They call you initiation island. As my feet landed upon your soil the keeners rose into my bones. The history of grief danced in the green hills and creaked from the cracked walls of stone. Everything spoke my name; the one I had forgotten. All except those guards at the gates of admission. They were tired of Americans entering lands without rightful permission.
My plan was to head West and out to the isles. But something inside said “go South- that thing you think you are seeking requires a few more miles.” I did not know where I was headed. Port McGee was my destination.
I followed the coastal cliffs down around the Kerry Ring. The most beautiful route in the world according to those who measure such things. Driving left sided, I managed to stay on the hair pin thin cobble streets all while gawking at azure seascapes a dot with ancient portals to yesterday. But time is a concentric thing, so whatever yesterday means.
I could somehow hear the ancient, now invisible, oak forests in the winds that have lost their partners in song. Maybe these fallen trees are why the Banshee has cried all along.
I arrived at the mouth of Valentia Island and boarded a three-car ferry that was as slow and cared for as any Irish tale. The sea air slapped my face like the tender handed lessons of a Grandmother. I knew for certain, wherever I was going, existed beyond the veil.
At the end of this rare bright blue day, I found myself in a postcard perfect fishing village painted every color of the Sun’s rays. It was more than exactly what I had dreamed; drenched in myths of perfectly wrinkled old men, casting nets into star light pools for a glimpse of the Selkie.
I had booked ahead a place on my own. But upon arrival, I stumbled into Irish generosity and a local man put me up in his home. I was weary at the invitation, so I asked three local ladies chatting it up on the side of the road- “Excuse me. Do you know…?”. (insert Irish accent here) “Oh, yes! He’s loovely. And, if anything goes wrong my dear, just holler over the harbor and we will hear ya.”
What happened in the following days I still cannot fully explain. I slipped behind the dark everlasting curtains of green rain. A lonely man, the age of my lonely father. A land as old as petrified bone. I could not leave, yet everything in me was trying to flee. So, without direction, I just stayed and roamed the lonely road between Valentia Island and Port McGee.
The history of this path holds the footsteps of the starving as they escaped to lands of false hope. Thousands of ancestors lining up to get their place on a boat. So, I would walk and listen and sing over the cliffs. Then, on a day, along my now familiar route, I heard a cry. It was a slight distance off in some bramble that most anyone would just pass right by.
Ireland is an unsung grave. Well, so is a lot of the Earth because of the land of the free and home of the brave.
At closer look it was a circle of headstone. I entered and was visited by a ghost who had been watching the seas for her to come home. The air stilled like the River Shannon had suddenly stopped flowing. Every cell in my body knew I had been here before. Through the veil I saw a young maiden with a babe in arms who said she would return. But the ones left behind knew that a family line of their kind would likely be burned.
I knew her face, I could smell her skin. I was in the middle of an endless tale that had been awaiting my arrival and a 200 years to begin- again.