In the beginning

Childhood. Born as a babe innocent of sin. Devoid of evil or corrupt mind.  Growing up oblivious to the troubles and travails of the world delighting only in the discovery of fairies, tall tales and all the freedoms of a virtuous and guiltless soul.  Growing from infancy into the bosom of a village to be raised and watched over free from distress, grief or pain.  The right of every child surely. Emerging from the safety of the watery asylum of the womb into the arms and assumed safety and desiderated arms of the ambivalent mother, a child is born on, 17 January 1962 in the District Hospital, Gurrah, Mother Eillen O’Sullivan, Father Unknown. It was Wednesday, under the sign of Capricorn. Into this Cold War world of uncertainty and “Troubles” a child is born, seemingly to it’s immediate family and outside world wanted, but to it’s mother hated from it’s first mewling wail.  However, society protects it’s new members and offspring. It is the most primeval emotion to shield, protect, chaperon, protect one’s own neonates. They are the future. It is the way nature intended it, is it not ? The insurance of a bantlings survival cannot be left to one person, not that pure, unadulterated, precious commodity. It takes a village to raise a child and a village to ignore one. In a seaside village all is seen and heard.  The fishermen are witness to all that happens and all who pass on the harbourfront. What boats sail in and out of their harbour. Make no mistake about it. It is their harbour. It is their forbears in the 1840s that dredged  every drop of water and built the dam to keep the Irish sea back, while each Connemara stone was carefully laid in place, creating a secure and masterful safe, secure and unassailable harbour, protecting both the village of Ballyculchie and providing impregnable homes for their fishing trawlers. They intimately know the routines of their fellow fisher folk and families. The little details of family life that are shared by those who work hours together during the dark, potentially lonely hours in the middle of the night in the Irish sea, on a freezing winter’s night, with just the sound of caught flapping fish, lapping waves against the boat and the measured, judicious conversation of old friends to be heard. Conversations could range from important exchanges about the weather, a heated debate on politics, to a discussion on the upcoming nuptials of a friend’s wedding, remarks about Father Daly’s Homily last Sunday, repartee about the team chosen to play the next Hurling match on Saturday, a speech given by one who liked the sound of his own voice on the youth of the day; listened to patiently by the other men who knew him of old, genuine consultation about what was to happen with Mrs di Maebdh now that her old Joe had died last week and she could not cope living on her own and then there was just the plain old gossip session imparting knowledge gleamed from their wives at the dinner table that evening. Never to be outdone one man would be sure to have a better tale than the other.  Gossip was genderless in Irish society. It was a true beast of equality far ahead of it’s time.

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