The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

My Grandfather was a brave Fenian man...
Who hailed from Oldcastle, Co Meath from a family of Tin Merchants..
As a child I see him, with a broken arm in a sling -
His flat cap and his jacket that hung in limp like cloth from age.
I only have that one snippet of memory
But he is my Granddad all the same...
I recall the vigil as we, children, were brought in "to say goodbye"
There was a ghostlike presence in the bed...
The white linen and starched cloths around
Were warmed only by the flickering light of the lone candle...
I felt numb, not scared, not upset, just numb.
There were chairs along the bedroom wall...
I still hear the chant of the older folk who
Sat upon those chairs with their Rosary Beads in their
Tired old hands...With their eyes closed their chant
Still echoes somewhere from within ....
"Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee,
Blessed are thou amongst women, And Blessed is the Fruit
Of thy Womb Jesus....Holy Mary..."
That was probably my Granddad laid out in Leinster Villas
Many years ago...
I feel love within my memory of him in his flat cap and in his jacket
That hung in limp like cloth from age...
My Granddad may have been a brave Fenian man..
To me that man who had the flat cap upon his head and who wore the Jacket that hung in limp like cloth from age..
Was my beloved Gentleman Grandfather
Who hailed from Oldcastle, Co Meath...

T A Keane 16th May 2015..

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