Friday, March 27, 2009

Thanks to Ruth: Makin' More Noise than We Did At Home Sayin' the Rosary

(Title adapted from Johnny McEvoy's introductory chatter for his live version of "Spanish Lady.")

Two people whom I have never met, and who I don't think have ever met each other, have unknowingly conspired to take this Friday evening away from me in a most enjoyable way.

Mike Peterson recently posted this list of songs on his website. It's a playlist of sorts, one that his band in his youth, the Bogsiders, might have recorded if they ever had the chance. Longtime friend of this blog, Ruth in coastal South Carolina, took that playlist a step further, tracking down YouTube versions of the songs done by great, great Irish bands, and put them together into a collection that can be played sequentially as an album.

So I did. Several times over.

And I was thrilled, not only by the memories and inspiration and keen sadness and youthful joy that the songs evoke, but by eagerness for Diane's and my next journey to Ireland.

And, inevitably, I was drawn back into our collection of photos from our 2006 stay, and to specific images:

Wicklow High
The high Wicklow Gap, near the site of the battle of Glenmalure, 1580.

"Follow Me Up to Carlow" (performed by Planxty in Ruth's compilation) memorializes the battle's ultimately futile victory:

From Tassagart to Clonmore, there flows a stream of Saxon gore
Och, great is Rory Óg O'More, sending the loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled, now for black FitzWilliam's head
We'll send it over, dripping red, to Queen Liza and the ladies.

... not to mention to Queen Liza's (Elizabeth's) pirate (Diane's ancestor, Drake) and godson (my ancestor cited in the top bar of this blog.)

Kerry Chickens
Proud redhead, County Kerry, 2006. Maybe when we go back in '10, I'll get a picture of a Kerry pig.

From The Dubliner's version of "McAlpine's Fusiliers":

Oh mother dear, I'm over here and I'm never coming back
What keeps me here is the rake o' beer the ladies and the craic.
I come from county Kerry the land of eggs and bacon
And if you think I'll eat your fish 'n' chips be Jasus your're mistaken.

Portumna end of Lough Derg. This peaceful park became one of Diane's and my favorite places for its beauty and its solitude.

Lough Derg is essentially a wide stretch of the River Shannon, starting at Portumna in the North and stretching several miles southward to the Limerick City area, including Co. Limerick's Garryowen, immortalized in "Sean South" (performed by the Wolf Tones -- a lovely twist of an Irish band monicker -- in Ruth's compilation):

Sad are the homes round Garryowen
Since they lost their joy and pride
And the banshee cry links every vale
Around the Shannon side that city of the ancient walls
The broken treaty stone, undying fame surrounds your name, Sean South from Garryowen.

Mike, thank you for the list. Ruth, thank you for the music. Ireland, thank you.

Sometimes the banshee cry does, indeed, link every vale.



Margaret Ryall said...

This post was of great interest to me because these are all songs I grew up hearing. Then my husband continued adding to my knowledge of Irish ballads with his collection of Irish music.

If you know anything about the history of Newfoundland, you will know that there is a heavy Irish influence on the culture. Early settlers came from Ireland through the fishery. There are sections of Newfoundland that sound more Irish than the Irish!

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I'm so glad everyone is enjoying the playlist, but don't give me too much credit! Mike put a lot of effort into choosing the selections for that post. All i did was click them into a playlist, which, i swear, took about 3 minutes! Just terrific music, worth keeping around.

Mike said...

When I visited St. John's in the summer of 1968, my girlfriend gave me a look around the place and we ended up down at the harbor. I saw a fruit store and wondered if the grape boycott -- quite a big deal in progressive circles in the US at the time -- had reached this far east. So I asked the fellow working there if these were California grapes. His answer, "Well, I wouldn't know, but Himself will be back in a bit and he could tell ya."

You can't quite see Ireland from there, but you can sure hear it!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Can't you swim from Newfoundland to Ireland? Maybe not, but you can certainly fly the route, even in a very primitive aircraft, as proven by Alcock and Brown in their 1919 flight from St. John's to a bog near Clifden.

The memorials in the bog to that epochal flight are (or were in 2006) maintained by a self-appointed curator, Marty Conneely. In a neat "more Irish than the Irish" moment, here's a shot of Marty and me taken by Diane in Connemara.

Tycho Brahe said...

I really enjoyed your blog. It is most impressive: interesting and evocative content, elegant design, and beautiful photography.

I'm new to the blogosphere and have never been inspired to leave a comment before. I hope that this reached you.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Thanks very much for the kind words, Tycho! I appreciate them very much.

Given your monicker, you might be interested in this entry.