Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Irish Always Hope to Be Buried Back in the Homeland

Last week I was in Leitir Meallain, Ireland, visiting the village where hubby's ancestors' originated. We visited the village's heritage museum and met Jack Mahon.  The place is wonderfully organized with historical items, from pictures, tools, and artifacts from a century ago  I even saw a poster advertising the sale of a ship from 1659.

The most interesting historical artifact was the curator, himself, Jack Mahon. He helped hubby locate a relative, Thomas Flaherty.  A picture of Thomas resembles my husband. You could tell that Jack was a generous man.  He tried hard to locate and help us.  He even gave me a book that he helped write.  A Woman of Aran.  Bridget Dirrane is the subject of the book.  She dictated her story to Rose O'Connor and Jack Mahon.

When Bridget told her story, she was 103 years old.  The book was published in 1997.  This is an autobiography. Her childhood on the island of Aran was a good one.  The island of Aran may be harsh and cruel, but the people weren't.  Bridget tells of the people and lives.  The children played catch, ran around, walked to school.  Food and fun were plentiful.  Everyone had potatoes, chickens, ducks and their eggs.  They fished for food, also.  Some had cows and sheep.  They had everything.

Bridget left to train to become a nurse.  Her career carried her to the United States and a husband.  She never had any children.  Eventually, she came back to Ireland and her beloved Aran Island. She saw history.  She met famous people.  And she records them all.

The book is not fiction.  It is told in a matter of fact, simple style.  Bridget's life is interesting and easy to get into.  I found myself thinking of Leitir Meallain, as I read it.  Bridget and the Irish are salt of the earth.  They are what makes people tick. Love of country and the Blessed Mother are what Bridget affirms contribute to her longevity.  I believe her.

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