Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Piltown, Ireland 18.6.1998: Bare Wood Floors,Tears and Pain

In Ireland now, at John R.’s in Piltown. He’s quite an avid gardener, hence the pots of geraniums I’ve painted and sketched all too crudely. On all sides, the house is surrounded by carefully tended pots of flowers, shrubs, flowerbeds, and fruit and vegetables. It’s idyllic.

As so much of Ireland is, when you drive through it. I especially like the landscape and the small towns as we drove south past Carlow, which is grimy and urban-looking) (and yesterday’s Dublin paper says, increasingly a bedroom community for Dublin).

Stopped in Mullinavat as we drove down. To all appearances a rather poor community in hilly land. As I’ve read, the English landlords were less interested in that land and left it to the Gaelic Irish. And the whole area does have that wild Gaelic highland feel—a bit forlorn, with overgrown roadsides and hills in the distance.

The rain added to the forlorn feeling: heavy, unremitting, driving rain all the way from Dublin—and more forecast today. As I sit on John R.’s small sun porch, the clouds are lowering and clotted.

Steve and I walked through the Mullinavat cemetery, getting thoroughly soaked, even though we had umbrellas. Saw a few Ryan and Tobin graves. Many stones are almost illegible.

We also went into the church, a poor little church with bare wood floors that are unwaxed and worn thin from years of use. Here and there shiny, incongruous linoleum covers them.

Yet I feel spiritually at home in such churches in a way that I don’t in Bavarian ones. Hard to fell silence when the walls and ceiling are at play with gilded garlands and gay colors. Here in Mullinavat, there’s that feel of years and years of concentrated silence. And tears and pain.

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