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Poems & Lyrics in honour of Irish Mothers
Compiled by Bridget Haggerty

I well remember listening to my dad sing Mother Machree. I thought it was the mother’s last name. It wasn’t until I started learning a little bit of the Irish decades later that I discovered ma cree (mochrói) meant my heart. Certainly, it’s a far better fit! But, regardless of the meaning, it has remained a favourite, joined along the way with other poems and tributes to Irish mothers. Herewith, just a sampling.

Mother Machree
Lyrics by Rida Johnson Young, melody by Ernest r. Ball

There’s a spot in me heart which no colleen may own
There’s a depth in me soul never sounded or known
There’s a place in my mem’ry, my life that you fill
No other can take it, no one ever will
Sure I love the dear silver that shines in your hair.
And the brow that’s all furrowed, and wrinkled with care
I kiss the dear fingers so toil-worn for me
Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree!
Ev’ry sorrow or care in the dear days gone by
Was made bright by the light of the smile in your eye.
Like a candle that’s set in a window at night
You fond love has cheered me, and guided me right.
Sure I love the dear silver that shines in your hair
And the brow that’s all furrowed, and wrinkled with care.
I kiss the dear finers so toil-worn for me
Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree!

In Memory Of My Mother
by Patrick Kavanagh

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday-
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle-'
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life-
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us - eternally.


The Little Irish Mother
by John O'Brien

Have you seen the tidy cottage in the straggling, dusty street,
Where the roses swing their censers by the door?
Have you heard the happy prattle and the tramp of tiny feet
As the sturdy youngsters romp around the floor?
Did you wonder why the viree* comes to sing his sweetest song ?
Did the subtle charm of home upon you fall?
Did you puzzle why it haunted you the while you passed along?--
There's a Little Irish Mother there; that's all.

When you watched the children toiling at their lessons in the school,
Did you pick a winsome girleen from the rest,
With her wealth of curl a-cluster as she smiled upon the stool,
In a simple Monday-morning neatness dressed?
Did you mark the manly bearing ofa healthy-hearted boy
As he stood erect his well-conned task to tell ?
Did you revel in the freshness with a pulse of wholesome joy?--
There's a Little Irish Mother there as well.

There's a Little Irish Mother that a lonely vigil keeps
In the settler's hut where seldom stranger comes,
Watching by the home-made cradle where one more Australian sleeps
While the breezes whisper weird things to the gums,
Where the settlers battle gamely, beaten down to rise again,
And the brave bush wives the toil and silence share,
Where the nation is a-building in the hearts of splendid men--
There's a Little Irish Mother always there.

There's a Little Irish Mother--and her head is bowed and gray,
And she's lonesome when the evening shadows fall;
Near the fire she "do be thinkin'," all the "childer' are away,
And their silent pictures watch her from the wall.
For the world has claimed them from her; they are men and women
now,
In their thinning hair the tell-tale silver gleams;
But she runs her fingers, dozing, o'er a tousled baby brow--
It is "little Con" or "Bridgie" in her dreams.

There's a Little Irish Mother sleeping softly now at last
Where the tangled grass is creeping all around;
And the shades of unsung heroes troop about her from the past
While the moonlight scatters diamonds on the mound.
And a good Australian's toiling in the world of busy men
Where the strife and sordid grinding cramp and kill;
But his eyes are sometimes misted, and his heart grows brave again--
She's the Little Irish Mother to him still.

When at last the books are balanced in the settling-up to be,
And our idols on the rubbish-heap are hurled,
Then the Judge shall call to honour--not the "stars," it seems to me,
Who have posed behind the footlights of the world;
But the king shall doff his purple, and the queen lay by her crown,
And the great ones of the earth shall stand aside
While a Little Irish Mother in her tattered, faded gown
Shall receive the crown too long to her denied.

A Mother's Love Is A Blessing
by Thomas P Keenan

An Irish boy was leaving
Leaving his native home
Crossing the broad Atlantic
Once more he wished to roam
And as he was leaving his mother
Who was standing on the quay
She threw her arms around his waist
And this to him did say

A mother's love's a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she's living
You'll miss her when she's gone
Love her as in childhood
Though feeble, old and grey
For you'll never miss a mother's love
Till she's buried beneath the clay

And as the years go onwards
I'll settle down in life
And choose a nice young colleen
And take her for my wife
And as the babes grow older
And climb around my knee
I'll teach them the very same lesson
That my mother taught to me

A mother's love's a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she's living
You'll miss her when she's gone
Love her as in childhood
Though feeble, old and grey
For you'll never miss a mother's love
Till she's buried beneath the clay

Also see The Dublin Lady by David Sissons

Click here to read our Mothering Sunday in Old Ireland

Images:
The irish Mother (Mother giving water to children)

Mother Blessing Children


 

Thu, Apr 20, 2017

Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle Bay

The dolphin is one of Ireland’s most fascinating mammals and Fungie is the most famous. He is a fully- grown bottlenose who is 13 feet (4 meteres) long and weighs about 500 lbs or around one-quarter tonne.
Fungie was first noticed in 1984 when Paddy Ferriter, the Dingle Harbour lighthouse keeper, began watching a lone wild dolphin escort the town's fishing boats to and from port. 
Later that year, it became officially recorded that Fungie was a permanent resident of the entrance channel to Dingle and the self-appointed “pilot” of the fleet. 
Over the years Fungie has developed from a timid but inquisitive observer of the human visitors into a playful, though mischievous, companion.  From observation of marks on his body, it seems that he does 'interact' with other whales, dolphins or porpoises, proving perhaps he is neither hermit nor outcast from his own kind, but rather that he is simply content to spend most of his time in and around Dingle Bay.


Click for More Culture Corner.





 

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