52-5 A Place Where I’d Live but Have Never Been

Easy. Ireland.

No, this won’t be the shortest blog post ever.

Why Ireland?

I have roots there, and my grandmother told me stories and sang me revolutionary songs. If she were still here, she would say, “The bones of your ancestors call to you.” I have enough spirituality left that I get that.

I’ve never been there, and, yeah, that’s a shock. You see, granny believed in reunion, unusual for someone with Northern Ireland roots. However, she was born before there was an Irish Republic, before there was a Northern Ireland. She elicited a youthful promise from me that I wouldn’t ever go until Ireland was reunified.

She’s been dead for forty-three years. Do I dare?

Knowing Where You Come From

A year or so after my father died, I decided I needed to know more about the Scottish part of me. I took three weeks off work, spent a week in London, and two weeks driving the Scottish countryside, from Edinburgh to Dundee to Inverness, around Loch Ness (sadly, Nessie eluded me), and back to Edinburgh.

When I stepped off the plane from London to Edinburgh onto the tarmac, the bones of my Scottish ancestors said, “You’re home.” And I felt it.

Outside Inverness at the museum for the Battle of Culloden, I walked the Moor of Culloden, among the cairns erected for the dead, and I saw familiar names. This battle, family legend goes, was the source of the first Duncans to come to Virginia. They wanted to escape retribution from an English king.

My two weeks there were oddly comforting, as if I’d brought a part of my father home. When I boarded the plane to go back to the states, I felt as if I were leaving home.

My Mysterious Other Half

I grew up acknowledging and celebrating my Scottish ancestry but not my Irish. I’m not sure why, other than my grandmother and, hence, my mother never talked about it much. Even the stories my grandmother told me were “fairy tales.” I learned later there were immigration issues involved, and they wanted no attention drawn to themselves.

I don’t even know what piqued my interest in my Irish ancestry. Perhaps it was a woman who remarked I had an Irish face, or a man from Aer Lingus who gave me a potted shamrock because, he said, I need a bit of Ireland in my life.

And so, Ireland has called to me for several years now, and I need to go. What’s stopped me, you ask. Certainly not a forty-three year old promise. (Well, maybe a little; no one wants to get haunted by her angry grandmother.) I think it’s because once I get there, I’ll feel at home.

And I won’t want to leave.

Okay, what’s the place where you’d live but have never been to before? Let me know in the comments.

The Wee Folk Return to Friday Fictioneers!

I’m not sure where the beautiful photo for this week’s prompt was taken, but its stark beauty really struck a chord with me. An idea of what to write came to me as soon as I saw it. Regardless of where the photo was taken, it said Ireland to me.

There have been many waves of immigration from Ireland to America, but the one we’re most familiar with was the one created by the mid-nineteenth century potato famine. Most farmers then in Ireland rented plots of land from usually absentee landlords. When the potato crop failed, they couldn’t pay rent. The landlords would then raise the rent in an attempt to ensure their income, and eventually so many people wanted a place to live, the landlord’s men would come and evict a family then move another in immediately. They couldn’t grow anything either, and they would be evicted, and the cycle went on and on.

America was the land of opportunity for those Irish immigrants, but they arrived and saw the “No Irish Need Apply” signs when they searched for work. Regardless of which migration, it was usually spurred by poverty, and too many times they migrated to another form of poverty.

That was true of my grandmother, though her migration wasn’t until the first third of the twentieth century. She was convinced, however, that the wee folk had migrated to “A-mer-i-cay” at some point because she left milk and bread out for them every night.

This week’s story is “Diaspora,” and it features two leprechauns–Seamus and Declan–I’ve written about before. Though this is a little more serious topic than the other stories, Declan still thinks only of himself, and Seamus sees the big picture.

If you don’t see the link on the title, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab at the top of the page and select “Diaspora” from the drop-down list. To read other stories (or to post one of your own) from Friday Fictioneers, click on the frog-like icon at the bottom of the story.

By the way, the word “diaspora” is of Greek origin and from the nineteenth century as well, and it meant “a dispersion.” The meaning I’m using in the story is “any group migration or flight from a country or region” or “dispersed outside its traditional homeland.”