Friday, June 12, 2009

A Wonderful World of Irish Birds and Trees

These days in Ireland have been wonderful. At Glencough near Mountcharles-Co. Donegal is the place where our maternal grandfather, John McDermott, was born and raised before going to America to provide a place for us. At his grand nephew's house, Patsy McDermott, besides seeing the ivy covered remains of the family barn and home, I saw what I think were Chiff Chaffs or Willow Warblers. I also saw the most beautiful Irish Goldfinches which have a red ring on their head besides the yellow and white wing patches. The most frequent birds here are: magpies, Black Thrush, Chaffinches, European Robin, Rooks, Jackdaws, Goldcrests, Collared Doves (which some people mistake for Cuckooes because they "sound" like a cuckoo), the Swallow (which is actually what we call "Barn Swallow" elsewhere), Tree Swallow, which are quite numerous....

The smell of Ireland is like a farm. I imagine this is because of the constant dampness. I found that the turf grows only one millemeter a year and so it is not a source of heat as it was many years ago. Many people have either knocked down their ancient homes or even sold the stones to developers because of their dire economic need. The developers have then created "stylized Irish cottages" which have all the modern comforts and conveniences that the old homes, of course, never had. The most wonderful thing about Ireland is its welcoming, loving and generous spirit. While we were in Mountcharles our cousin Eileen got all the Porters, Connollys, Martins, McDermotts.....together for a wonderful party with good food, Guinness, song and laughter. While we were there the Fine Gael party had a victory parade which passed right in front of our house. The picture here is of Martha Brennan, 103 years young enjoying the parade from her window above Brennan's Supermarket.--- IN THE PICTURE I HAVE LABELLED "MY GRANDFATHER'S HARE" THERE IS ACTUALLY A HUGE RABBIT (HARE) OUT IN THE FIELD....SEE IF YOU CAN PICK HIM OR HER OUT. HE OR SHE WOULD NOT ALLOW ME ANY CLOSER..

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