Baile Átha Cliath, Republic of Ireland September 7th 2023 – Come Home Journal #19
A reckoning of the journey (turas) to tour Dancing Shadows in Ireland, a retrospective of my film works as part of the Come Home project.
The name Dublin comes from the Gaelic* dubh linn (black pool) where the Poddle stream met the River Liffey to form a deep pool at Dublin Castle. The city’s modern Irish name – Baile Áth Cliath – means the “town of the ford of the hurdles”. It reflects the coming together of two settlements to form the city.
Days go by like gulls on the River Liffey (An Life). I spend Thursday wandering the city, taking touristy photos and lingering too long in bird resting places. A seagull (faoileán) drops a massive blessing on me, my camera and bag. Laughing hard I stand between the road side and the river, dousing myself with water. I wonder why birdshit is considered lucky.**
I fall in love with Temple Bar, its vintage shops, cafes, pubs and colour. I have a Guinness at the pub that afternoon with my laptop and a plate of potatoes and greens. I had planned to meet my son Merlyn there, however plans shift with life’s ebb and flow so I have one for him, instead of with him. I send him a photo of me so he knows I’ve not let chance disturb my heart for him. He calls immediately so he is here with me. Precious fragments, time and vision burn into my soul for keeping for ever. The photo helps!
Time difference are creating interesting exchanges of energy. He opens a beer where he is, very late at night. We chat with our dark ales on opposite sides of the world. We are nine hours apart and seconds away.
I go to meet the woman I have been emailing and zooming with to set up the screening. In the studio for a tech run a strange slowness descends. A guest here, my stress and worry is matched equally by a lack of stress and worry in Mella. She is an enigma. Talking quietly to herself, flipping her hair out of her eyes. It falls back immediately. She shares her story in pieces, inviting me slowly in like the stressed bird I must seem.
We do things differently here don’t we!
Mella is a wise woman whose mind is given to flights of fancy. She takes me with her each time. She is a wonder. Her photographic work is extraordinary and oddly synergise with mine. Women. Moving. Focus. Hers. Iconic. Disturbing. I can almost hear these stills of motion. Elaborate sets. Cameras. Lamps. Outfits. I am welcomed more than the one hundred thousand times of lore.***
Tigh arrives. We struggle with computer, as is the curse of the filmmaker. Once we put two in we sail forward with a lovely breeze that lowers the stress as the sails blossom. His welcome not the lesser of Mella’s. A knowledgable and capable techie, he gives me time to explain myself in less than tech and finds solutions where I can’t. A young man who loves life, cinema, screen and music. A DJ. A filmmaker. A treasure beyond measure. Together Mela and Tigh make an amiable and formidable partnership. I am grateful.
* Gaelic, Gaeilge, Irish? Gaelic is a broad language group representing the Celts, including Irish, Scottish, Welsh. Gaeilge is Irish in Irish. Irish is Gaeilge in English. Most places in Ireland are named in both Irish (Gaeilge) and English (Béarla). The anglicised versions of place names are adaptions of Irish names, others have been renamed in English. A study of place names reveals the country’s history through language. The name of Ireland itself comes from the Irish name Éire, added to the Germanic word land. In mythology, Éire (or Ériu) was an Irish goddess of the land and of sovereignty.
** In many cultures birds are thought of as divine creatures who move between the material world and the spiritual. Their poo is considered part of that divine.
*** Céad Mile Fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes
IMAGE CREDIT: Like a Local by Erin M McCuskey
The image journal can be found in this Collection – Ireland – Flickr Album the album called Dublin