Monday, October 07, 2019

Family Roots, Irish Poet, Malin Head, Et. Al.


This morning we are at the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head, Ireland's northernmost point.

Actually, we're not having a Guinness too early in the day; the Tavern also has rooms in its location right next to the ocean.

We thought we were supposed to blow away once we stepped from our car because the wind can be so fierce.

Sean, our host, told us the sea can be placid one minute, furious the next.  All was calm when we pulled in for our night's lodging and for the experience of Malin Head.

There's wind out there this morning but not too much. 

We're at Malin Head because, back during our planning stages when I said I wanted to return to Buncrana, Bill suggested we go to Malin Head, which is about a 40-minute drive from Buncrana.

My mother's ancestors came from Buncrana, which touts its association with the world famous hymn "Amazing Grace."

Its creator, Englishman John Newton, a slave trader experienced a life-changing epiphany while on his boat in the bay near Buncrana.  It is said that the experience changed his ways and inspired the words to the song.

A few family members came to Buncrana back in 2015 after I contacted staff members at the Scoil Mhuire, asking if I could bring some of my mother's artwork to give to the school.

My goal: bring a bit of my mother back to her Irish roots.  We received a wonderful and warm welcome, and the principal even saw that the story of our visit appeared in the local newspaper. 

Our stay was brief, so I always wanted to come back, simply to get a feel for the place where parts of our family lived and maybe still does. 

So, Bill and I arrived late yesterday afternoon and had time to go for a walk in a park and along the ocean shore. 

We may go back today and maybe not, if Malin Head proved to be too enticing. 

We're reaching the final days of this trip and still feel that time is zipping by much too fast.

We'll do what we can and will continue to enjoy every minute and every opportunity, like yesterday's brief visit to the grave of famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats and more visiting with locals and other travelers from around the world. 

Just like John Newton's experience near Buncrana, each little segment tends to have an epiphany all its own. Life is never the same afterward, and that truly is the joy of travel.

Hope you enjoy the photos.  Happy Monday. 

Along the Road from Clifden to Malin Head . . . .

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)  


I was surprised to see a relatively new gravestone in the old cemetery but read later that Yeats had originally been buried in France. 

No center aisle in this Church of Ireland?  I wonder why. 

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