Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Céad Míle Fáilte!

Chapel atop Croagh Patrick

St. Augustine's National School, Murrisk, County Mayo

Today is a special day for me and my family. Although we're not Catholic, our spirits are uplifted at the thought of this special saint's day. Many of you know that the Fabulous Forrest Family took a year-long sabbatical in Ireland. We lived in a magical place in the northwest corner of the Republic, in County Mayo, called Murrisk. The village was little more than a collection of homes strung out along Clew Bay, anchored by a small community center, an abbey and cemetery, and a couple of taverns.

And a school. There were two classrooms - one for pre K-2nd grade, the other for 3rd-6th grades. Our children were instantly welcomed there by the wonderful teachers and students, and Professor X and I made friends with their schoolmates' parents and the teachers.

We lived in a beautiful home at the foot of Croagh Patrick, a high mountain with a tiny chapel atop it. Legend had it that St. Patrick had climbed up, built a church there, and after fasting for 40 days, he threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain, knocking the she-demon Corra from the sky and banishing all the snakes from Ireland.

Our fireplace was often ablaze, filled with the loveliest smelling peat, as a wild wind raged outside. I miss the smells and sights of Ireland as much as the sounds. Such music they have! 'Tis fine, indeed.

Here's a clip of one of my favorite movies, Hear My Song. Here's some fun background information about it. It's got a brilliant soundtrack. Ned Beatty plays real Irish tenor Joseph Locke in a VERY loosely based version of Locke's last concert. Very cute Irish guy Adrian Dunbar plays a concert promoter who persuades Locke to come out of forced retirement (he was wanted by the Brits for tax evasion) and perform at a benefit for a London concert hall. This clip shows Locke (Beatty's voice is dubbed by Vernon Midgely) singing on the way over to England.

Another marvelous film related to Ireland is Waking Ned Devine. Some youtuber combined the last song in the film, a classic tune entitled The Parting Glass, with some photos of Ireland with a special emphasis on County Mayo. It's sung by Shaun Davey.

Oh, geez. I'm starting to get teary-eyed.

If you're wondering about my post title, it's Gaelic for A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. Which is what we received when we went to Eire. I remember so well one of my son's friends opening the door to his home when we came for supper one night. Young Matthew proclaimed to the four of us "Come in! You're very welcome!"

Now I'm REALLY getting all teary. We absolutely must go back and spend more time in that place. A piece of my heart is there.


stephanie (bad mom) said...

I so want to go; will they punch me if I start to adopt a brogue?

Your stories made me teary - I'm sure you're still a bit of mess, my sensitive friend. :)


lisleman said...

Waking Ned Devine is a great movie. I love the part of the old naked guy on the motorcycle.

The family and I also were able to live over there but only about 3 months. We were in county Clare. Did you travel around during your stay? I love the B&B's

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig

Jason, as himself said...

A whole year over there? It sounds simply fantastic. What a great experience.

I'm a bit jealous.

phd in yogurtry said...

Loved Waking Ned Devine. Adding Hear my Song to my queue. I have an unexplainable attraction to Celtic music. I don't have any Irish heritage that I'm aware of but I bet there's a touch in my blood somewhere. Your year there sounds heavenly. I'd so love to spend a year there.

dianne said...

Happy Saint Paticks's Day Holly,
I just love the photos,what a beautiful green land it is.
I have seen some footage of the devout making their pilgrimage to the Chapel atop Croagh Patrick.
I have seen both of these films and loved them, 'Hear My Song' is lovely.
I hope to visit there myself one day as I have some Irish ancestry and quite a few Irish friends here, they are such lovely people. xoxo ♡

Lisa said...

I've never been, but a lot of my family's history is there on both sides. What a magical sounding place you stayed in. I can see why you'd feel a bit teary. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Bee said...

Oh, I have been very into Irish music the past couple of days. I've got The Chieftains on right now, in fact.

I'm not surprised you like the Irish: You both give good crack.

How about this plan? When you come to England we can watch all of your favorite Irish DVDs together . . . and then maybe we'll just catch a plane to Dublin.

kyooty said...

That title is on signs in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Canada :)

Miss Healthypants said...

I am so jealous that you got to live in Ireland for a whole year!--how lovely! :)

Iwanski & I spent a week there, a few years ago, and we both fell absolutely in love with it. Just the dearest, kindest, wittiest people you could ever meet. :)

And the countryside is sooo beautiful--although we were in Dublin most of the time, we also took a day-trip on the train to Bray...the views were just breathtaking... :)

I know what you mean--even though I only spent a week there, a piece of my heart will always be there, too. :)

Miss Healthypants said...

P.S. We also spent a lovely afternoon in Cavan, where some of Iwanski's Irish relatives live (his mother's maiden name is "Malone"). :)

LarryG said...

and a thousand back to ya !
Safe Home!