Mar 14, 2014

POETRY FRIDAY: Poems about Ireland

Thanks to Kara at Rogue Anthropologist for hosting Poetry Friday today!
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Last May, my husband and I visited Ireland. It was a fun week of road trips, castle ruins, music-filled pubs, a bit of “bog bouncing” (fun!), and lots of vegetable soup with brown bread (I ate this every single day at lunch).

Two pubs, Durty Nelly's and Sean's Bar, that claim to be the "oldest in Ireland."
Driving through the countryside (well, riding—my husband drove the car, thank goodness!) I was struck over and over again by the sight of castle ruins. Beautiful now, the fact remains that they are reminders of Ireland’s turbulent history. Viewed through the lens of time, however, these structures are truly something to see.
Ross Castle in County Kerry.
Bunratty Castle in County Clare.
A view from the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel was the ancient seat of the High Kings of Munster. In the 5th century AD, St. Patrick is said to have orchestrated the conversion of King Aenghus to Christianity on this site (the ruin below is Hoare Abbey).

I also learned quite a bit more about Irish history during our trip, and especially enjoyed visiting Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, where St. Patrick fasted and prayed during the 40 days of lent in the 5th century AD. Concerned for the souls of the Irish people, he climbed the mountain and prayed for their salvation, and for God’s mercy and guidance. Every year, thousands of pilgrims repeat this journey in his memory.

Croagh Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this Monday, I thought I’d share a few of the poems I’ve written during my reflections on this trip. They are not all “Leprechauns and sunshine,” though—it is impossible to visit Ireland without acknowledging the grief once experienced by its people. One of the sights that impacted me the most was the Famine Ship, located near Croagh Patrick. After driving through the rugged countryside where many hungry people once died (pointlessly and cruelly), we came to the memorial and I just stood there, unable to say a word. The memorial reminds everyone who sees it of the massive loss of life during the famine, both on Irish soil and on these small, poorly-made "famine ships" sailing west (notice the skeletons stretching over the deck).

Famine Ship

Words cannot convey
The beauty, pain, and horror
Captured in one look.

The visits to church sites were also especially moving and unbelievably beautiful.

Ancient Windows

Ancient windows between past and present;
Symbols of Faith
That stand the test of time.
Walls may crumble,
Stones may tumble,
But these Holy remains
Still sing
Hymns of praise.   
And finally, a little bit of limerick fun:

No Helpless Maid

There was a young maid in the tower,
Who sat up there hour after hour.
When no Prince came to save her
She used what God gave her,
And climbed back down, shouting “Girl Power!”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Writing!


  1. Love this post! Ireland looks wonderful!

  2. Great poems, and thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos! It's my dream to visit Ireland some day. Happy St. Paddy's!

    1. I hope you get to visit one day, too, Jama. It is an amazing place to visit!

  3. I love Ireland! I was my first trip out of the U.S. Bunratty castle was one of my favorites too. You've made me wish I could go back. And the limerick was hilarious. :).

    1. Thanks, Johnell! Bunratty was touristy, but fabulous! = )

  4. Those ancient castles and that craggy backdrop - Ireland is so beautiful. Thanks for the poems, too!

    1. I could never quite get used to seeing the castles everywhere! I wonder if people who live there take them for granted? They really are beautiful!

  5. Despite my last name (ahm, by marriage) I've never been to Ireland. Thank you for taking us along to these place, oozing with charm. I'm making corned beef and cabbage to be had three days from now, and the whiff of the slow cooking mixed well with you poetry and images.

    1. I'm married to an Irish guy, too, and my family has some roots in Northern Ireland. Hope you enjoyed your corned beef and cabbage!

  6. Fantastic poems, Becky! I totally had to smile at that last one, lol! And that's so on my bucket list, to visit a castle one day.

  7. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and poetic recollections, Becky. Your girl power limerick is a hoot!

    1. I'm glad you liked the limerick, Michelle! I stood there and stared at that tower for ages--for some reason it truly fascinated me. My imagination started running wild! = )

  8. Oh, those beautiful castles! I would love to visit one one day. And I love your poems, especially Famine Ship. So sad and so honest.

    1. Thanks so much, Claudine. I had several surprises on that trip, and the seriousness of certain things was one of them. Ireland is definitely a land of contrasts!

  9. Really beautiful, the pictures and the poems. Everybody I know who goes to Ireland falls in love ...

  10. I love the poem about windows....makes me sigh and wish my someday visit to Ireland a little closer. No better place to visit holy ruins than among all that emerald green. Seems so alive.

  11. Looks as if you stole the photos from my trip to Ireland four years ago!....enjoyed the poems as well.


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