Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday Moanings - March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day - A Hearty Menu

Dublin, September 2007

Irish stew, soda bread and a pint of Guinness - as grand a meal as one would wish, especially when winter just will not let go and there isn't even the remotest chance of seeing any green foliage, let alone a four leaf clover. We didn't wait for today but made our feast last night.

Right at home in the Guinness Brewery, Dublin, September 2007.

Beef browned in bacon fat, joined carrots and onions in a bath of a pint of true Irish brew, then simmered in the slow cooker all day long, before being dished out into deep bowls. Thick hunks of fresh baked brown soda bread mopped up the hearty broth.

All that's left today - brown soda bread and an empty can, or three.

Twas grand indeed - and about as Irish as we can get. But then again I spent many a childhood summer immersed in the "Irish Riviera" that is Breezy Point, New York, AND one of the ancestors married a maid from County Meath. Yet I'm still thinking all that is not enough to lay claim to shamrock blood.

Still you know, as wee ones my sisters and I (and even my wee folk) were lulled to sleep by a mother's voice crooning An Irish Lullaby, made famous by Bing Crosby in the 1944 movie Going My Way.
Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.

"Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby."

Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin' me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a -hummin'
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.
1914 James Royce Shannon

Mom also taught me "All Through the Night" and I sang it to her on the few last nights of her life with us.
Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee 
Floor mosaic St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Ireland, Sept. 2007

All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loving vigil keeping 

All through the night.  
While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night. 
Hark, a solemn bell is ringing
Clear through the night
Thou, my love, art heavenward winging
Home through the night
Earthly dust from off thee shaken
Soul immortal shalt thou awaken
With thy last dim journey taken
Home through the night.

Cobh, Ireland, September 2007

And I can still hear my Mom and Dad singing any time of the year "When Irish Eyes are Smiling", "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen", "Cockles and Mussels", and so many others. Back in the day, no gathering of the clan large or small was complete without the singing of "Oh Danny Boy" accompanied by a few toasts to absent friends.

Today I'm celebrating the music, and the family that sang whether along or together, in good times and in bad, come wind or weather.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Slainte mhaith!

©2014 April Hoeller

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