My Summer Fling
I met a girl this summer, a sweet Irish lass named Carri. Well, her full name is Carri-ga-holt of Ireland, but don’t be put off by the formality of it all. For a small village, she’s young at heart, even if her trappings are timeless.
First impressions can be misleading, but they can also be uncannily accurate. I say this because my first glimpse of Carri, was of a wispy, flighty sort of thing, shy and hiding behind a thin, lace veil of fog. As we descended closer, we could see that her outfit resonated with jewelry, primarily in shades of green, blue and white.
I found, however, as we entered her arena, that she was decked out in brilliant colors, with creamy, rich exteriors, and warm and welcoming interiors. Her ensemble included a seemingly endless array of colorful splashes of the most beautiful summer flower bouquets.
Her interiors, accessible through heavy, ponderous, nineteenth century doors, are inviting, providing comfort and drink, for those in need. Carri is more likely to reveal her true nature, if you are willing to step out of her stone and brick interior, and venture out into her paths and byways.
She is alluring and beautiful, with a gracious manner about her, even if what you see sometimes seems so serious. I can bounce out of Max Bites, the chips so hot that I need to pull the sleeve of my sweatshirt down to protect my palm, and be caught unawares every time, by that plaque on the wall of her main village street. I’m talking about the one which states simply, that on this spot, in 1918, Lieutenant Thomas Russel was murdered by English forces.
Light, breezy, perky Carri then draws that veil across those green eyes of hers, and the stoicism of the Irish takes over.
“Carri, girl, talk to me. Why does that plaque bug you so much?” I asked the question, but I had asked it before, to no avail.
She never answers, just turns away and changes the subject. This time was different. “Because I have looked at it for almost a hundred years, and I still don’t understand why it happened. I never will understand, but I will remember. When I remember, I stop and give tribute. That’s hard to do and smile too.”
“Thank you; it’s what I wanted to know. Let’s walk out to the lighthouse.”
“Why not?” What was up with Carri today?
“Since you ask, I’ll tell you. My guiding ray had shed light on a dark world for three hundred and thirty years without being dimmed. Even during time of war, vessels need help, no matter which side they are on. Now a satellite directs ship traffic. That beam did more than light the way for sailors; it represents the light that shines within the soul of Ireland.” She stopped, abruptly.
“Wait a second. Are you saying that the soul of Ireland...? I’m confused.” This was not like Carri.
“I’m saying that the old ways are changing, and that there are some things that shouldn’t change. When they do, I stop and think. When I think, sometimes my thoughts sadden me.”
“I’d suggest that we go to the battery, or the castle even, but that isn’t going to help your mood.”
“And why wouldn’t it, then? I find the area around both of those early places of refuge to be very powerful.”
“I do too, but I thought that if the plaque in the village saddened you, by the nature of the treachery involved, seeing the castle would do the same thing, ten-fold.”
The story of the Earl of Thomond, Murrough O’Brien is well-documented. In 1588, this Irishman set siege to the castle, and after four days, the defenders surrendered. In defiance of the terms of surrender, Murrough O’Brien hanged all of the defenders. He then turned the castle over to his brother Donal.
Carri continued. “Sure, and the treachery is there, but so is the spirit. It’s the spirit that will never die, and the soul of the Irishman is infused with that spirit. His soul exists within the fabric of the Irish countryside; within the walls which pen our cattle in, and our enemies out; within the castle, the battery, the lighthouse. All combine to form the Irish tapestries, sewn together with green silk thread, to create that quilt that you see from the air, the quilt you will keep in your mind until you return.”