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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

24 June 2014

Irish Rural life and the way it might appear

On one of our recent trips away to rural Ireland, OH and stayed in a small village overnight, while attending a wedding.  The wedding was another story in itself, but I was amused by the Parish Newsletter which I discovered, was written by the parish committee - typed up by the local spinster on her new Windows Vista computer, [second hand in a thrift shop, and sure isn't it workin' grand, as the lady of the house we were staying in told me.]

The newsletter had all the local gossip in it, and it set me to thinking how lovely it was to find a newsletter that wasn't pc.  Sometimes I wonder have we become so politically correct that we cannot speak our hearts for fear we'll land ourselves in Court, prosecuted for libel and whatever else.  Anyway, I took a couple of parish newsletters that I have come across in my journeys over the years, and put one together, totally fictional, but something on the lines of what once might have been commonplace in rural Ireland.  Castlebattery and the other villages are a figment of my imagination, but there are many Castlebattery's in Ireland, Fr. Finnery is another piece of fiction, but in my childhood there were many Fr. Finnerys' lectures roaring out from the pulpit and I am sure that Henrietta Delaney would be truly overcome by the holiday slides if she existed.  Maybe some day she will.


MASS TIMES: Sat. 19.30 [if Fr. Finnery is home from the races in Kilmageegee.]
Sundays: 10.30 and 12.45 [please be on time for the 12.45 Mass as Mrs O’Shewlawan likes to have the Father’s dinner on the table by 1.30 so as she can get away to the bingo in the parish hall at 2.30].

Castlebattery Tidy Towns
Following on their big marks increase in this year's Tidy Towns competition, the hard working Committee are already preparing for next years competition and towards this end, they are holding a Church Gate Fundraising Collection on the week-end of October 12th - 13th and a Table Quiz on the 15th November in the Four Flowers Hotel Castlebattery at 9.30pm. Following the exertions of their fundraising efforts, the Committee will be on their annual trip to Santa Ponsa in early December and so no committee meetings will be held until 14th January. Please support the committee.

Ceili Dancing
The County organisation responsible for promoting all non-competitive céilí dancing amongst every age group in Ireland, has been awarded a grant from the County Council to organise six céilí dances  between now and early December.  The first of these will take place in St Declan's Parish Centre, Barnahoolia on Sunday 23th October from 2:30-4:30 p.m.  All are welcome to attend and participants will be guided through 5 céilí dances by certified céilí dance teachers.  No experience is necessary.  Fr. Finnery has stated that this is not a match-making ceili and will all couples attending please observe the proprieties.

Admission is £5 (£2 for childer) including a break for refreshments, the refreshments will be sponsored by the Cummagweela Golf and Pitch and Putt Society, as they have a surplus of beer which Mick the Ferret found in the basement of the Four Flowers hotel, the beer is only five years past its past due date.  Just come on the day or phone Marty Hourican for further information.

Hard luck to Knockemdawn Hurling Club which lost the Intermediate County Hurling final to Killawaspa last week-end.  Father Finery has stated that the Sunday collection in the Church of the Blessed Martyr, Castletownless, is not to be put aside and used for condolence pints in Barney Mulligan’s pub on Sunday night.

We wish Frockenstown every success in the Senior County hurling final next Sunday afternoon in Ballymuckla Park against the Killawilla Senior team.  It is to be hoped that they will have better luck than the Inter team.  New jerseys have been issued to avoid confusion with the Killawilla team as happened last year when Ballymuckla wore, with pride, white jerseys with a pink stripe and yellow sleeves, and Killawilla wore pink jerseys with a yellow stripe and white sleeves.  We have it on good authority from the Haymaker Quigley over in Bannawanton that Frockenstown is wearing navy and red jerseys this year.  Killawilla will take to the field sporting their new red and navy jerseys on Sunday.

Life in rural Ireland was, despite current revelations in the media, innocent, and moved at a slow pace.  The majority of citizens had no idea of what went on in homes for unmarried mothers.  Looking back, it is hard to imagine that there should be such ignorance, but the ignorance was in the behaviour of those who perpetrated what went on there, and in the families who sought to hide what they considered their shame, in such places.  Nobody asked questions, and there was an innocence in the acceptance by the people of church teaching.  What was overlooked, and should never be overlooked is the fact that people are people with all the good and bad that resides within every individual, and being a member of a religious order is neither an excuse nor a cure for the inner self.

I remember how delighted people would be that the local curate had called, if the Parish Priest paid your house a visit, sure weren't you mixing in high society altogether was the general thought.  It was the hope of every mother then that if you had four children one would become a priest, one a nun, one go into the civil service and one would stay at home and care for you in your old age, and sure, if they managed to get married after you were dead and gone, wouldn't that be wonderful altogether.

My maternal Grandmother, a lovely elegant lady, annoyed her own Mother by marrying a man 18 years older than her.  When he died nine years after they married, of Parkinson's Disease, Great-Grandmother resumed communication with her daughter - to tell her how stupid she had been, marrying and now left to rear three children aged 7, 3 [my Mother] and 18 months.  When the eldest died at the age of 11 of diphtheria, Great Grandmother informed her daughter that this would never have happened if she had done as she was told.  Join a nunnery.  Ah! charitable christian Ireland.  May you never return to that attitude.  Gradually, over the years, with every house in the country having at least one t.v., the rural Ireland of yesterday is dying away.  I have no regret for the loss of the cruelty and hardship that was put on people, but for the gentle innocence and the old fashioned courtesy that is passing, that I do regret.  

I refuse to let go of the lovely innocence of my youth, both in suburban and rural Ireland. Childhood holidays where the rainy days were spent making button pictures, the buttons supplied from my paternal Grandmother's enormous sewing box, shoe bags for school in September, hand stitched using leftover pieces of chintz curtains.  To this day, I still hand stitch bags for everything; bags to hold newspapers until everyone has had a chance to read them. Bags to hold the unopened packs of kitchen towel rolls and save space in the kitchen.  They nestle between a book case and a press in the study.  The latest effort is Toile de Juouy [blue and white]; I have hand stitched the cream and cinnamomn cushion covers on the garden room chair - the material once adorned my Mother's windows as very pretty curtains.  Why not use a sewing machine I hear you ask?  Well, when we had sewing class in school, being left handed I was awkward, and the machine at home fired needles out from it like a Bofors gun.  That put me off sewing machines for life.  The nuns were insistent that we "lefties" should use our right hands as we were "spawn of the devil" if we didn't.  I can sew and write with either hand, but typing I still lead with my left hand, a fact that irritated the nun that taught me.  A right handed lady, she feared for my soul with my typewriter!


doodles n daydreams said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your parish newsletter, rather droll. And I totally agree, life was so much simpler back when we didn't have to be so pc, but some of the attitudes were not so good. A great post.

ps. I'm glad you enjoyed the wedding

Frances said...

Irish Eyes, you've given the rest of us a wonderful glimpse of places and people we have not encountered on our own. Entering into that parish, via your letter, was a rare privilege.

Your way of linking a rural Ireland to the contemporary Ireland is priceless. Thank you once again for your Kitchen window views.


Cait O'Connor said...

All appeared well on the surface but such hidden cruelty was happening..in God's name. It is good that it is all coming out now and wounds can be cleansed though scars will never fade. I agree though that the 'goodness and simplicity' of life in Ireland was and still is of course something to be proud of, very much so.

Pondside said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this - the light and the dark existed side by side, didn't they?