a few words of a kind…

Another Leaving…


My bags aren’t packed and I’m not ready to go. It’s my last few days in Ireland and autumn is slipping in. It’s my favourite time here, the country feels settled, tourists have mostly flown and Ireland has come back to her own —— the home boys and girls. We seem to be more Irish, more ourselves. There’s talk in Gerry O’Donoghue’s butcher shop about hurling and greyhounds. In Paddy Burke’s farmer’s store down the street, conversation is about how Arab stallions have destroyed the true breed of the Irish draft mare and the Connemara pony. A Saudi sheik is mentioned as the culprit.

“Longer bones and taller horses make anxious prima donas,” Mr. Burke sighs.

In Keane’s hardware shop the talk is about how the scarcity of mackerel this year.           
“They’ll be in with the next full moon,” Brenda the shop assistant predicts.

Friends are texting about meeting up. I’ve just done an interview for the Limerick Leader newspaper and my mate Gerry is coming over to record me doing a voice over/intro to Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ for his radio show…maybe put down some spoken word. Time is tight. But it’s a beautiful evening and I go outside and sit in the sun, make another to-do list. JP pulls up in his black BMW and hops over the wall, no gates or gaps for this boy. He’s on the way to a gig and gasping for a cup of coffee. We drink java in the sun and catch-up on music and love. Then he’s off to a ceili in Kerry.

When JP leaves, I tidy up the living room to get ready for the recording. To set the atmosphere, I light a fire. Cool as a breeze, a robin flits into the room and I wonder if it’s a sign that I’ll win the Lotto. The Christmas bird perches on the back of a súgan chair and looks at me for a few seconds, then takes flight and collides with a cluster of metallic wind chimes. Poor bird does a panicked few loops around the room and flies out the door to Ireland. One of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’?

Gerry arrives and we get the work done and chat. There’s a text about doing something at the Electric Picnic next weekend. Sorry, I’ll be gone. That’s life. Things always rev up when I’m preparing to leave. I wonder how many more times I’ll make these transatlantic trips. I’m an emigrant whose soul never leaves Ireland. But the body has to travel for work.

Photo 4

One night before I left, I had dinner at home with my daughter Róisin. Afterwards, we sat by the fire and chatted about many things. Then she said,

“Dad, does it get harder to go back as the years roll on?”

I had never thought about that before and after a few seconds, I nodded and looked at the fire. There were no words for the pain that followed the realisation. She hugged me and said she’ll miss me loads. I nodded but couldn’t stem my tears.

There’s a text from Aindrias. He can go to the studio on Monday afternoon and lay a few tracks for the spoken word experiment. Time is tight. The bags aren’t packed and time is tight. We settle on just having dinner instead. After that I won’t see him until next summer. It’s time to bite the bullet, get back to packing and find that passport with the golden harp.


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2 thoughts on “Another Leaving…

  1. Great stuff , as alway, Eddy. I , myself was packed for San Francisco last Wednesday in Kinvarra, when I realised I would probably never see my old Mum alive again. Words came from the nursing home in Belgium that she was on her last breaths…..so I cancelled the trip to SF, lost the fare, and booked another ticket to Belgium. When I eventually arrived by her bedside she was barely there at all , but mumbled something when I kissed her and had a tiny shadow of a smile. I stayed by her side for ours and when I finally left her to go and catch a night sleep, I was sure she would be cold by next morning..when I got there at 9am, she was propped up on the pillow and smiled a sweet grin when she recognised me…I gave her water and a tiny sliver of bread and we spent three ours watching formula 1 race in Spa Francorchamps on her bedside TV!!!!! I could see her eyes following the cars..I reminded her that she used to go watch races with her sisters , when they were kids , when her Dad, my Grandfather, brought them for a pic nic through the forests on his old American Exelsior bike and side car….That got me another smile .
    I reminded her , that without any interest whatsoever in F1 racing, she used to watch it in her eighties, in the hope that Michael Shumaecker would crash, as she hated Germans with a vengeance, since some of her family died in the second world war…( she would then switch channel to attend the Sunday mass…!).Not when the Pope was a German that she hated to!
    Anyhow, she seems to be ready to plow on for another while….she’ll be a hundred years old on Sept 26th , if she makes it! She is a tough old nut and told me she would throw her bedside brass clock at whoever came from the County Council to wish her a happy birthday!


  2. Oh wow! Thanks for sharing.

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