From the Hedge School at the Irish Roots Cafe.
Courses: Genealogy, Irish Song, Language, History.
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Today:: Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Famine & Song Video
Surviving Irish Families
It has been several generations now, since the
famine; starvation; disease; and those days when
all Ireland was part of England. It was reported
that no more earth remained to cover the bodies,
that many died in their cabins, that many crawled
to the graveyard alone as a last act of despair, with
bodies left uncovered….
Hidden Ethnic Memory
Some dinner tables still remember the Irish famine.
Some still want to go back and ‘make things right’.
The emotion grows less as new generations can
only echo what was felt at the time. But how is it
we can remember it at all ?
The Song Says
‘Skiberreen’ (which is spelled so many ways in the
history books, just like Irish surnames), is a town
and a song, which tells us why we can’t forget.
It is because we labored hard, even though some
called us lazy, and we took pride in our land.
Then came the failure of the potato crop. We lost
our land to landlords and sheriffs at the point of
a gun. Left to wander our own land or beg food
in the poor house. So the song says…….
Find a Grave
It is because our mothers and fathers died from
the miseries, of starvation and the disease that
followed. Because we were called outlaws for
trying to survive any way possible. So says the song
It is because so few survived and prospered after
fleeing to new lands, giving up the days hope
of ever reclaiming our old country and life. It is
for the children who died on board the ships, and
the few who survived…. so says the song
It is because the children remembered the songs
and stories of their fathers who said ‘never forget’
when the story was told. Then passing it onto their
children and grand children… So the song said.
And now, because our bellies are full for the
moment, we still cannot forget, but remember
how the American Indian sent funds to the
starving Irish. An what of the starving nations
today that we help no more than the world did
when we were starving generations ago….
So the song should remind us of our families…
The song, to remind peasant and landlord alike:
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Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora,
County Clare, and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk,
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