Tyrone Diary – Day 1

Dave McKean, the amazing archivist of St. Patrick’s parish, is in Ireland this week to learn more about the times from which Hugh Cummiskey, the first and most famous leader of the Irish in Lowell, emerged. In yesterday’s post on his Lowell Irish blog, Dave describes his visit to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum which he describes as Old Sturbridge Village on steroids.

One Response to Tyrone Diary – Day 1

  1. Daniel Patrick Murphy says:

    Hugh Cummiskey was undoubtedly familiar with the recurring famines that the Irish either lived through or didn’t. An Gorta Mor, The Great Famine, is vaguely familiar with some people because of the book The Great Hunger. The details and long-term effects of the famine(s) are not common knowledge. After he wrote a letter to me, Leon Uris who wrote the novel Trinity, said that the long-term generational effects of An Gorta Mor probable resulted in 20,000,000 deaths, not to mention other catastrophic outcomes. Yes, 20 million! To survive, Hugh did something common for an Irishman: he immigrated. Hugh eventually arrived in Lowell. He found work building canals, and his voice.

    The Silent People

    I search among nine paths to the hills:
    One of them draws me toward vapors in skulls.
    I stare into dark holes, peaceful and still,
    Where sockets are nests for eye-glutting gulls.

    I follow a trail that leads to a bog:
    Parchments are etched, preserved in crude vine,
    Layer upon layer, a strange epilogue,
    Scores of gold chalices scented with wine.

    Come with me now as I write in a spell:
    My pen, a clutched dagger quickened with blood.
    Neat little letters, carved on a shell,
    I scratch thorny lines, a raw ocher bud.

    In shadows, I trudge along wailing walls:
    I open my flesh and suck in the blight.
    I hear the dead dying, a retching recall;
    The fields are all moaning, a petrified sight.

    Daniel Patrick Murphy