Ireland, My Ireland

Isabel Bearman Bucher

© Copyright 2002 by Isabel Bearman Bucher

Photo of Glenmore Lake from Healy Pass.

Note: Isabel Bearman Bucher, and her husband Robert, completed a house exchange with an Irish family from Kilkenny this past summer. Barely making the Albuquerque-- New York flight, seventeen hours later, they stepped into a 58 degree Dublin morning. For the next six weeks, they "lived Irish." When the great potato famine forced the sons and daughters of Eire to leave, they took with them a shamrock, a chunk of peat, and a chip from their hearth. On their last day, Isabel and husband Robert watched the sun go down in the place they'd learned to love so much, understanding why the people took those three things to their hearts. They also knew they'd love this beautiful place forever.

Ireland, my Ireland - 302 by 171 miles. You've birthed O'Connor, O'Brien, O'Sullivan, Doherty, MacCarthy and Kelly and a thousand others. You fit 113 times into the USA, and neatly inside New Mexico. When I close my eyes, you're there. A beautiful piece of emerald velvet ticking by, under a sewing machine foot run by my imagination. Sweetly smelling of cows content, and clots of sheep; shamrock and flower-studded meadow - crashing sea on rugged Beara coastline. You're a thousand wash lines blowing; ancient Kilkenny hedgerow dressed in lavender foxglove and dark, waxy ivy. You've white lace curtains hung in every spotless window; a white headed himself, dressed neatly in cap and tweed, taking the old dog for a sunset walk. You're rain on a huge window looking at Clew Bay - a steaming cup of creamed tea.

You're born of the mists that softly come and go, scarves floating on soft, cool Irish days. You're rainbows over Killarney lakes that reach to the sea - bowers of roses and overflowing generous blossoms that cram a Kilfane deep window sill. You're the largest collection of the worst carpet I've ever seen. You're made of ancient ruins, and country roads with the Misses driving the cows home. You're little girls dancing on the cobbles, fiddles playing in the slipways; Celimusic and smoke wafting from pubs. You're pointy noses and chins and rosy cheeks that tip a hat as they pass in front of your car. You're jam-packed little colorful towns, wild red hair, wilder drivers and tour busses. You sing in breathy brogue and evening meadowlark. You're valleys so deep, so wide and so green, you smother a heart. You're mountains sweeping fiercely up into the brooding skies, dressed in white wedding veil streams, gushing down. You make souls swell, and tears fall. And, you survive bombs.

Ireland, my Ireland.

Long may you live.

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