I am sitting at my desk in the west of Ireland, just a wave away from New York.
It is spring apparently, but I don’t see any flowers attempting to brave the chill and the financial climate is no brighter…you know all about that.
Spring will also bring the Burren to life, my favorite place in the world. The limestone hills sit like broody hens along the Atlantic coast. Wonderful, rare flowers will bloom in the crevices of the desolate moonscape with the perseverance of the young traveller girls baring flesh in the bone-cutting westerly breezes. But there is an old saying……
You can’t eat scenery.
We are losing 1,500 people a week, and I can feel the pain of their broken hearted mothers across the country as they pack their bags.
My 16 year old boy, my 6’2” pride and joy, came to take his clothes on Friday. I blamed a sad documentary on the TV as tears streamed down my face later that evening.
Childhood over, no more thump, thump, thump as the ball hits off the side of the house, practicing hurling every day for the past 10 years.
How it drove us mad that thump, thump, thump. We roared, ‘Would you ever stop? You’ll break another window.’
And if it stopped for a minute it was nearly worse because you didn’t know when to expect the next thump and your nerves would be wrecked. But what I would give to hear it again.
He isn’t going abroad. He is only moving half an hour away with the innocent notion of a career “riding horses,” and the total incomprehension of the naivety of his decision to quit school the year before his leaving cert.
As the method actors who access their painful life moments to portray emotion, I can easily put myself in the place of all the other mothers who are crying and whose young people may decide to stay where life is easier and home will become a quick holiday once a year.
So that is the way it is here -- still beautiful, still colorful, we are still laughing, still playing music. Spring will come and we will leave a light on in the window.
(Bermingham lives in Galway with her family)
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”