Thursday, August 15, 2013

New England Reflections (Cont.): The Platypus Travels Part XXIX

Across the grey Atlantic
Across Saint Brendan's sea
Is the land where the lairds ware
sackcloth
And all the serfs are free

Across the grey Atlantic
Across the spewm and foam
Lies the land of the Imram's
castles
Where a Gael can find a home

Most of my ancestors came over from Ireland.  The Rileys and the Kennedys, in particular, settled in Massachusetts before coming down into Connecticut.  The accents fly thick when the family gets together.  The statues above form part of a monument to all the Irish who perished in the Great Hunger or came across to find their fortune in the United States.  It's a reminder for all those who claim Irish ancestry that here in the U.S. the Celts have done well.  That's unusual given the course of the last two millenia.  G.K. Chesterton summarized what he thought was the aggregate effect of that suffering on the Irish psyche in few lines of verse: The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, for all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.  The wars are merry because they kept fighting.  The songs are sad because they kept losing.  They didn't keep losing forever though: not in Ireland and not in the 'States.  This monument bears witness to the fact.

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