Villages In North Cork – An Entertaining Video Series

Cork Videos produce short films of ordinary people, telling about ordinary things in towns and villages around County Cork, Ireland. I was delighted when Tony Kennedy, the producer of these films, e-mailed me to share his entertaining and informative amateur videos of North Cork villages.

These simple films share chats with locals, images of shops, points of interest, churches and schools – all-in-all a very thoughtful exploration of what makes these little communities tick.

Now, since my family hail from North Cork, just outside Kildorrery, I simply had to share this little snapshot of the village I know so well.


Famous Kildorrery Town:


Like many places in Ireland, Kildorrery even has it’s very own song, entitled “Famous Kildorrery Town.” The town is so famous, you’ve probably never heard of it, but hopefully this little blog post will help remedy that.  Here’s the chorus of our famous song:

“Have you ever been up to Kildorrery

Indeed if you haven’t that’s quare

Sure it’s only five miles from Ardpatrick

And three from the cross of Red Chair

And when at that cross you are landed

You will see a big hill looking down

And on top of that hill bare naked and chill

Stands famous Kildorrery town.”


This song is sung by Kildorrery GAA supporters at matches throughout the county and province. I just had to highlight the lyrics in Kildorrery GAA blue.


Elizabeth Bowen:


The writer, Elizabeth Bowen, whose family lived at Bowen’s Court just outside the village, described the area as follows:


“Kildorrery is so placed as to be a landmark for miles.

Cross-shaped, and of some size, it has the characteristics of a hill-village

– rather sad weathered houses, sky seen through arches, draughty streets,

an exposed graveyard, a chapel launched over the distance like a ship.

Though its name means church of the oak grove, one can see no trees:

the Ballyhouras are very near, to the north.

Only when Kildorrery stands full in the sunset has it an all celestial smile.”

- Elizabeth Bowen, 1942


It sounds like Elizabeth was in agreement with the “bare naked and chill” description by our local songwriter of years gone by.


North Cork Videos – A Glance At Kildorrery, County Cork.


And so, without further ado, here is a little snapshot of the little corner of Ireland I love so well.



If you enjoyed this little glimpse of Kildorrery there are more short films of other Cork villages waiting to be viewed on the Cork Videos YouTube channel.

Thanks to Tony for giving me permission to share his work with you today.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)



Irish American Mom



Ships, Boats And Ferries – A Nostalgic Tribute

Ferries and ships depart and dock at Dublin’s ports on a daily basis. These boats mesmerize me.  Whenever I am in Dublin I often sit in my car, parked at the Summit in Howth, overlooking Dublin Bay.  Dublin’s waters grow busy, especially during afternoon rush hour.

Nostalgia overwhelms me watching Dublin’s shipping lanes. I left Ireland by airplane, so at first I didn’t understand why boats strike an emotional chord in my heart.

Stena Line

My mother will never watch these boats with me. She says they make her too sad, reminding her of days when all three of her daughters worked across the waters on foreign shores.

But I have never experienced a mother’s sadness at the loss of her children, yet these boats remind me of our nation’s sorrow. We are a country of immigrants, and even to this very day the Ireland’s young people are boarding ships and planes to seek their fortunes on distant shores.

In America boats are associated with leisure pursuits such as fishing, water skiing, cruising, and house-boating. The lonesomeness of immigration does not spring to most Americans’ minds upon seeing a water craft.

Not so for the Irish. Ever since I was a child, I have listened to Ireland’s folk music. Many of our traditional songs emphasize the pain of leaving family, friends and homeland. When I examined the lyrics of some Irish boat songs I realized I have been programmed since an early age to feel nostalgic at the sight of a ship.

In today’s post I share some excerpts from the sad, lonely songs of Ireland which focus on the pain of leaving. I hope these photos I took last summer will help illustrate the poignancy of these well-loved words.

The Cliffs Of Dooneen


“You may travel far far from your own native land

Far away o’er the mountains, far away o’er the foam

But of all the fine places that I’ve ever been

Sure there’s none can compare with the cliffs of Doneen.”


Irish Ferries By The Bailey Lighthouse



“I wish I was in Carrickfergus, only four nights in Ballygran

I would swim over the deepest ocean, the deepest ocean for my love to find.

But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over, and neither have I wings to fly

If I could find me a handsome boatman to ferry me over to my love and I.”


Irish Ferries

Come Back Paddy Reilly


“And tones that are tender and tones that are gruff

Are whispering over the sea,

“Come back, Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff

Come home, Paddy Reilly, to me”.


Ship By Howth

Botany Bay


“Farewell to your bricks and mortar

Farewell to your dirty lime

Farewell to your gangway and gang planks

And to hell with your overtime

For the good ship Ragamuffin

She is lying at the quay

For to take old Pat with a shovel on his back

To the shores of Botany Bay.”


Stena Line Passing Howth

The Shores Of Amerikay


“I’m bidding farewell to the land of my youth and the home I love so well

And the mountains so grand round my own native land

I’m bidding them all farewell

With an aching heart I’ll bid them adieu

For tomorrow I’ll sail far away

O’er the raging foam for to seek a home

On the shores of Amerikay.”


Stena Line Passing the Kish Lighthouse

Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore


“Our ship she lies at anchor, she’s standing by the quay

May fortune bright shine down each night, as we sail over the sea

Many ships were lost, many lives it cost on the journey that lies before

With a tear in my eye I’m bidding good-bye to Paddy’s Green shamrock shore.”


Ferry Leaving Dublin

The Leaving Of Liverpool


“So fare thee well, my own true love

And when I return, united we will be

It’s not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me

But my darling, when I think of thee.”


Ferry In Dublin Bay

The Irish Rover


“In the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and six

We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork

We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks

For the grand city hall of New York

‘Twas an elegant craft, she was rigged fore and aft

And oh how the trade winds drove her

She could stand several blasts, she had twenty-seven masts

And they called her the Irish Rover.”


Ferry Photo Taken on Dollymount

The Holy Ground


“Now when we’re out a-sailing and you are far behind

Fine letters will I write to you with the secrets of my mind,

The secrets of my mind, my girl, you’re the girl that I adore,

And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.

You’re the girl that I adore,

And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more.”


Boat In Dublin Bay

Farewell To Dublin In My Tears


“And now I’m standing on the Quay, my destiny’s uncertain

Where fortunes have been lost and won with the dealing of a hand

The past it is a purple haze, the future is an untold maze

The present is another gaze at dear old Dublin Town.”


Crow Watching The Stena Line Ferry

Home To Donegal


“The lights of London, are far behind

The thoughts of homeland are crowding my mind

Familiar places, come in to view

I see my home now, soon I’ll see you.”


Dublin's Boat, Ships and Ferries

Fiddler’s Green


“Wrap me up in me oil-skin and jumper

No more on the docks I’ll be seen

Just tell me old shipmates,

I’m taking a trip mates

And I’ll see you some day in Fiddler’s Green.”


Dublin Port

The Fields Of Athenry


“By a lonely harbour wall

She watched the last star falling.

And that prison ship sailed out against the sky.

Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray,

for her love in Botany Bay.

It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.”


I hope you’re not too teary after all these sad lyrics. Nostalgic and sentimental definitely are words to describe these excerpts.

And so now I think you’ll understand why the mere sight of a ship makes me a little wistful.  Do you ever feel the same way?



Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom


An Entertaining Stroll Down Grafton Street

Reminiscing about Grafton Street is easy for a Dubliner. I always think of buskers, Christmas shopping and festive windows, flower stalls, Bewleys coffee, shoppers and tourists.

Grafton Street has been a Dublin constant for centuries. Not merely a right of way, nor a commercial center, it is a social and cultural icon of the city, because here is where people meet to create memories.

In the 1600’s Grafton Street was simply a laneway used to access a square grazing field. The street was first developed in 1708 by the Dawson family. A parallel street bears their name, but Grafton Street was named after a local land owner, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate son of Charles II of England.  The grazing square is now St. Stephens Green, and Grafton Street is a commercial hub of the city.

Buskers On Grafton Street

The proliferation of street entertainers on Grafton Street is appreciated by some, tolerated by others, and detested by a few. Crowds can accumulate around a really good band in no time at all, blocking the street.
For me this little inconvenience is a small price to pay for an afternoon of wonderful entertainment.

Lunchtime for a Dublin Busker

Grafton Street is where U2 honed their skills, playing for Dublin crowds. I often wonder if I stopped and listened to them many years ago when I was a teenager.

Dublin Buskers Tuning Their Instruments

Who knows which of today’s great Dublin bands will entertain the masses in years to come! Skills learned on Grafton Street will stand them in good stead.  Here singers and musicians learn to entertain, to grow acutely aware of the crowd’s applauding feedback, and to fine tune their rhythms and lyrics.  If you gain approval from Dublin’s afternoon shoppers, the world might soon follow.

Statue Of Phil Lynott On Harry Street

The great Phil Lynott listens to the chorus of voices from a side street.  I’m sorry to report this statue was vandalized a few days after I took this shot. Hopefully it will be repaired quickly and soon be back on Harry Street.

Sand dog on Grafton Street, Dublin

A sand dog basked in the sunshine, guarding a precious tennis ball.

Sand dog on Grafton Street, Dublin

Watching an artist quickly form a canine replica was fascinating.

Sand dog on Grafton Street, Dublin

And some dogs just slept as the world passed by.

  Brown Thomas Greeter

Brown Thomas is the anchor shop of the street. Their friendly greeter doesn’t merely wave as you enter. Hand shakes are often followed by a friendly chat.  Walmart eat your heart out – this is greeting Dublin style.

 Leprechan On Grafton Street, DublinIf you get a notion you can always leprechaun yourself and pay to have this friendly fellow take your photo.

Dublin Saunter, is a song by Leo Maguire, a native Dubliner.  He deemed Grafton Street a wonderland. I remember rolling my eyes to heaven as a youngster when my parents listened to tunes like this, but now that I’m a few years older and wiser I have grown to appreciate the sentiments of these lyrical oldies.

For Dublin can be heaven

With coffee at eleven,

And a stroll in Stephen’s Green

There’s no need to hurry

There’s no need to worry

You’re a king and the lady’s a queen

Grafton Street’s a wonderland

There’s magic in the air

There’s diamonds in the lady’s eyes

And gold dust in her hair

And if you don’t believe me

Come and meet me there

In Dublin on a sunny summer morning.”


Mime artists on Grafton Street, Dublin

These mime artists always amaze me.  Such control, not even a flicker, until their chosen moment.  Then the slightest move of hand can shock the world.

Mime artists on Grafton Street, Dublin

Patrick Kavanagh speaks of the allures of Grafton Street in his poem On Raglan Road.

“On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge 

Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge, 

The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay – 

O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

        Mickey Mouse On Grafton Street, Dublin

Mickey Mouse may wear his obligatory green camouflage, but for me, he still seems out of place on the street of my happy childhood.

  Hare Krishna Dancers In Dublin

And no stroll down Grafton Street would ever be complete without meeting some happy Hare Krishna dancers.  I remember their distinctive chant since I was a little girl.

Grafton Street is part of my Dublin memories.  Even the great American singer/songwriter, Nanci Griffith, has written about this thoroughfare. In her song, aptly called On Grafton Street, she claims …

 “On Grafton Street at Christmas time

The elbows push you ’round.

This is not my place of memories -

I’m a stranger in this town.

The faces seem familiar,

And I know those songs they’re playing.

But I close my eyes and find myself

Five thousand miles away……

……On Grafton Street at Christmas time

The elbows push you ’round.

All I carry now are memories -

I’m a stranger to this town.”


Although I now live five thousand miles away from Grafton Street, I hope I will never be a stranger to this town.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom


The Sun Does Shine Sometimes In Ireland.

Today I am sharing a short post to remind everyone that the sun does shine in Ireland every now and then.  And when the sun does peep out from behind the clouds, it brightens up the landscape to lift those rain induced doldrums.

This past weekend the sun broke through the clouds and shone on Ireland’s winter weary residents.  Everyone suffering from cabin fever took to the hills. My sister sent me this lovely panoramic shot taken from Howth, overlooking Dublin Bay


View from the Hill of Howth

Panoramic View From Howth, Co. Dublin

Dank, dreary and dark are the descriptors I have heard way too often when I phoned home over the past six months.  Talking about the weather is an obligatory part of every Irish phone call.  This Irish winter has been very long, just like our lingering American Winter 2013.

Howth Sunset-001

Sunset from Howth, Co. dublin

But just when you think there is never going to be an end to that interminable Irish rain, the sun finally does come out to brighten up the landscape and the soul.

I hope these photos of Howth are a reminder to everyone living in Ireland that all bad winters eventually come to an end. To those planning a trip to the Emerald Isle at some point this year I hope they give you hope that you won’t be wearing your rain gear constantly during your stay.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)


Irish American Mom

Irish Sheepdogs – Why I Love Border Collies

I love dogs, and of all the dogs in the world I really, really love border collies.  I think I spent too much time with sheepdogs on my grannies’ farms when I was a young girl in Ireland.  That’s when my love affair began.

Image  Credit

I searched high and low through files of creative commons photos on and on to help illustrate why I love these dogs so much. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

Image Credit

Look at that smile!


Those perky ears!

Image Credit

Look at that focus!


Border collies are just born to work.

Image Credit

I remember watching the BBC television program “One Man And His Dog” as a child.  May not sound like great children’s entertainment, but I was riveted to the screen, watching the sheer skill of these magnificent sheep herders, responding to the shrill, sharp whistles of their owners.

Image Credit

Rounding sheep into a flock, or separating just a few from the wooly group, is second nature to these glorious animals, bred specifically for this purpose.

Image Credit

I love this photo taken in Scotland.  If you examine the shot closely you will see four dogs working in unison to round up the herd.  Click on the image credit and hover over the photograph.  The exact location of each border collie has been highlighted by the photographer.

Image Credit

And of course, you can never forget their agility.  Border collies can be trained to leap and bound like no other dogs on earth.  Their sheer athleticism is simply spectacular.

When my husband and I first got married we rescued a border collie/chow mix puppy from the shelter in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Molly grew old with us, loved us, protected us, and really entertained us with her beer-loving, lizard-chasing personality.


My triplets were just 3-months old when Molly developed bloat, a serious condition where a dog’s stomach twists.  She only had a 20% survival chance if she underwent surgery, and would have required tube feeding for quite some time.  Definitely not an option with newborn triplets.  And so Molly left us after 14 wonderful years.  At that point, I put the thought of dog ownership out of my mind.

But kids love dogs.  My four little ones have begged and pleaded with their border collie-loving mom for a puppy.  I resisted for two long years, never caving in to their earnest pleas.

Then a friend informed my little troop there is only one sure way to get a dog, and that is to just keep asking.  And they did!  Every night they prayed for a dog – calling on the Good Lord’s help, since mom was just not responding.

Once all four flew the nest and headed off to school this year, I reveled in all my free time.  But empty nest syndrome must have struck.  How do you keep mom busy, stop her feeling lonely while the kiddos are busy at school?

The one and only solution in the whole wide world is:

A border collie puppy!



Two weeks ago my husband and I relented, giving in to those endless doggy demands, when we added a seventh member to our clan.  My kids fell in love with this eight-week old puppy the moment they laid eyes on her.

We called her Oreo, since her face looks just like the cookie.

And let me assure you, there is no greater distraction from the lure of computer games, than a fun-loving, energetic border collie puppy.  She is already herding my four little ones out the door to play each afternoon.

“I Didn’t Do It”

Last night, as I tucked my eldest boy into bed he whispered to me:

“Mom, Oreo is the best thing that ever happened to me.”


That’s when I knew that giving in to all those endless pleas for a dog, was one of the best decisions ever.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom


P.S. A big thanks to all the photographers who shared photos of their wonderful border collies under a creative commons license.