Dublin Sunrise

On cloudless mornings the sun rises over Dublin Bay, brilliantly illuminating the skies. Today I thought I would share some photos I took this summer, as Dublin slowly came to life, together with my poem, Dublin Sunrise. Hope you enjoy these words and images.

 

Dublin Sunrise Over Howth

An immense dark sky

Flushes in expectation,

Casting a glowing sheen

Across shimmering waves.

Dublin Bay At Sunrise

Branches glisten

With gleaming dewdrops.

Supporting an orchestra

Of chirping birds.

Sunrise over Howth

Shades of crimson deepen,

Streaking the sky,

Pulsating with knowledge

Of this day’s dawning.

Dublin Bay At Sunrise

Over Howth hill’s darkened rim

The sun rises,

Announcing its arrival

With radiating fiery stripes.

The sun rising over Howth and Dublin Bay

And as the sun continues

Its astral climb,

Dublin simply

Goes about its business.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

 

 

 

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The Old Woman Of The Roads

Tonight as I write, the wind is howling and snow is falling for our first winter storm in Kentucky this year.  Every time the mercury falls way below freezing and the icy winds blow, I think of the homeless and pray they find warm shelter.

A poem I learned at school a long, long time ago comes to mind.  The Old Woman Of The Roads is the prayer of a homeless woman, longing for a little house to call her own.

http://vintagerio.com/details.php?gid=52&pid=2498Image Credit

The words of this poem will probably resonate through my head until I am old and gray.  I couldn’t remember the words of a song I heard yesterday if you paid me, but poems from my youth come easily.  Perhaps this is because I committed them to memory when I was young.  Or perhaps these simple words struck a nostalgic chord in my heart and therefore became part of me.

The Old Woman Of The Roads

 

Oh to have a little house!

To own the hearth and stool and all!

The heaped up sods upon the fire,

The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains,

And pendulum swinging up and down!

A dresser filled with shining delph,

Speckled with white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day

Cleaning and sweeping hearth and floor,

And fixing on their shelf again

My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night

Beside the fire and by myself,

Sure of a bed and loath to leave

The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,

And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,

And tired I am of bog and road,

And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,

And I am praying Him night and day,

For a little house – a house of my own -

Out of the wind and the rain’s way.

By Padraic Colum

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gracesmith/3717598113/in/photostream/Image Credit

Every time I hear these words I think of my Granny’s house in County Cork.  It was everything the old woman of the roads ever prayed for.  Blue and white willow pattern plates adorned the dresser, a cuckoo clock ticked and chimed, echoing through the warm cottage.  The air was tinged with the sweet smell of a turf fire, and an ever-boiling kettle hung on a blackened hook above the lapping flames.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/irishfireside/1695872685/in/photostream/Image Credit

My Granny lived the simple life this old woman yearned for.  Perhaps, because I knew every corner of her dream house, this old woman’s unfulfilled prayer made me sad as a little girl.  Now that I am a grown woman, I am thankful for her lesson.  It has made me more aware of the plight of so many homeless people here in America and around the world.

Tonight as the wind blows, and the ice sheets form, I pray that my fellow Kentuckians, who are homeless on this bitter night, may find a place to lay down and rest, out of the wind and the snow’s way.

 

Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

 

Irish American Mom

 

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What I Miss About Ireland – Swans

 

Galway SwanPhoto Credit

Crisp October days bring back memories of swans. Each and every autumn flocks of wild swans arrive in Ireland, to escape the harsh winters of their northerly, summer homes.

Yeats was inspired by The Wild Swans at Coole:

“The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.”

Mother swan and baby

Swans inhabit America as well as Ireland, so why do I miss Irish swans? The answer lies in their numbers. You never know where you may spot wild swans in Ireland, especially in the autumn and winter months!

Swan in GalwayPhoto Credit

Ireland’s rivers and canals are filled with mute swans, her year-round residents. Swan numbers grow exponentially in autumn upon the arrival of wild swans from colder, northern climes. Ireland’s swan visitors arrive from Russia and Iceland. The loud, bugling calls of whooper swans echo through the air, amongst the rushes and reeds of Ireland’s numerous lakes.

 

Swan on nest - Co. KildarePhoto Credit

Wild swans love lonely enclaves, on secluded lakes and waterways. The western counties of Ireland boast many perfect spots for these shy, wild birds.

 

Swan in the rushesPhoto Credit

Swans are without doubt, the most beautiful of all waterfowl. Gracefully curved long necks, accentuate pure white plumage on their large contoured bodies. Despite a distinctive big-footed waddle on land, the moment they slide into water, their majestic surface glide is mesmerizing. Standing beneath flying swans, Yeats watched their slow, rhythmic wing-beats and outstretched necks as they “climbed the air.”

 

Swan nestingPhoto Credit

Swans are famous for forming mongamous bonds that last for years or sometimes life. Both male and female work together, helping build their nest on ground near water’s edge.

 

Cygnets on the CorribPhoto Credit

How swan cygnets were ever called ugly ducklings amazes me!

Unlike their fowl cousins (chickens, ducks and geese), swans have been spared a kitchen table fate.  Swans are revered in Ireland and the answer to why they avoided our dinner menu, may lie in Irish mythology.

An ancient Irish tale tells the story of the Children of Lir. His daughter Finnoula, and three sons, Fiachra, Aodh, and Conn, were turned into swans by their evil stepmother.  They spent 300 years on Lough Derravarra, 300 more years on Inishglora and finally 300 years in exile on the Sea of Moyle. Nobody in Ireland would dream of harming one of these poor children.

Below is a sculpture of the famous mythical quartet in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.  I ate my lunch beside them many afternoons, when I worked at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

 

Garden of RemembrancePhoto Credit

In England swans were once hunted to such an extent, they came close to extinction. Therefore. they were declared property of the crown. As sovereign property, killing a swan may warrant an archaic punishment. Nobody wants to be locked up in the Tower, or worse!!!!

Swan preening his neckPhoto Credit

And so, in parting I leave you with a few more lines from Yeats, to turn your thoughts towards swans.

“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?”

Sligo swan on nestPhoto Credit

My swans are in Ireland.  Hopefully one day I will visit in fall or winter, to see all of Ireland’s migratory and permanent resident swans.

 

Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

 

Irish American Mom

 

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