Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best wishes to you and yours as you ring in the New Year

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

These lines, taken from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 'Ring Out, Wild Bells',  a part of the elegy 'In Memoriam' written for Arthur Henry Hallam, seem fitting to mark the turning of this year into the next.

May the New Year bring health, wealth and happiness to each one of you and your families.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas to you and yours!

May all the joys of the season come to you and your family on this Christmas Day, 
and may the world enjoy a peaceful and happy new year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Famine Memorial, Custom House Quay, Dublin, Ireland

Filled with the spirit of gratitude for all that I have in my own life, I approached this installation by artist Rowan Gillespie.  As the world passes by, with people going about their daily business, it can be easy to forget how so many Irish struggled just to survive, and the fact that so many of them did not.  In the midst of morning traffic, a strange sort of quiet descended on this small part of the Custom House Quay where the figures stand, in memory of all those Irish who lost their lives to the Great Famine, An Gorta Mór, of 1845-1852, and I realized the loss is an unfathomable one.

The Irish Quarterly Review of 1854 offered the following commentary on the great number of starving Irish walking along the Liffey to board the famine ships at the quays:

"A procession fraught with most striking and most melancholy interest, wending its painful and mournful way along the whole line of the river to where the beautiful pile of the Custom house is indistinguishable in the far distance."

Although An Gorta Mór is probably the best known of the 'great' famines, the Irish suffered through two other periods of widespread famine, the famine of 1740-41, and the famine of 1879, known as An Gorta Beag.  In addition to this, throughout Ireland during many periods there were food shortages, particularly in the west country.  The medallion on the grounds of this installation reminds us of our responsibility to ensure that human beings the world over never again suffer in this way. It reads:

Men and Women
are condemned to live in
poverty, human rights are violated.
To come together to ensure that these
rights are respected is our solemn duty.

Click on photographs to view larger version.
All photographs Copyright©J.Geraghty-Gorman 2011.
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