Monday, October 24th, 2016

Feeling my Irish


Every year I try to do something a little different for St. Patrick’s Day.  I do it to celebrate my Irish heritage, and the Irish heritage of my children.  As luck would have it, they’re even more Irish than I am.  (They’re also more Polish than I am, but that’s a conversation for another holiday.) 

This year I chose two films I absolutely love that are set in Ireland and found something of interest about them to share.  The blog posts will appear throughout the day.  The two films, The Quiet Man and The Commitments, are very different from each other. 

John Ford’s The Quiet Man is what we typically think of Ireland, and it’s partially his fault.  The green countryside, the quaint pub, rural life at it’s most idyllic.  Irish violence isn’t the Civil War (although mentioned), it’s a wonderful, rollicking fist fight more to please the spectators than do any actual harm.  Relative poverty is consigned to off-screen.  Everyone eats well and lives happily in Depression Ireland, causing us to wonder why the Thorntons would ever leave.  Despite the Widow Tillane’s admonition that Innisfree is not heaven, it certainly looks like it.

The Commitments take us into the world of 1991 Dublin.  High unemployment, high poverty, little hope.  The book’s author took note of the number of young people forming bands, partially as a vehicle to escape poverty, partially as a mental escape from the rotten life around them.  His choice of a Soul band allowed him to have more characters, including the sexual tension with the backup singers.  It also allowed him to connect the Irish experience with the roots of Soul music.

If you aren’t Irish, you’ll feel Irish after watching them.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Wigderson family.

Erin, Oh Erin by Thomas Moore
Like the bright lamp, that shone in Kildare’s holy fane,
And burn’d through long ages of darkness and storm,
Is the heart that sorrows have frown’d on in vain,
Whose spirit outlives them, unfading and warm.
Erin, oh Erin, thus bright through the tears
Of a long night of bondage, thy spirit appears.

The nations have fallen, and thou still art young,
Thy sun is but rising, when others are set;
And though slavery’s cloud o’er thy morning hath hung,
The full noon of freedom shall beam round thee yet.
Erin, oh Erin, though long in the shade,
Thy star will shine out when the proudest shall fade.

Unchill’d by the rain, and unwaked by the wind,
The lily lies sleeping through winter’s cold hour,
Till Spring’s light touch her fetters unbind,
And daylight and liberty bless the young flower.
Thus Erin, oh Erin, thy winter is past,
And the hope that lived through it shall blossom at last.

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