Tuesday, May 08, 2012
An Irish Journey - An Interval
On the Wednesday we had a quiet day and I took the opportunity to go for a walk round the grounds and along a few local lanes. It was cold and windy but at least the sun was shining. Caher House is on the banks of the lough and this boat was on one of the little jetties, you can see from the little white horses on the water how windy it was.
'A violet in the youth of primy Nature
Forward, not permanent,sweet,not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
From Hamlet by William Shakespeare
’Twas my custom to stroll by a clear winding stream,
With my boots full of dew from the lush meadow green,
Near a neck of the woods where the mountain holds sway,
Without danger or fear at the dawn of the day.
The sight of Lough Graney would dazzle my eyes,
As the countryside sparkled beneath the blue skies;
Uplifting to see how the mountains were stacked,
Each head peeping over a neighbouring back.
It was written by an Irish poet called Brian Merryman who lived from 1749 to 1805. He was born in Ennystymon but lived and taught for many years in Feakle a village which is just a few miles from Caher. It is apparently the greatest comic poem in Irish literature and has influenced the work of modern Irish poets Seamus O'Heaney and Thomas Kinsella. More detective work produced the information that this stone is actually a memorial to Brian Merryman and was unveiled by Seamus O'Heaney who in a lecture in 1993 said
"Perhaps I can convey the ongoing reality of the poem's life more simply by recollecting a Saturday evening last August when I had the privilege of unveiling a memorial to Brian Merriman on the shore of Lough Graney in Co. Clare, where the opening scene of 'The Midnight Court' is set. The memorial is a large stone quarried from a hill overlooking the lake, and the opening lines are carved on it in Irish."