Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Irish Sense of Place is the Key to Understanding

Note to CPS - Here is a nun and her class of Forty-three (43) students in a Catholic School.

It was the "Heated Hallway" directly across from the side door into the LF Gym on 79th Street. I learned a few very good things there.
Morganelli's, Hite's, Millie's, no wonder I had cavities. The crossing lady to get us across Damen at 80th Street was Mabel, a great old girl.
Remember when we all descended on Morganelli's after grammar school football games at Dawes. I think some of the guys may even have shop lifted.
Yes, very fond memories!
Tim from the Little Flower Facebook page. God bless All Here. (Click my post title)

Yesterday, I posted some self-deprecating and self-directed teases about the Chicago Irish. Again, to understand who are are, we always seem to drag up where we come from -Mayo, Clare, Castleisland, Clare Island,Bohola, Crossmaglen, Little Flower, St. Sabina's, Visitation, Back of the Yards, Mount Carmel, Mount Assisi, 79th Street, Over by the Boulevard but not Viz, Our Lady of Peace, This side of Western.

The Irish are not solely identified by the capacity to ingest spirits, but by a gushing of Spirit associated with where we have been.

Going as far back as Irish literature can take us, the Irish -aboriginal as well as Norman/Saxon Irish - have identified all activities with place. Author Patrick Sheeran argues in his Genius Fabulae:The Irish Sense of Place that it was the denial of a place for the Irish by Normans,Cromwellians, Scottish Planters and regiments of redcoats that pounded a sense of loss and place into the Irish universal.

I think that the sense of place was there long before Perdious Albion pounded on the Poor Banished Children of Eve in Hibernia. Sheeran cites a Belfast children's song that runs with identity of street names that no longer exist 'Balaclava, Ormeau, Sevastapol, Divis' - places that no longer exist, but in memory sparked by the langiage of place. Little kids singing the street names never lived on them - or did under a new name. Ireland's national epic concerns the theft or raid of the province of Connaght ( Mayo men, of course. Damn Culchies)to steal the stud bull of Ulster - Donn Cuailnge( Dun Cooley. The Irish were linked to the Stockyards centuries before they arrived in Bridgeport and Canaryville.

The Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge is litany of struggle, slaughter and deceit and despite the supernatural efforts of the Ulster Champion the stud bull is taken back to Connaght, but escapes and wanders Ireland creating placenames before it dies of exhaustion.

Placenames and their association with Self are the key to understanding the Irish psyche. Thus - the Canaryville kid will identify with his family spirit welling up from the blood of slaughtered pigs, cows, sheep and of course working men and woman in Chicago's Stockyards -no longer there, but in memory and sensibilities.

The Irish of Chicago are not much different from the Irish of Butte, Montana, Southie in Boston, or the Cross in County Clare. Our courage, commitment and sense of service wells up from places long gone.

1 comment:

Elias Crim said...

A lovely post, this one--glad yer back at the old machine, paddie!