It’s been a while.
The vagaries of life have caused MBs pen to dry up in recent months. Damn those vagaries to high hell. And pretty soon those same vagaries will intercede once more and MB will have little time for story-telling and general rámeishing. For a while at least.
MB has spent many an evening since Christmas in the company of his Grange book. The book of MB’s homeland, Grange – Past & Present. Maybe it’s nostalgia for home and love of the homeland, but MB considers this book a complete gem with each chapter a self-contained nugget of pure gold. Canadian friend BC was saying to MB only this very morning how much she too is enjoying the read, in distant Canadaland. She specifically mentioned the story ‘Grange Electrification’, with a title that hinted it might not contain much of human interest, which sparkled and danced.
Most Grange houses, as MB has discovered, were initially wired up for one plug, 2 lights, and a small light for the Sacred Heart picture that hung in almost all Irish households in days past, and still does in many. For those not in the know, the Sacred Heart picture features a picture of Jesus Christ with his sacred heart exposed. And so, given how strong the Catholic religion was in those days, an electricity supply to the lamp to light up that picture was considered a household necessity.
To get the electricity connection, and to what extent, was debated widely amongst the community in those early days of initial installation. Dirt, dust and cobwebs that were never before visible in the days of candles and oil lamps were suddenly illuminated brightly to all and sundry, so low wattage light bulbs were preferred. The Government offered one free 100W bulb for the kitchen as a promotional encouragement at the time, but had to change the policy to include only 40W or 60W.
MB was also transferred back in time, a few hundred years in fact, during his Christmas break back home. The occasion was a visit to the grave of his maternal great great grandfather, one Richard Galligan, born in 1801 (why was he not born 2 years earlier?!). MB had not previously known of the grave’s existence and seeing it was akin to finding a treasure in the mind of MB.
The Grange book too includes a feature on the very old graveyard at Grange Church. The oldest recorded burial is that of one John Dundon in 1741, age 18. Over 20% of the graves are of people born in the 1700s, the earliest being one James Power, born in 1709, died in 1784.
More of the book still unread. Will return to same topic in a future post no doubt.
The graveyard at Grange, County Limerick. The oldest grave is that of James Power, born 1709.
The graveyard at Cahercorney, County Limerick, wherein lies the grave of MB’s great great grandfather, Richard Galligan, born 1801.