excerpt from 'The Long and short of it: being the recollections and reminiscences of Edna Bold' pp. 104 -107 (306 words)

excerpt from 'The Long and short of it: being the recollections and reminiscences of Edna Bold' pp. 104 -107 (306 words)

part of

The Long and short of it: being the recollections and reminiscences of Edna Bold

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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104 -107

type

text excerpt

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[Edna and John Bold lived for short intervals on each of the Aran Islands, County Gallway, Ireland, over a number of years] 

 

It was early evening when we collected Colman Cohnelly and Otto Shaw from Pat Hernon’s bar on Inishmaan. The two men and their respective crews had whiled away the time talking and drinking.

[…]

 

There was little to indicate that they were drunk as we descended the bleak road to the shore. [...]

 

All this time [as the crew prepared two boats] the befuddled men had spoken little. Now they began to sing. Gaelic singing can be spine chilling and wild. The ‘Fiery Jack’ in their veins had not yet cooled. 

 

The sky was darkening.  Clouds raced and hurled their white, grey, black plumes of wavering, quavering vapour high into the heavens.  Thunder boomed. The sea heaved in a swell black as treacle.  Inishere looked like a thin, bleached bone in the distance.  It would take an hour to cross the sound.

 

We lay back in the curragh, relaxed, exhilarated, quickened by the light of pure unreason. When we should have been most afraid we were not afraid. We had become part of the sky, the sea, the tossing boat and the strange, eerie song of the men in whose expertise we had complete trust. 

[…]

 

Translated by Colman’s sister, Mary, the spine chilling song of the oarsmen as they crossed the treacly water of the Sound, turned out to be more in the genre of an English ballad than a ferocious celtic saga of ‘daring do’. How the wild singing came to be ‘married’ to a narrative of an affair of the heart is not to be explained nor conveyed here. 

 

Nothing can capture that unearthly singing awash with ‘Fiery Jack’ […] 

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excerpt from 'The Long and short of it: being the recollections and reminiscences of Edna Bold' pp. 104 -107 (306 words)

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