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