It’s hard to fit a decent night’s sleep into a five hour flight. When Delta’s overly efficient attendants on New York JFK to Dublin flight squeezed in a hot meal about forty minutes into the flight (roughly 10:15 p.m.) and turned on the cabin lights three hours later to serve breakfast, the concept of real sleep was replaced with an uncomfortable nap.
The first photo taken of me walking into the Dublin airport’s arrival hall is blurry, a great description of how I also felt. But being in Ireland is grand. The stern yet somewhat questions of the custom’s officer, hugs from Ted and Annie Deppe, the first sight of the mountains surrounding Howth, a wonderful high tea at the King Stiric create high expectations for the rest of this visit.
Tonight’s dramatic performance of Eamon Grennan’s Emigration Road at the Howth Yacht Club brought deeper insights into the continuing drain of youth and intellect from this country. Centuries of men and women fled grinding poverty. While many returned during the business boom earlier this century, that success has now disappeared. The young are once again heading to the U.S., Australia and other places to find work. For a country where family’s roots are a critical part of one’s identity, the sadness of its departing children is part of the cultural and political discussion.