March 18, 2012
Evicting an Irish family from their home.
… Oh it’s well I do remember, that bleak
The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive
Us all away
They set my roof on fire, with their cursed
And that’s another reason why I left old
When I was a kid, when asked my nationality, I always said Irish. My French mother would wryly comment, “You could be an eighth Irish and seven eighths something else, but you’re always Irish. I wonder why that is? ” I’m more than an eighth Irish, but I’m half French, and she had a point. I think it’s because the Irish suffered horrible deprivation in the midst of plenty. To escape they immigrated in great numbers to countries around the world. There are more Irish in America, Australia, South America etc. than there are in Ireland. I was unaware of that when we got our first television set in 1957 and I loved those old English romantic and heroic movies with Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger, etc. If my dad caught me watching one, he’d flip the television off. “Don’t be watchin’ all that aggrandizement of Cousin Jack.”
An interesting take on neglecting the pain of Irish history is given by Bill Bigelow writing for Common Dreams at the link below:
You can read the article at the link above from which comes the eviction ditty, and here are some excerpts from his piece:
What is not often taught in schools or known by the many who routinely celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, is that throughout the Irish ‘Potato famine’ there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad. The landlords were English.
“Ireland’s was surely the biggest experiment in monoculture ever attempted and surely the most convincing proof of its folly.” But if only this one variety of potato, the Lumper, failed, and other crops thrived, why did people starve? Thomas Gallagher points out in Paddy’s Lament, that during the first winter of famine, 1846-47, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry — food that could have prevented those deaths.” In the end over a million Irish starved to death.
Ahh, the examples of man’s inhumanity to man are so numerous, even today, it sickens hardy souls.
On a more cheerful note, my little town of Murphys celebrates their Irish heritage with a festival of booths, food, music and a parade. Downtown was a sea of umbrellas when I got there at 10:00. The parade wasn’t set to begin until 11:00.
In the booths, people were cooking with their coats on.
Dodging raindrops, I opted to skip the parade and head for home.
It began to snow huge, wet flakes, some as big as golf balls. Safe inside, the smell of corned beef in the crock pot greeted me nose.
Later, my neighbors joined me for corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, soda bread and a variety of craft beers. I fittingly chose an oatmeal stout. Pretty good stuff for simple fare.
I needed some time off from my “catch-up” chores anyway, and ’twas gladness ta be injoying a hand of Rummikub with our grog.