Strange incidents and coincidences ofttimes happen to MB. There he was doing almost nothing some few months back, eating organic chocolate or some such, when he received an interesting message on one of his blog posts.
An Irish lady, who lives in the south western corner of Ireland, right on the Atlantic Ocean, googled a long dead Irish rebel relation of hers, who had fought and gained some notoriety, in the Irish War of Independence. His name was Sean Wall. And as it just so happens, Sean Wall had lived in the HX locality, just like the rebellious MB, and had spent much of his short life planning and carrying out attacks on British forces in his day. He was not a brave blogger like MB, preferring guns, explosives, hiding out in fields & forests and other general man stuff. In his memory, and in that of others, there is a Sean Wall memorial statue in the village of Bruff, two or three km south of HX. But in any event, the rebel lady in question landed at one of MB’s blog posts concerning the said Sean Wall, and in turn, made contact with MB.
Anyway, as fortune would have it, MB’s home locality was having some centenary events a few weeks back, including a centenary remembrance event at the Sean Wall statue. MB decided to head home for the weekend and arranged to hook up with the rebel lady. She duly arrived at the appointed hour, and MB introduced her to some of the Sean Wall committee members (yes dear followers, the statue has its own village committee!). She ended up taking part in the actual ceremony to her great delight, and even met some long lost SW relatives at the event.
When the village event was over, the rebel lady made her way to MB’s homeland where a different event was talking place, next to the local church, beside the local Lough Gur lake. The event in question was the opening & unveiling of a garden of remembrance for all those who had died in the fight for Irish freedom. An Irish Government Minister performed the unveiling of the dedication stone plaque, and many local dignitaries were also in attendance.
Following the ceremony, MB, wife of MB (WOMB) and the rebel lady adjourned to the grounds of a period house next to the church for some sustenance, and which has a great scenic view over the adjacent lake and surrounding countryside. Sort of an HX Downton Abbey as it were.
And here is where the story starts to get more interesting – thank God MB, you’re killing us with the suspense!
MB inveigled the owner of the house to allow the rebel lady to enter the house itself, while most of the locals remained in the gardens, scoffing free food and fine liquor. MB was aware that the rebel lady had a fascination with one of the contents of the house. She had read in the previous week in a local book that the house owner was in possession of a Vatican-authenticated relic (a piece of bone) of none other than the saint of saints himself – the legendary St Patrick, the national saint of Ireland. The owner proudly showed her the relic, and even removed it from its timber frame to allow her hold it in the palm of her hand, which she duly did, assuring herself most certainly of a place next to St Patrick in the high heavens, when she passes onto the hereafter.
Being the rebel type, she just couldn’t leave it at that, say thanks, and beat it back out into the garden. No Siree. She then informed the house owner that her relative of long past, Sean Wall, had raided his house approximately 100 years back in the search for guns & ammunition, and made off with a large trove after terrifying the occupants on that occasion. The owner immediately took a sidewards glance at the location where the relic should be, to assure himself that this distant relative of a former Irish rebel Ali Babba hadn’t also helped herself to some of the household contents, relaxing somewhat when he saw said relic lying safely in it’s timber frame. The owner was of course fascinated, and a little agog, that the rebel lady had had the balls to show up in his house 100 years after her relative had cleaned the place out. A glass or two of red later however, the owner was in forgive-and-forget mood and they parted (new) friends.
On the following day, after an overnight stay in the village, the rebel lady returned to her ocean retreat, with fond memories of her two day visit to the HX locality, ready to move on with life.
But not long after her return to the ocean spray, she received an invitation from some friends to attend a spirit lady in a neighbouring town, who might provide some enlightenment for the remainder of life’s journey. The spirit lady, as it happens, was/is a Cherokee Indian woman whose mother had some distant connection with the Irish oceanside town of Skibereen, in the the county of Cork. Her mother had predicted in her youth in America that her daughter would one day live in Skibereen, and she would often sing an old Irish emigrant song for her as a young child, of the same town. The song speaks of the reasons for the departure from the town to the new world in Amer-ee-kay. It’s called – Dear Old Skibereen – and the words are as follows:
O, Father dear, I ofttimes heard you talk of Erin’s Isle
Her valleys green, her lofty scene, her mountains rude and wild
You said it was a pleasant place wherein a prince might dwell
Why have you then forsaken her, the reason to me tell?
My son, I loved our native land with energy and pride
Until a blight fell on the land and sheep and cattle died
The rents and taxes were to pay, I could not them redeem
And that’s the cruel reason why I left Old Skibbereen
It’s well I do remember on a bleak November’s day
The landlord and his agent came to drive us all away
He set my house on fire with his demon yellow spleen
And that’s another reason why I left Old Skibbereen
Your mother, too, God rest her soul, lay on the snowy ground
She fainted in her anguish of the desolation round
She never rose, but went her way from life to death’s long dream
And found a quiet grave, my boy, in lovely Skibbereen
It’s well I do remember the year of forty-eight
When we arose with Erin’s boys to fight against our fate
I was hunted through the mountains as a traitor to the Queen
And that’s another reason that I left Old Skibbereen
Oh father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call
And we’ll arise with Erin’s boys and rally one and all
I’ll be the man to lead the van, beneath our flag of green
And loud and high we’ll raise the cry, “Revenge for Skibbereen!”
Anyway, in later years the Cherokee lady discovered Skibereen on a map, and not long after, departed her American homeland to settle in the ancestral Irish homeland of her mother.
And so, in only the last week or two, the Irish lady with the rebel blood from MB’s homeland, arrived in the town of Skibereen with some friends to visit the Cherokee lady, to gain some of life’s insights. Following introductions, the Cherokee asked the rebel to draw a card from a pack of spirit cards. The rebel did as commanded.
The first card drawn was a card that said Ancestors. The Cherokee explained that one must know and understand ones ancestors and they will guide you on a righteous path in life, thereby ensuring that you won’t lose your way. The rebel lady explained that only in the last week or two she had been on a quest to discover more of the history of her notorious Irish rebel ancestor. The Cherokee was mightily impressed.
The Cherokee then asked the rebel to draw a second card. The card drawn had a picture of a lake on it. The rebel lady nearly fell off her chair. The quest for her rebel ancestor had of course taken her to a 200 year old house that lay on the edge of a beautiful lake in the county of Limerick called Lough Gur, from which her relative had stolen a pile of guns some 100 years back. The Cherokee was even more impressed, possibly thinking back to the plight of her own ancestors who were forced to fight the bluecoats with only bows & arrows, against the bluecoats Winchester rifles. Would that the ancestors of the Cherokee had but a single ancestor as bold and daring as that of the rebel lady before her.
And there the meeting ended. The Cherokee had welcomed the rebel lady to extend her some insights. In truth, it was the Cherokee who gained far more. But that’s often the way with Ireland and the Irish!