Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections on the 1st 48 Hours in Ireland by Tara Davis

The first of many (I hope!) guest blog posts by Spirit of Place students and participants on their observations and reflections.  

By Tara Davis

Preface: The following short is written by an “un-academic” to suit the modern blogger and is most aptly un-grammatically correct. Like or “un-like” as you wish, and may the luck of the Irish be with you! Friends and Family- may the road rise up to meet you.

In my short time in Ireland, 48 hours so far, I have once again become a believer. Yes, I have restored my faith in magic. I don’t mean the kind of magic involving a stranger, with a top hat and a bunny rabbit, hired by parents to make tie-died balloon animals at a noxious birthday pool party. No, thankfully Irish magic comes from an oral tradition passed on in myths and banter by mumbling generations­.

Fairies. Giants. Shamrock. Leprechaun. Towers where Irish lads and lassies stashed relics from Viking raids. Michael Davitt, the heroic agitator who would inspire Gandhi’s acts of non-violence. An industrial nun who began a woolens mill so respected that Michael Collins, the revolutionary leader, would die in a blood-soaked, bullet riddled Foxford carriage rug. 

Yesterday, I visited the Fitzgerald’s Turlough Park House in Mayo County. Fighting Fitzgerald, who dueled eleven times by the age of 24, later imprisoned his father in a cave guarded by a pet Russian bear. Thankfully, I did not find myself trapped in a cave, rather I gave a touristic nod to traditional thatched roof Irish home. 

Today, I was called an elf by a man in a shining, florescent suit. Shining florescent suit mystical creature man, dressed head to toe in rain gear, offered me the tools of Zeus. In one wink of the eye I witnessed thundering strength. Later in the day, shining florescent suit mystical creature man, named Gus, somehow convinced me that the cement holes we drilled as a construction team were filled with Gremlins mischievously racketing our ratchets.

I believe Gus' hammer harnessed the powers of Zeus because later in the day it rained and I was led into a fish-netted, camouflaged, tarp lair by a man of Greek origin, Travis Price, and his battalion of architect students.When the sky turned from a Foxford blue to a grey sheet of rain, or better known locally as fog, we all huddled in shelter like a long-lost litter of Irish-American mutts.

During lunch I could only wonder when the men would need to start dressing in skirts so as to prevent kidnapping by fairies. I can only hope our hardhats will serve as better protection from fairies than they did from the Atlantic winds o'er the gathering site of Inishturk. 

About Tara:
Tara Davis is a Canadian/Irish/American visiting Ireland for the first time. She could think of no luckier way to return to the country of her traditional past than to partake in Spirit of Place Inishturk. What she knows of her Irish family is that it's roots lie north of Belfast, it fought in many feuds, and it consisted of shepherds and musicians. So if you are reading this and you are from north of Belfast, chances are you may be related to Tara.

Tara Davis wielding stones (at left)

 Gus O'Toole
driving one of the steel roof sections to the site over the windy, rocky roads of Inishturk

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