which, quite literally, comes from very close to paradise in the County Clare and which, I must confess at once, was generated in the local media this week by my friend and former colleague Claire Gallagher of the Clare People newspaper and not by me.
I am simply extending the reach of the story with the additional hope that some of you readers, especially the many with Clare connections, might feel like helping to create an even more lovely yarn with another touch of paradise to it.
He was a banjo player and a good one too, but that was not the reason at all why he was nicknamed Picker.
It went back far further than that to the late 1930s in a Dublin orphanage when Jamie and Annie from a hard Roscommon farm were driven by Jamie’s advancing rheumatism to take part in the then common enough practice of taking a boy out of the orphanage under what was called the Boarding Out system.
I was asked a question this week in Durty Nellie’s in Bunratty about exactly how we native Irish regard visiting Irish Americans, and it took me three swigs of my coffee (too early in the day for anything stronger!) to digest all the parameters of the query and to answer it to the best of my ability and totally honestly.
I know the topic is one which arises here more than rarely but, frankly, I had never thought about it before in any depth at all.