Tread Softly Because You Tread On My Dreams
Ireland is on the verge of bankruptcy and we are here anyway, on the coldest, snowiest November day in 40 years. Two inches of snow and the drivers are panicked, slowing to a crawl. The drivers proceed with the utmost caution which is surprising considering fully half the drivers on the road (mostly young, drunk men, we are told) are unlicensed and uninsured. Also surprising since the leading cause of death of men in Ireland ages 18-25 is suicide. You would think they would be driving with reckless abandon in these conditions.
We are here in search of my maternal grandfather’s family, which may prove to be a little difficult to find since my ancestors left Ballyshannon in County Donegal in the late 1700s. We visit the Friar’s historical museum in the nearby monastery and on the wall hangs a map with all the popular local names. I ask proudly about “Corscadden” ; it is not on the family name map, but an eavesdropper hears me ask and tells me they have lived on Cashel Ard for centuries– a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of town that means “High Rock”. We are sent to the Dorian’s Imperial Hotel where the eight Dorian brothers and sisters, all over 70, are sure to know the family.
The eldest Dorian sister, the hotel receptionist, is a bossy, little sprite of a woman in a long tweed skirt and cable-knit sweater. She knows the first cousin of one of the Corscaddens, and after an urgent, whispered conference with her brother who appears to be the hotel plumber and suspicious glances back at us over her shoulder, she sends us off to the pub in Cashel Ard.
Over the course of two pints of Guiness and a frozen pizza, we have located the remains of the Corsaddens. One of our bar mates was a neighbor of Hazel Corscadden, and a James Corscadden still lives right around the corner, who bears a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. Hazel, it turns out, was the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s mother, and it is politicians like Tony, according to most, who drove the country to this financial cliff.
We meekly finish our pints and head out into the night, preferring to share the road with drunken, suicidal maniacs than to share more beer in the cozy pub with drunken, raging tax payers.
He Wished for the Cloths of Heaven
“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…” William Butler Yeats