Now the Monday blog, west of Ireland and Australian poet

Retirement has brought a certain lack of routine, and this blog has suffered. So I have changed the title of this blog to James Herring’s Monday blog and this means that I will post an entry each Monday – come what may.

In March, I went to the west coast of Ireland for a week with my wife, for a bit of a family reunion. We stayed just outside the bonnie town of Westport in County Mayo. It’s a picturesque little town and I think that for many people, it might be a bit of a step back in time, especially with some of the shops which have changed little over the years. The other distinctive of feature of Westport and towns like it in Ireland, is the number of pubs. This will change over the next ten years as th recession bites hard. The most famous pub is Matt Molloy’s which is a traditional pub, untouched by the plasticisation which many pubs have suffered. Inside the wall are covered by old mirrors and publ signs, as well as a plethora of photos of folk groups, including The Chieftains of whom Matt Molloy is the leader. Inside the pub, you can see that in former times, like most rural pubs, this pub was a grocer’s store at the front with the bar at the back. The Guinness of course, is wonderful here, as it’s poured slowly and you have to wait for the beer to settle. The photo below is of Westport House a 300 year old mansion set in beautiful grounds and well worth a visit.

Westport House

 I have just finished reading Armour by the Australian poet John Kinsella. The book is a fascinating (and sometimes bewildering) look at many aspects of the Australian landscape. For those of you who are Australian or who know rural Australia, the poems relating to the animals and plants and the recent droughts in Australia, will bring some startling images e.g. “Every year the bright tremor of wattle/yellow light/yellow rattle/ of stamens and pollen”. Kinsella also takes a mystical view of the land and questions what modern Australians are doing to the land. Sometimes I felt that some poems were hard to understand but Kinsella’s flow of words are always meaningful i.e. full of meaning.

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